Current AffairsCzech president reiterates positions on nuclear power, Beneš decrees during Austrian visit
President Václav Klaus on Thursday concludes a three-day state visit to Austria. During his trip, the Czech president met with the Austrian president and prime minister, launched a Czech-Austrian business forum and visited the Austrian Parliament. But his last visit to the neighbouring country as the Czech head of state did little to improve the strained relations between the two countries. More
Speaking on the first day of a three-day state visit to neighbouring Austria, the president of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, said on Tuesday that his country would not give in to irrational fanaticism and would carry on using nuclear power. He said the Czech Republic would continue with plans to extend the Temelín nuclear power plant in South Bohemia, adding, however, that the Czech side had taken note of Austria’s objections to the plant and would ensure its safety. Mr. Klaus made the comments after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Heinz Fischer, who said that while the two states disagreed on some issues they were still partners rather than opponents.
Czech President Václav Klaus has outlined his stance on a number of issues ahead of a three-day visit to Austria next week, discussing nuclear energy policy, the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII, and EU integration. In an interview for Kronen Zeitung, the Czech head-of-state said he could not understand sharp Austrian opposition to nuclear power, saying he believed it was a political game between politicians and activists rather than the real opinion of the public. Nuclear-free Austria has for years protested against the Czech Temelín nuclear power plant, situated 60 kilometres from the borders of Austria and Bavaria, challenging its safety. Two new blocs are to be built in Temelín in future. The third and fourth blocs are to be completed in 2025. When asked about his rejection of possible demands of Germans and Austrians forced to leave their homes in Czech border regions after WWII, Mr Klaus said the past could not be changed nor should it be turned into a political issue. The Czech president also repeated his longstanding view of the EU, saying the present model of European integration was a mistake.
In the same interview for Hospodářské noviny, the Prime Minister commented on the scandal over the French company Areva getting excluded from a ČEZ tender, saying that the Czech energy provider was left without a choice given that Areva underestimated the price of their bid and refused to follow some rules pertaining to public tenders. Mr Nečas said that Areva, for example, refused to committed to the final price of their bid, which is against regulations. Yet, he also added that just as the ČEZ managers he was disappointed that Areva is no longer in the running, because they would have preferred a three-bid competition. The two parties still competing for the tender to expand the Temelín power plant are an American-Japanese company Westinghouse and a Czecho-Russian consortium MIR.1200.
France’s Areva has appealed against ČEZ’s decision to exclude it from a 10 billion dollar tender for the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia. The state-owned French company addressed all the reasons given for its exclusion and said its offer was the most competitive. ČEZ has 10 days to review Areva’s appeal and publish its decision. In the event of a rejection, Areva would be entitled to file a complaint to the Czech anti-monopoly office, which would have 60 days to review the case. Areva was rejected from the tender for allegedly failing to meet legislative and commercial requirements. Westinghouse Electric Corp. and a Russian-Czech group led by Rosatom Corp.’s unit ZAO Atomstroyexport are still competing for the deal to build two more nuclear reactors at Temelin. ČEZ should choose the winner in mid- 2013 and sign a final contract with the respective company by the year’s end.
Skoda’s latest model –a mid-sized sedan Rapid –went on sale in the Czech Republic on Saturday. The roomy, elegant sedan billed as “an affordable car for the whole family” attracted crowds of people to Skoda’s sales outlets for a closer look and a trial run. A Skoda spokesman said several hundred sales orders had been placed. Skoda Auto is expecting to produce 50,000 Rapid models next year.
The state-run power company ČEZ has excluded France’s Areva from a multi-billion dollar contract for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant, leaving just two contenders - Russian and US firms - in the running for the country’s biggest-ever energy deal. The news has left analysts speculating on the political and economic implications of this development. More
The French industrial conglomerate Areva has been eliminated from the tender for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant. In an announcement that surprised experts on Friday, the plant’s operator, the energy company ČEZ, said that the French had not met the business and legal requirements of the public tender. The exact reasons for their exclusion can only be published after the company has completed all options of appeal, a ČEZ spokesman said. Two other participants remain in the tender: the US-Japanese Westinghouse and the Czech-Russian consortium of Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress. The costs of completing Temelín are expected to reach 200-300 billion crowns. The winner of the tender is to be announced next year.
In Business News this week: Czech energy giant ČEZ excludes Areva from Temelín tender; EU stress tests reveal potential safety risks at Czech nuclear plants; largest Czech forestry firm goes bankrupt; Czechs continue to spend less on consumer goods; and truck maker Avia plans to expand to US market. More
In this week’s business news: The Czech national debt has risen by almost 10 percent in the first half of 2012; Real estate prices are dropping for the second quarter this year, while land prices are on the rise; Škoda Auto will introduce a new Fabia specifically for the Indian consumer; Fuel prices are breaking record highs again this week; a number of operational programmes in the Czech Republic will not get the EU funds they were counting on. More