31-05-2001

EU restricts competition in road cargo transport

Some EU member countries have begun adopting measures to prevent cargo transport companies from the Czech Republic and other non-member states from competing on EU markets. The measures, officially justified as prevention of unfair competition, include strict border checks and imposition of visa requirements for truck drivers.

Czech Kolin sole foreign candidate for BMW investment

The Central Bohemian town of Kolin remains the only foreign candidate for large-scale investment by the German carmaker BMW. The town has more than 300 hectares of land ready for the billion-deutsch-mark green-field investment, which would create around 1,500 new jobs. BMW is expected to choose a location this summer.

Railway transformation postponed

The Lower House of Parliament has postponed a debate on the transformation of Czech Railways. Some opposition parties claim the government's proposal doesn't resolve the unsatisfactory situation of the loss-making state-owned railway company. This is the fourth attempt in ten years to transform Czech Railways.

Czechs: Greenhouse gas emission must be curbed

An overwhelming majority of Czechs - 93 percent - say they are convinced that it is necessary to continue decreasing emissions of gasses causing the greenhouse effect as agreed in the Kyoto protocol. By signing the Kyoto protocol, the Czech Republic committed itself to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels within 10 years.

3G mobile networks coming to Czech Republic

The vast majority of mobile phone users use their mobiles for making calls and sending short text messages, or SMS. However, operators will soon be able to offer them high-speed data transmission suitable for audio and video content and other services, that most people associate with the Internet but which will be made available anytime, anywhere through the so-called third generation mobile phone networks.

While in many Western countries, third-generation network licences have already been granted, the Czech Republic has just announced a public tender to sell either three or four of them. The Czech government expects substantial revenues from the sale of UMTS licences - not less than 20 billion crowns - but the current mobile operators have made it quite clear they are not willing to pay that much and many foreign investors have already run out of money after public tender spending sprees in Western Europe. Observers therefore consider the Czech government's expectations to be unrealistic. I talk about the issue to economic analyst Ondrej Datka who specialises in the telecommunications market.

31-05-2001