A meeting of the Visegrad Group in Budapest next week will focus on the
establishment of a Central European Development Bank, Hungarian Prime
Minister Viktor Orban told Hungarian public radio on Friday.
Mr. Orban praised China for its plans to invest in the region and stressed the need for Central European states not to be dependent on EU funds alone, but to look for sources outside the European Union. China’s financial conditions are better than those offered by the EU, Orban noted.
Czech exports in 2017 reached a record level of 4.2 trillion crowns, up 5.0 percent on the results in the previous year. The figure was given Thursday by the Czech Exporters’ Association which was hosting a conference together with Raiffeisen Bank. Participants said that last year’s figure is unlikely to be beaten this year because of the ever strengthening crown and shortages of workers and spare capacity across Czech industry and services.
The Czech shopping boom continued in November, according to figures
released by the Czech Statistical Office on Thursday.
It said retail sales rose by 7.8 percent in the month compared with the situation in the same month a year earlier. Sales of non-food items showed the biggest increase at 10.7 percent with food items up 3.3 percent.
Sales by mail order or the Internet climbed by almost a quarter compared with the previous year. Many Czech have extra money in their pockets thanks to higher wages and low unemployment.
Retailers have continued to register high sales even after Christmas, rivalling that of pre-holiday spending and marking a rise of roughly five percent year-on-year, according to the Czech News Agency. Many e-shops slashed prices on December 26 as did stone-and-mortar shops when they reopened a day later.
In recent years, Czech two way trade with the United Kingdom has advanced by leaps and bound. The country was already the fourth biggest Czech trade partner two years ago in 2015, following first placed Germany, Slovakia, and just trailing Poland in third place. But the current trading environment for Czechs in Britain is a tough one.
A law passed last year forces large stores in the Czech Republic to shut their doors on seven state holidays every year, including at Christmas. However, the issue is now back in the news, with the opposition Civic Democrats pushing to have the legislation overturned and the governing ANO declaring a neutral stance.
The centre-right Civic Democratic Party wants the lower house to review the
2016 legislation which stipulates that stores over 200 square metres must
remain closed on given public holidays. The party wants to see the law
scrapped on the grounds that it restricts the rights of both salespeople
and the public.
The legislation was approved thanks to support from the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Communist Party. The ANO government, whose deputies voted against it in 2016, has now taken a neutral stand to the proposal. Under the legislation shops will be closed on December 25th and 26, and shopping hours on December 24th will be restricted.
The Christmas shopping spree in the Czech Republic hit its peak on Monday, December 11, with Czechs spending more than one billion crowns in e-shops in a single day, the Association for Electronic Commerce said on Wednesday. According to the price comparison website Heureka.cz, online stores recorded nearly two-and-a-half million orders.
According to the statistics office Eurostat, the Czech Republic is the biggest exporter of toys to non-EU states from the entire EU. In its report, Eurostat confirmed that Czech production last year accounted for 32 percent of the EU’s overall toy exports outside the EU, worth a total of 1.5 billion euros in all.