According to Czech Radio’s Regina, Prague residents may have to pay more next year for garbage removal: City Hall has not yet addressed the issue publically, but several towns are planning hikes. Funds have not been enough in the long term – estimates suggest that roughly half billion crowns are needed.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Prague on Monday, on the first leg of a European tour. At meetings with Czech officials, Secretary Clinton made a pitch for the US firm Westinghouse, which is in competition with a Russian-led consortium for a multi-billion-dollar Czech nuclear project. She says the US bid offers the best technology and highest security – and would reduce the Czech Republic’s dependence on Russian energy.
The Czech government plans to keep community service for the unemployed
which was overturned last week by the country’s Constitutional Court, the
minister of labour and social affairs, Ludmila Müllerová said on Czech TV
on Sunday. To accommodate the objections of the court, the system might
undergo some minor changes, Ms Müllerová said. These could include the
prolongation of period after which the jobless are required to start
community service, and even a possibility of some salary being paid to
those who take part in the programme.
The Constitutional Court last week said the free yet compulsory community service for the unemployed, introduced by the Nečas government last year, was humiliating, in breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and also contradicted a ban on forced labour.
The Finance Ministry has announced that it is expecting the deficit for this year to reach five percent of the GDP, in comparison to last year’s 3.3 percent, due in large part to the recently approved church property restitution bill and problems with drawing of EU funds this year. In October, the ministry was still counting on an annual deficit of 3.2 percent, but Friday’s fiscal outlook shows a different prognosis.
In Business News this week: MPs debate draft budget for 2013; OECD cuts Czech growth forecast for this and next year; Prague Stock Exchange introduces new trading system; how much would ČEZ’s exit from Albania cost? Car maker Škoda to introduce four new models next year; and the east Bohemian town of Přelouč is ranked as the country’s best place for business.
Fuel prices in the Czech Republic have continued to fall this week, according to figures by the CCS monitoring firm released on Thursday. The price of the most popular petrol, Natural 95, decreased by 0.24 crowns to an average of 35.6 crowns per litre while the average price of diesel dropped by 0.008 crowns to 36.1 crowns per litre. The highest prices have been registered at gas stations in the capital; the lowest were recorded in the Plzeň and Ústí regions. Analysts say the strengthening Czech crown and lower margins are behind the continued drop in fuel prices.
Speaking on Wednesday, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said that a recently approved church restitution bill would have an impact on the budget for this year, even though the state has not yet begun making payments to church organisations. He said that was because under European Union rules the CZK 59 billion would have to be accounted as a one-off outlay this year. Mr. Kalousek said the 2012 budget deficit could therefore reach 5 percent of gross domestic product, rather than the projected 3.5 percent.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will make a brief visit to Prague on Monday in order to support a bid by the American company Westinghouse to complete the Temelín nuclear plant, Hospodářské noviny reported. The newspaper quoted a Czech diplomat as saying the US was intensifying its activities with regard to the lucrative contract. France’s Areva was ruled out of the tender by Temelín’s owner CEZ, but the company is fighting that decision in court. The only other name in the running is a consortium made up of Russia’s Atomstrojexport and Gidropress and the Czech firm Škoda JS.
A Czech tourist whose ruined holiday was not refunded by the bankrupt travel agency’s insurance company has demanded compensation from the state. This is the first case of its kind in the Czech Republic. The insurer of Parkam Holidays which went bankrupt last summer refused to refund clients in full for holidays that fell through arguing that the company’s insurance was low. Something similar happened to the clients of BG Travel which also went bankrupt. The Czech tourist who has set a precedent by demanding that the state refund the money is citing poor legislation which sets a low basic insurance limit for travel companies.
A skirmish in the battle over the fate of the right-of-centre government’s extensive programme of reforms reached its final stage on Tuesday. The opposition took a case to the Constitutional Court saying that laws changing the country’s health, social and pension systems had been pushed through in a manner that contravened their rights. In the end, the opposition saw that complaint rejected – but scored a partial success when compulsory work for the jobless was overturned.
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott