The country’s ambassadors around the world should be proud of the Czech Republic and talk up its achievements. That was the message from Andrej Babiš to Czech diplomats currently gathered in Prague. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of the Visegrad Four and repeated his opposition to euro adoption in a broad-ranging speech.
Despite the Czech government having no target date for adoption of the common European currency, an increasing number of Czech companies are using the Euro among themselves. According to data released by the Czech Chamber of Commerce, more than a fifth of all payments to domestic suppliers are now carried out in euros.
Petrochemical giant Unipetrol has prolonged its contract with Croatian
company Jadranski Naftovod until 2021. The later controls the Adria oil
pipeline running through the Balkans.
Unipetrol’s general director Krzysztof Zdziarski said that the Adria is an alternative for the Czech Republic – and Central Europe as a whole – in case of a cut in oil supplies from the Druzhba pipeline which runs from Russia into Central Europe.
Unipetrol is the Czech Republic’s only petroleum processor and also owns the country’s largest petrol station chain, Benzina. The company hopes the Adria pipeline will supply its refineries in Kralupy and Litvínov.
The Czech Republic is Europe’s top toy distributor, exporting more than 50 billion crowns now annually, according to a new study by UniCredit bank. LEGO, Playmobil and similar plastic toy sets account for two-thirds of that, though the country is also churning out various miniature sets and dolls. Along with neighbouring Slovakia, the Czech Republic has been the fastest-growing toy exporter in the EU since 2004. I asked UniCredit bank senior economist Patrik Rožumberský how and when this country became the top exporter.
At a meeting of Czech ambassadors in Prague on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stressed the importance of being a reliable and active partner in the EU and NATO. At the same time the head of government defended the country’s stance on migration and its decision not to join the Eurozone in the foreseeable future.
Czech petrochemical giant Unipetrol announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2018 on Friday. The company recorded a net profit of 2.9 billion crowns, down 687 million crowns in annual terms. The group’s total revenues reached 31.1 billion crowns, a year-on-year decrease of 44 million crowns.
Czechs are the biggest opponents of the euro in the European Union,
suggests the latest Eurobarometer survey, quoted by Czech Television. Some
73 percent of Czech respondents in the poll said they were against the
common European currency.
In 2005, a year after the Czech Republic joined the EU, some 63 percent of Czechs were in favour of the euro. Last year, the most recent date for which figures are available, that had fallen to 22 percent.
On the opening day of the Re:publika festival in Brno Czech Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš reiterated his negative stand to euro adoption.
Speaking in a debate titled What Kind of EU Do We Want?, the prime minister said joining the euro was not a priority and he was happy with the Czech currency.
In the event of problems, the prime minister said he trusted the intervention of the National Bank which had proved beneficial in the past.
Mr. Babiš noted that in the case of Greece and Italy the common currency had been a reckless experiment.