In his Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman highlighted the country’s economic successes, telling Czechs they had much to be proud of. As regards the country’s political future, Miloš Zeman ruled out early elections, telling politicians they would have to play the cards they had been dealt in the elections.
The European Commission has called on the Czech Republic to exclude
expenditures from the controversial Stork’s Nest project from an EU
programme for the Central Bohemia region. The Czech Ministry of Finance
says it will decide on the matter within two months. However, the
commission said on Friday that the Czech Republic would not be seeking the
sum in question from the EU. This would mean that the Czech state would end
up paying the CZK 50 million.
Eleven people were charged with the abuse of EU funds in connection with the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex. They include now-prime minister Andrej Babiš and his senior ANO colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek.
The pair have parliamentary immunity after being elected in October and the Czech lower house is to decide on whether to allow them to face trial in connection with the matter. They deny any wrongdoing.
Lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies passed the state budget for 2018 on Tuesday, approving last-minute additions including more funds for social services, farming and food processing. The Social Democrats who led the previous government which put the proposal in motion, expressed satisfaction there would also be brighter days ahead for education. Not all are happy, however, over the proposed deficit.
The newly-elected lower house of Parliament has started debating the most important bill of the year – the state budget for 2018. Although the time-frame for its approval is tight, observers predict a tough battle ahead, not only as regards the allocation of funds but the size of next year’s state deficit.
Czech economic growth in the third quarter accelerated from 4.7 to 5 percent compared to the previous quarter, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office. The growth was driven largely by increased domestic demand. According to economists it is the strongest year-on-year growth in 24 months. The positive trend is expected to continue.
The law on electronic cash registers introduced by the outgoing government
has had a positive impact on state finances, Finance Minister Ivan Pilný
said at a press briefing in Prague on Friday. He said that since the law on
compulsory electronic cash registers was introduced in January, the state
had collected an additional 4.1 billion crowns in taxes, a figure that
could rise to 5 billion by the end of the year.
Over 160,000 entrepreneurs registered with the ministry in the first year and another 300,000 will start delivering electronic records of their earnings in 2018.
The centre-right parties have criticized the move saying it will put many small entrepreneurs out of business. According to the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants over 3,000 restaurants closed their doors following its introduction. The chairman of the association Václav Stárek told the ctk news agency that while the number was slightly higher than in previous years it was not a dramatic decline.