Czech public finances ended 2017 with a surplus of 80.6 billion crowns.
That represents 1.59 percent of Czech Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The latest figures is almost double the surplus of 2016 when it represented 0.73 percent of GDP. Finances were in deficit in 2015. The Czech National Bank estimates that this year public finances will improve further with the surplus rising to 1.6 percent of GDP.
Last year public sector revenues rose by 6.5 percent, outstripped a 4.2 percent increase in spending.
The employment for the Czech population aged between 15 and 64 reached 74.7
percent in February.
That’s a jump of 1.4 percentage points compared with the situation a year earlier. The male employment rate stood at 81.7 percent with the female level at 67.5 percent.
The overall employment rate in January was 74.5 percent.
Czech earnings from the tourism sector amounted to 3.0 percent of total
Gross Domestic Product in 2016 with around 231,000 people employed in it
according to the Czech Statistical Office.
Total tourism earnings rose by almost 9.0 percent over the year to 272 billion crowns. That is the highest level since calculations for the sector started in 2003, the office said.
Foreign visitors to the Czech Republic accounted for 58 percent of the overall turnover.
Czech president Miloš Zeman departs for Slovakia on Wednesday for his
first official foreign visit after his re-election.
Zeman will travel to Poprad, the home town of Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska. The main events take place Thursday with meetings with Kiska and recently installed Slovak prime minister Peter Pellegrini.
Zeman and his wife Ivana return to the Czech Republic on Friday.
Former football international David Rozehnal has announced his retirement,
the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The central defender, who is 37,
said he was leaving the Belgian club Ostende for family reasons. He had
been offered a contract by the Czech club Sigma Olomouc, where his career
began, but turned it down.
Rozehnal played for such clubs as Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle United and Lazio. He made 60 appearances for the Czech national side between 2004 and 2009 and scored one goal.
If ANO and the Social Democrats form a government, MPs from Tomio
Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy could be stripped of top positions
on parliamentary commissions and committees, Právo reported. The newspaper
said the Social Democrats were insisting that the party lose chairmanships
of three such bodies.
Právo said that ANO were likely to agree to these demands if they strike a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats.
The daily said the removal of Mr. Okamura’s people would reduce the likelihood of ANO getting around the Social Democrats on some issues by teaming up with Freedom and Direct Democracy. The socialist party are also disquieted by inflammatory comments made by members of the latter grouping.
The Senate’s security committee has criticised President Miloš Zeman for
tasking the BIS intelligence service with investigating whether the nerve
agent Novichok was produced or stored in the Czech Republic. The committee
also rejected the position of Mr. Zeman’s office on the extradition of
alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin to the US after Prague Castle
officials accused the government of mishandling the situation.
Senators described Mr. Zeman’s actions in regard to both issues as a security and foreign policy risk. They also called on the head of state not to make similar interventions in the future and to respect the powers granted to him by the constitution.
President Zeman asked the head of BIS to investigate whether Novichok, with which a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in the UK, might have come from the Czech Republic, as claimed by Moscow.
The UK blames Russia for the attack and the Czech Republic was one of several countries to expel Russian diplomats over the matter.
The Czech economy expanded by 4.6 percent in 2017, according to revised
data released by the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. A previous figure
published in early March put gross domestic product growth at 4.5 percent.
The reason for the improvement was new information for last year from the government institutions sector.
In 2016 GDP expanded by 2.5 percent, up from the 5.4 percent recorded the previous year.
Amid continuing talks on forming a government with ANO, the leader and
deputy leader of the Social Democrats are set to meet President Miloš
Zeman on Wednesday, the latter’s spokesperson announced. The head of
state favours a minority coalition of ANO and the Social Democrats, backed
by the Communist Party during key votes in the Chamber of Deputies.
A number of issues remain unresolved between election winners ANO and the Social Democrats, who came sixth. The latter are demanding five cabinet seats but ANO chief Andrej Babiš is only offering them four.
The Social Democrats also say they want a top ministry, either finance or interior, for tolerating Mr. Babiš as prime minister, despite the fact he is facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies.
The minister of transport in the acting Czech cabinet, Dan Ťok, says he
would not serve in a government kept in place by Tomio Okamura’s Freedom
and Direct Democracy party. Mr. Ťok, who is an ANO appointee, told the
news site Novinky.cz that he would like to complete the work he has started
at the Ministry of Transport but would not remain in government under any
Mr. Ťok’s position is shared by three colleagues in the current government in resignation. Martin Stropnický, Robert Pelikán and Karla Šlechtová have also said they would not serve in a cabinet backed by Mr. Okamura’s anti-migrant and anti-EU party.
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