10-02-2006

Bill to speed up bankruptcies

Bankruptcy proceedings should speed up considerably in the Czech Republic, under a new bill which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies this week. The legislation would improve the position of creditors and enable the rescue of companies which are in trouble, and also introduces the concept of personal bankruptcy. The Czech Republic has a reputation for slow bankruptcy proceedings and low yields - that's something the government is hoping the bill will rectify, if it comes into effect in July next year.

Labour code divides opinion

A controversial new labour code was also passed by the lower house this week, with the governing Social Democrats - who put it forward - backed by the Communists. Employers have slammed the legislation, which they say will make it harder for them to let workers go. Meanwhile, the Labour Ministry describes the new code as more liberal than current law, and the trade unions have welcomed it.

Top tips from the OECD

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development this week gave the Czech Republic some advice on how to improve its economy. The OECD says Prague needs to make it easier to start up a company, increase the number of university graduates and invest more in research and development. It welcomed the new Czech labour code, but said it will not protect jobs.

Renewable resources pledge may not be met

The Czech Republic looks like reneging on its pledge to increase the share of its power generated from renewable resources to 8 percent by 2010, the web site Aktualne.cz reported. The promise was made when the country joined the European Union in 2004. Last year 4.5 percent of Czech energy came from alternative sources of power, and that isn't likely to rise significantly if the country doesn't invest in renewable energy, the Supreme Audit Office has warned.

One third of Czech households can now receive digital broadcasts

Digital television and radio broadcasts can now be received by a third of Czech households, after new transmitters were introduced in the Moravian cities of Brno and Ostrava on Wednesday. Prague has had digital broadcasting since October, while Brno has had a trial service for two months. Content also increased this week, with Czech Television launching a new digital sports channel.

Beer exports up 17 percent last year

Czech beer exports were 17 percent higher in 2005 than in the previous year, the Czech Association of Breweries said on Thursday. Meanwhile, sales of pivo on the domestic market were slightly down at 1 percent less than in 2004. The biggest exporters are Plzensky Prazdroj (makers of Pilsner Urquell), Staropramen, Budvar and Krusovice. Germany is the biggest overseas market for Czech brews, followed by Slovakia and Great Britain. Exporting beer became easier after the Czech Republic's accession to the EU two years ago.

10-02-2006