The Czech Republic has been described as a flawed democracy in the
Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Democracy Index.
The country was placed 34th in a list of 167 countries in the survey whose performance for 2017 was rated. It’s score fell to 7.62 points from 7.82 points in 2016, its worst place in a decade. The overall fall for countries in Central Europe was highlighted.
The report is subtitled – Freedom of Speech in danger. It coincides with a row at public service broadcaster Czech Radio in which the station’s general director has objected to aspects of a report by station journalists which revealed how prime minister’s Andrej Babiš’ Agrofert company gained subsidies for farming land it did not own.
Warnings of increased pressure on public service media have also accompanied the re-election of president Miloš Zeman.
Czech Minister of foreign affairs Martin Stropnický has suggested that the
Visegrad Four regional grouping should present its own solutions to
European Union problems. He added that they should not just take a common
stand against policies.
Stropnický was speaking after meeting with his Hungarian counterpart in
Prague, Péter Szijjartó, on Thursday.
It was their first meeting since Stropnický took up his new post in government. Both ministers stressed the importance of the regional grouping which embraces the two countries as well as Poland and Slovakia.
Szijjartó thanked the Czech Republic for its support on migration. Hungary has refused to take immigrants under the EU’s proposals to share out most of those who fled their countries and are now mostly in Italy and Greece.
Hungary, which is currently chairing the V4 group, has also taken a stand against United Nations plans on migrants which the international body hopes will form the basis for a global compact.
The Hungarian minister was later due to meet with the Czech minister for labour and social affairs, minister of defence, and also outgoing prime minister Andrej Babiš.
Around 32,200 new companies were created in the Czech Republic in 2017, according to the consultancy company Bisnode. That’s the highest figure since the pre-crisis year of 2007, it added. Most of the new companies were created in Prague and South Moravia with their main activities services, rentals, management of real estate, wholesale and accommodation. Bisnode said that the total number of companies in the country last year rose by 5.3 percent to stand at 475,600.
A government decision on how to fund the construction of new nuclear
reactors in the country should come in April or May.
That deadline was given by the head of the lower house of parliament’s economic committee, Radim Fiala, on a visit to the Dukovany nuclear power plant which continues on Thursday.
The ministry of industry and trade’s standing committee on nuclear issues said earlier this week that it expected the various scenarios for funding new power plants to be prepared by the end of March in time for its next meeting.
The Czech National Bank announced Thursday that it had increased its basic
interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 0.75 percent.
The move had been widely expected with the crown strengthening ahead of the announcement. It moved to its highest level against the euro since the so-called low crown policy was ended last year before retreating slightly.
The board already decided twice last year to raise interest rates by the same margin, the last decision coming at the start of November.
Bank governor Jiří Rusnok has indicated in the past that a series of gradual interest rate rises can be expected as inflation picks up in the country and economic growth remains strong.
In ice hockey, Jaromír Jágr confirmed that he will take the ice for the
Kladno Knights on Saturday in the first division against Benátky nad
Jágr, who returned from Canada on Wednesday, took part in training with his new team for the first time on Thursday. He said the around 45 minute session hurt him more than expected.
Jágr said he is keen to make a start for his home town club as soon as possible so that he can take part in the end of season play offs for promotion to the top Czech league if they get that far. Jágr, 45, returned to the Czech Republic after his stint playing for the Calgary Flames in the NHL came to an end.
In football, Czech club Sparta Prague have announced a deal with English
club Newcastle United under which Slovak goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka will
leave on a free transfer to the end of the season.
A decision will then be made about his future. Sparta Prague will get Romanian keeper Florian Nita from Bucharest club FCSB under terms which have not been revealed.
Tax freedom day in the Czech Republic will fall on June 23, that’s the
latest it has ever been according to the calculations of consulting company
The calculation means that citizens will in effect work 174 to cover tax payments before they can start to earn for themselves. Last year, tax freedom day fell one day earlier on June 22. Tax freedom day with this year fall earlier in Poland and Slovakia but later in Hungary.
The comedy film Prezident Blaník, which features scenes involving real
candidates from the recent Czech presidential elections, enters cinema
distribution around the country on Thursday.
The makers of Prezident Blaník shot scenes at presidential debates and during celebrations on November 17, with the film’s fictional characters – headed by political fixer Tonda Blaník – interacting with candidates for the post of head of state and several other figures from Czech public life.
The movie is an offshoot of Kancelář Blaník, a regular political satire that found large audiences on the website Stream.cz.