US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Prague on Monday, on the first leg of a European tour. At meetings with Czech officials, Secretary Clinton made a pitch for the US firm Westinghouse, which is in competition with a Russian-led consortium for a multi-billion-dollar Czech nuclear project. She says the US bid offers the best technology and highest security – and would reduce the Czech Republic’s dependence on Russian energy. More
In Business News this week: MPs debate draft budget for 2013; OECD cuts Czech growth forecast for this and next year; Prague Stock Exchange introduces new trading system; how much would ČEZ’s exit from Albania cost? Car maker Škoda to introduce four new models next year; and the east Bohemian town of Přelouč is ranked as the country’s best place for business. More
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will make a brief visit to Prague on Monday in order to support a bid by the American company Westinghouse to complete the Temelín nuclear plant, Hospodářské noviny reported. The newspaper quoted a Czech diplomat as saying the US was intensifying its activities with regard to the lucrative contract. France’s Areva was ruled out of the tender by Temelín’s owner CEZ, but the company is fighting that decision in court. The only other name in the running is a consortium made up of Russia’s Atomstrojexport and Gidropress and the Czech firm Škoda JS.
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.
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.
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.
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