The anti-corruption police have accused the former head of the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic, Alfréd Brunclík, of manipulating rental contracts for two motorway rest areas. The estimated losses for the state, resulting from the manipulated tender, are approximately 120 million crowns. Mr Brunclík filed a complaint against the suit, claiming the accusations against him were ridiculous and unfounded. The police have accused four other individuals in the case.
A new survey released by the STEM polling agency suggests that Czechs, in troubled economic times, largely blame foreigners for the loss of jobs. According to the poll, two-thirds stated there were ‘too many foreigners in the country’ (there are an estimated 438,000) while 45 percent said they were against foreigners being hired. Are jobs actually at threat or is the sentiment xenophobia plain and simple?
The anti-corruption unit of the Czech police has launched investigation of IT contracts at the Agriculture Ministry. The police have moved on the basis of a criminal complaint, filed by the country’s Supreme Auditing Office earlier this year. The auditors say that between 2005 and 2011, the ministry spent around one billion crowns on technologies and equipment it did not need, and bought them without a tender as required by law.
In an interview for the Austrian weekly Profil, Czech President Miloš Zeman criticized EU’s numerous regulations. The European Union should not regulate light bulbs, smoking and alcohol, Mr Zeman said. The Czech president also voiced his objections to EU’s bailout for Greece and Cyprus, and reiterated that the Czech Republic should soon adopt the euro.
The European Union will take appropriate steps if the pre-election struggle in Bulgaria threatens the position of the Czech state-owned company ČEZ in the country, the head of the head the European Council Herman Van Rompuy pledged on Thursday during a meeting with Czech President Miloš Zeman. Hynek Kmoníček, the head of the presidential office’s foreign affairs dept. revealed the news a day after the two men met at Prague Castle. "We would like the EU to fulfil its role of the top supervisor on EU standards," Mr Kmoníček told the Czech news agency. ČEZ´s problems in Bulgaria, the CTK noted, began after Bulgarians´ mass protests against high energy bills. Demonstrators demanded the nationalisation of the distribution companies in the country that are owned besides ČEZ by another Czech firm, Energo-Pro and the Austrian EVN. The protests resulted in fall of Boiko Borisov´s right-wing government.
This week in Business News: The construction sector in the Czech Republic is expected to restart growth in 2014; Škoda Yeti was voted the most popular car by British car owners; ČEZ has asked two remaining contenders in the Temelín expansion deal to submit better offers; Economic confidence is down in April, after two straight months of improvement; The Federation of Food and Drink Industries wants to introduce stricter rules on product labeling; Trade unions and employers reach no agreement on minimum wage increase.
The Finance Ministry has announced plans to withdraw 6,000 licences for video lottery terminals which were originally issued until the end of 2014. The move is being made in line with the wishes of individual town halls which aim to cub gambling. The Czech Constitutional Court recently upheld a complaint filed collectively by town halls that attacked an article of the lottery law enabling the finance ministry to issue video lottery terminal licences over their heads.
On a working visit to Prague the president of the European Council, Herman
van Rompuy said the EU had weathered the worst of economic crisis and the
future of the euro was no longer at stake. He said the EU must now focus on
jump starting the economy and creating thousands of new jobs in order to
secure the return of financial stability. Prime Minister Petr Necas said
that, while it was in the Czech Republic’s best interests to help the
euro zone’s recovery, Prague was in no hurry to exchange the crown for
the euro and such a decision would have to be made on the basis of a
national referendum. Mr. Van Rompuy assured his host the European Council
would not pressurize Prague on the matter, adding that since the Czech
Republic did not fulfil the respective critieria for euro zone membership
it was not an issue of the present day.
Mr van Rompuy also met with the Czech president, Miloš Zeman. The European Council president’s visit comes some three weeks after the head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, attended the ceremony of hoisting the EU flag at Prague Castle.
The rather moribund debate over when to join the single European currency has been revived in recent days, with the Czech president Miloš Zeman telling a German newspaper his country could adopt the euro within five years. The eurosceptic government is rather more cautious; prime minister Petr Nečas reiterated after a meeting with the head of the European Council on Thursday that his government had no plans to set a date for adoption.
The Czech Government on Wednesday approved a controversial bill on the Šumava National Park. The draft legislation would, among other things, change the park zones and allow logging in places where it is now prohibited. The bill would also relax the rules for building skiing resorts and hotels. While the Environment Ministry believes the bill would provide better protection for the park against the bark beetle, but critics says it would in effect expose the park’s most precious areas to developers and logging firms.
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
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