The country’s largest bank Česká Spořitelna has apologized to its clients for problems with its internet banking service. The problems which persisted throughout Monday affected predominantly its BUSINESS 24 service, as well as its Telebanking and S-Card call lines. The bank says its other services as well as its money machines are fully functional.
The power giant ČEZ has decided to postpone a decision on the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant by at least a year, the head of the company’s planning department Pavel Cyrani told the economic weekly magazine Euro. Mr. Cyrani said the decision would only be made after the approval of a long term state energy strategy and the possible approval of a fixed price on energy from the two new reactors. The government was to have selected the winner of a multi-billion crown tender on the completion of Temelín in the autumn of this year, but there has been increasing controversy over whether the country needs two more nuclear reactors in the first place.
A report in the weekly news magazine Euro suggests the Czech power giant ČEZ intends to delay a final decision on whether to expand the Temelín nuclear plant by at least 12 months. ČEZ is due to announce a winner for the multi-billion dollar tender this autumn; a ČEZ official quoted in the magazine now says that even if a winner is chosen this year, the final contract may not be signed until the autumn of 2014.
Moody’s Investors Service rating agency has renewed the Czech Republic’s A1 rating on Friday. The agency gave the country a stable economic outlook thanks to the significant stabilization of the tax system and the limited negative effects of the debt crisis of the Eurozone on the country’s economy. The Czech Republic has held the A1 rating from Moody’s since 2002. According to the agency, Prague has proven that it is determined to take drastic measures in order to lower the deficit, which has been a key factor in maintaining trust in its fiscal policies and creating financing reserves before the recent change of cabinet.
Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok will head a working group overseeing the drawing of EU funds. The group will also include two government ministers and representatives of the regions, the prime minister told reporters on Friday. The Czech Republic has had serious problems with securing EU funds, and has been criticized by the European Commission over insufficient control of EU-funded projects.
In this week’s Business News: The minimum wage will rise in August; Food prices in 2012 grew by a larger margin than in any other EU country; Czech Airlines has withdrawn from its contract with the unions; Fuel prices around the Czech Republic have gone up again; Škoda has signed an almost 1 billion crown contract to deliver trams to Bratislava.
Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman on Wednesday denied reports of a massive debt incurred by his family firm, Agrotrade. The weekly Respekt reported that the firm got hundreds of millions of crowns in credit from banks, and later transferred its assets to another company, leaving Agrotrade some 600 million crowns in the red. However, Mr Toman said he was stationed abroad at that time, and never served on the company’s board. The firm said it would sue the magazine for an apology and damages.
Finance Minister Jan Fischer, whose election campaign debts were recently covered by sponsors, has asked them to clarify the source of the money donated. Mr. Fischer said that if this was not done he would return the finances. The finance minister, who incurred a 3.5 million crown debt in the course of his presidential election campaign earlier this year, has come under fire for producing the necessary funds from sponsors, among them large donations in cash, soon after it became known he would get a lucrative position in the new caretaker government.
The army’s CASA transport planes have successfully passed all flight tests and may now be deployed in foreign missions, Czech Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek told journalists in Prague on Monday. The 3.5 billion crowns purchase of four Spanish CASA transport planes in 2009 has been dogged by problems. The planes’ passive protection system against missiles was found to be defective, failing 7 out of 17 tests and an independent auditor later concluded the purchase had been overpriced. After two years of repairs, fresh tests have now shown that the planes’ protection system is fully operational and the planes’ Spanish supplier is paying the defense ministry 20 million crowns in compensation for the problems.
Social Democrats’ chairman Bohuslav Sobotka says Jan Fischer should step down as finance minister in the interim Czech government over alleged opaque financing of his presidential campaign. In interviews with a number of Saturday’s newspapers, Mr. Sobotka said Mr. Fischer’s remaining in office could be an insurmountable hurdle for the Social Democrats in a vote of confidence in Jiří Rusnok’s caretaker cabinet. Jan Fischer received over CZK 5 million in donations from sponsors, much of it in cash, in the week prior to his appointment, allowing him to clear debts arising from an unsuccessful presidential campaign earlier this year.
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