The new environment minister, Tomáš Podivínský, has backed plans to
expand the Temelín nuclear power station. Speaking to reporters after a
visit to the plant on Friday, Mr Podivísnký said the planned
of two new blocks was important for the country’s energy stability.
critics say it would be highly unprofitable to go ahead with the plan
current electricity prices, the minister said the energy market was
distorted by subsidies for renewable sources of energy.
The state-owned energy firm ČEZ is planning to pick the winning bid for the multi-billion project this autumn; however, it’s not clear whether the caretaker government will award the contract, or whether the process will be concluded after the next general election.
In this week’s business news: Unemployment falls; Czech Banking Association releases bleaker economic outlook for 2013; more Czech companies are moving to tax havens; Moravia Steel receives large fine for collusion in Germany; Kofola is considering expanding into Balkans; and government debt decreases in Q2.
The EU’s Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that the Czech Republic had failed to meet its obligations arising from an EU railway directive. The court criticized the maximum fees set by the Czech Finance Ministry for using railway infrastructure, as well as a lack of incentives for the infrastructure’s operator to cut costs. Under EU law, the Czech authorities are obliged to implement the findings as soon as possible or face penalization.
The Czech Banking Association on Thursday cut its economic forecast for 2013. It now predicts an 0.8 percent contraction of the country’s GDP, down from the 0.2 percent the association predicted in April. The report cites an unexpected drop in GDP in the first quarter of this year as the main reason for the revision; however, the authors said the economy should start recovering moderately towards the end of the year when quarter-on-quarter growth is expected.
The Czech Republic’s gross government dept decreased in the second quarter of this year by 37.5 billion crowns to 1.678 trillion. One of the main reasons for the decline was the repayment of 62.9-billion-crowns worth of state-issued bonds. Although this is a significant quarterly decrease, the debt did increase in comparison to December of last year by 10.5 billion crowns.
Outgoing finance minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Monday that the amount of money the state would borrow in 2013 would be 110 to 140 billion crowns lower than in previous years. Interest costs would go down and the state debt would decrease in annual terms for the first time in 15 years, Kalousek told journalists. The Finance Ministry has plans to borrow 230 billion crowns in 2013. Financial analysts say the news is not unexpected since the country’s financial reserves are excessive and it is not just possible but advantageous to borrow less.
Mr. Fischer, who has a 5 million crown debt, incurred in the course of his 2013 presidential campaign, said on Monday that he would meet his obligations within 48 hours. The new finance minister said he would do so with the help of sponsors and individual contributions could be viewed on a transparent account.
Former caretaker prime minister Jan Fischer is to take up the post of finance minister and deputy prime minister in the caretaker administration of Jiří Rusnok. Mr. Fisher announced the news at a press briefing in Prague on Monday, saying his main task would be to re-start economic growth and prepare next year’s state budget. Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok’s cabinet is thus complete and President Zeman is expected to appoint it to office on Wednesday. It will then have 30 days in which to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence.
Designated Czech prime minister Jiří Rusnok on Monday announced he has filled the last vacancy in his caretaker cabinet. The post of finance minister is to be taken up by Jan Fischer, former presidential candidate and himself an ex-prime minister of a technocrat government. Mr Fischer said boosting economic growth would be his top priority in his new role. The government is to be appointed later this week, and will then have 30 days to seek confidence from the lower house.
Passenger car sales in the Czech Republic fell by 14 percent in the first half of this year, representatives of the Car Importers Association said at a press conference on Thursday. In June alone, passenger cars sales reportedly dropped by one fifth. Skoda Auto sales decreased by 18 percent, Hyundai saw a 5 percent drop, followed by Volkswagen with a 2 percent fall in sales. Customers bought mainly small and mini cars, which accounted for almost one quarter of overall sales.
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