Speaking in Brussels, the Czech minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Tuesday that the Czech Republic would only agree to the creation of a European Union banking supervisory body if the bloc granted extra powers to national regulators. Mr. Kalousek said Prague wanted a commitment that the Czech National Bank would have the final authority in the case that a daughter company of an international bank was transformed into a branch, as branches do not come under national regulators. He pointed out that over 90 of the Czech banking sector was owned by the daughter companies of banks based in the eurozone.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, will on Wednesday present the cabinet with information on which international airlines have expressed interest in taking over Czech Airlines, or ČSA. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that the information would only concern possible interest in taking part in the privatisation of the Czech national carrier; price and other aspects would be addressed in a future phase of the process. A previous attempt to sell off ČSA in 2009 was not successful.
The project to build two new reactors at South Bohemia’s Temelín nuclear power plant represents a huge investment. But the massive project may never get off the ground, not least if the government reassess issues surrounding the project’s financing as well as continuing uncertainty on the energy market.
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.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott