A booming economy on the back of higher wages, more people in jobs, and strong exports – fuelled largely by the auto sector - and hardly dimmed by the end of the low crown and resurrection of interest rates as a central bank weapon. That was the big economic picture of the Czech economy in 2017 with the foot on the pedal likely to be lifted just slightly over the coming 12 months.
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.