In Business News: the IMF has advised the Czech government against making further budget cuts in view of the country’s worse-than-expected economic development; Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has questioned the financial wisdom of expanding the Temelín nuclear power plant; Czech arms producer Česká zbrojovka has won a multi-million crown tender to supply 50,000 pistols to the Egyptian interior ministry and the Czech liqueur maker Rudolf Jelínek posted its first loss since 1998. More
In a speech at the Russian embassy in Prague, the Czech President Miloš Zeman said that he would like to see the volume of Russian investments in the Czech Republic increase in the next few years. Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the end of the Second World War, Mr Zeman said that Russian investments currently make up 0.8 percent of all foreign investments in the country, and that he would like to see that amount rise to between two and four percent. The president and the Russian ambassador both spoke about the Czech-Russian consortium which is one of the two bidders for a multi-billion-crown tender for the expansion of the Temelín power plant. Some experts worry that giving the energy tender to the consortium, as opposed to the Japanese-American company Westinghouse, would not be in the best geopolitical interests of the Czech Republic.
In Business News this week: European Commission says Czech Republic needs no further austerity this year; Czech central bank cuts growth forecast for this and next year; Finance Ministry launches monitor of public finances; Škoda considers plans to produce utility vans; six Czechs are ranked among dollar billionaires; and groundbreaking travel firm Student Agency eyes Prague’s taxi market. More
The European Union will take appropriate steps if the pre-election struggle in Bulgaria threatens the position of the Czech state-owned company ČEZ in the country, the head of the head the European Council Herman Van Rompuy pledged on Thursday during a meeting with Czech President Miloš Zeman. Hynek Kmoníček, the head of the presidential office’s foreign affairs dept. revealed the news a day after the two men met at Prague Castle. "We would like the EU to fulfil its role of the top supervisor on EU standards," Mr Kmoníček told the Czech news agency. ČEZ´s problems in Bulgaria, the CTK noted, began after Bulgarians´ mass protests against high energy bills. Demonstrators demanded the nationalisation of the distribution companies in the country that are owned besides ČEZ by another Czech firm, Energo-Pro and the Austrian EVN. The protests resulted in fall of Boiko Borisov´s right-wing government.
Ecological activists from Friends of the Earth have awarded the country’s environment minister, Tomáš Chalupa, this year’s Ropák (Oil Guzzler) anti-award for most damaging environmental policies. The organisation said the minister had been chosen for the distinction for a controversial bill on the protection of Šumava National Park, for supporting the expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant, and allegedly failing to act in the protection of the environment. The minister responded by saying that receiving the award meant he was doing something right and not succumbing to what he called “green hysteria”. The Ropák anti-award takes its name from a fictional creature (invented by Czech filmmaker Jan Svěrák) which survives on industrial waste. This year was the 21st time it was awarded.
This week in Business News: The construction sector in the Czech Republic is expected to restart growth in 2014; Škoda Yeti was voted the most popular car by British car owners; ČEZ has asked two remaining contenders in the Temelín expansion deal to submit better offers; Economic confidence is down in April, after two straight months of improvement; The Federation of Food and Drink Industries wants to introduce stricter rules on product labeling; Trade unions and employers reach no agreement on minimum wage increase. More
Financial analysts at the Česká spořitelna bank have calculated that Czechs spend approximately 5% of their total expenses abroad, based on the fact that their spending outside of the Czech Republic by credit and debit cards amounted to 45.9 billion crowns last year. Analysts claim that the number of trans-border shopping trips is on the rise due, to a large extent, to the rise in the Value Added Tax and the weakening of the crown. What is interesting is that the Czech Statistical Office estimated the amount spent abroad to 2.3%, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. This may mean that the Czech households are not as badly off as it has seemed from official statistics, the report claims.
One of four nuclear reactors at the Dukovany power plant, in southern Moravia, was shut down on Sunday. The reactor will be re-fuelled and revised for safety during the temporary shutdown which will last until May 3, a spokesman for the Dukovany plant said. The plant covers around 20 percent of electricity consumption in the Czech Republic. Last year, it produced around 15 terawatt hours of electricity.
A three-day disaster training exercise has got underway at the Dukovany nuclear power station in south Moravia. The drill, entitled Zone 2013, is intended to test emergency procedures and the preparedness of personnel by simulating the leak of radiation from the plant. The exercise involves over 1,500 people and around 100 pieces of equipment.
A three-day emergency drill has begun at the Dukovany nuclear power plant in southern Moravia – testing the readiness of employees and making sure emergency procedures in place are properly followed. The drill is one of the biggest in recent memory. More