The Czech Republic and local car maker Škoda Auto appear to have won the battle with Spain and auto maker SEAT to build a new large sports utility vehicle. Strong behind the scenes lobbying by Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has been one of the factors in the Czech campaign to land the investment. More
In Business News this week: Škoda Auto says it is on track to produce 1.5 million cars annually by 2018; roughly four out of 10 Czechs say they would move for work; Prague hotels are expecting occupancy rates to jump; millions of extra 500 crown notes are being printed by the central bank. More
Talks about the possible Russian participation in a project to build new nuclear capacity alongside Czech utility ČEZ have collapsed. The tale here is not of Temelín and tough Czech retaliation against Russian intervention in Ukraine, but of Slovakia and ČEZ’s ill-fated joint venture with the Slovak government. More
Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Minister for Legislation and Human Rights Jiří Dienstbier have been slammed by Social Democrat party colleagues for making overly critical comments on Russia in relation to the current crisis in Ukraine, Právo reported on Friday. At a meeting of the Social Democrats’ parliamentary group Mr. Zaorálek was accused of behaving as if he were in opposition and unaware that his words could influence relations with other states, the newspaper said. The foreign minister has backed the opposition in Ukraine, while Mr. Dienstbier has said a Russian bidder should be excluded from a tender to extend a Czech nuclear power station over the country’s actions.
Current AffairsGovernment dispute over Ukrainian crisis: economic pragmatism winning out over sanctions
Widespread international condemnation of Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine has been replaced by controversy over how the democratic world should respond to the military occupation of Crimea. While the US is pushing for tough punitive measures against Moscow, EU foreign ministers are divided over the question of sanctions, and a similar dispute has now appeared in the Czech government. More
Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický has said he finds it difficult to imagine that Russian firms would complete new units at the Czech Republic’s Temelín nuclear power plant in light of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. On Monday, the minister accused Russia of blatantly ignoring international law; he said the country could no longer be counted among predictable democratic states, calling its actions “unacceptable”. Fellow minister in government Jiří Dienstbier expressed a similar view, saying that while it was only his personal opinion, he could not imagine Russian companies taking part in the tender, stressing that a country that resorted to military aggression represented a security risk. The Russian consortium MIR 1200 was in the running against US-based Westinghouse to complete the power plant. The Czech government has officially condemned Russia’s actions in Crimea and has called on Russia not to resort to military action.
BusinessSurprise countries feature in top 2013 export successes as priority destinations deliver mixed results
Exports rose to record levels in 2013, largely thanks to a surge in the second half of the year. But some surprising countries feature in the list of biggest sales increases and Czech exporters appear to have had mixed success in expanding markets in countries targeted as top priority by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. More
Czech president Miloš Zeman has a lot to say about most macroeconomic issues but his call for French nuclear constructer Areva to be brought back into the Temelín tender does not totally add up. More
Significant investment decisions are on the horizon which could bring billions of crowns worth of inward investment and thousands of jobs, but they are unlikely to be the high skill, high salary posts the Czech Republic coveted not so long ago. More
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said during question and answer time in the lower house on Friday that his cabinet would not offer guarantees on the purchase price of electricity generated at the Temelin nuclear power plant in connection with its planned expansion. Experts say that the $15 billion project would only be economically feasible if the government were to guarantee higher energy prices, thereby putting a financial burden on the state or directly on consumers. CEZ, the state-owned power utility which runs the plant, has been stalling on a final decision whether to go ahead with the massive construction project and has indicated it is not ready to commit without such guarantees.