In Business News this week: household consumption begins to increase; Czech Republic wins a 1.8 billion arbitration case; fuel prices continue to decline; passenger rail travel goes up slightly in 1H of 2013; e-book sales are expected to double this year; Prague Zoo, ETA are among the best known Czech brands.
In his new book, former Czech president Václav Klaus calls for the Czech Republic to leave the European Union. In the book entitled “Decision Time” which is to be published next week, Mr Klaus argues that the EU deepened various negative features of the Czech society, politics and economy by overregulation, disregard for the sovereignty of national governments, and diminishing their responsibility. In an interview for the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Thursday, Mr Klaus also called for a fundamental change in people’s thinking, similar to that which occurred after the fall of communism. Mr Klaus, whose second term as president expired in February, now heads his own Prague-based institute.
The Josef Jungmann prize for the best translation into Czech was awarded to Anežka Charvátová for her translation of Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666 from Spanish. The Josef Jungmann prize has been given out annually since 1991 on the day of Saint Jerome, who is the patron saint of translators. At this year’s ceremony, Věra Koubová, who is best known for translations of Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche, was inducted into the hall of fame.
The municipal library in the central Bohemian village of Milín has been named the Library of the Year by the Czech Culture Ministry. At a ceremony in Prague on Thursday, the jury praised the library’s outreach and its role in the life of the community. In the village with 2,100 inhabitants, the library last year registered over 11,000 visits. The prize for significant IT improvement was awarded to the library in Litvínov, in northern Bohemia. The library in Hradec Králové was named the best city library of 2013.
The Czech Republic's foreign debt grew by 45.3 billion crowns to over 2,02 billion in the second quarter of this year, accounting for 53.1 percent of gross domestic product, the Czech National Bank said on Monday. Year on year, the foreign debt was 97.5 billion crowns higher. Foreign liabilities with an original maturity of more than one year accounted for 74.6 percent of debt liabilities. External liabilities of the corporate sector accounted for 48.7 percent of the total external debt. The private sector is responsible for 46.1 percent of the long-term external debt, while public sector liabilities account for the rest.
The Czech National Bank on Thursday kept its key interest rate at a record low of 0.05 percent. The bank last changed the 2-week repo rate in November, lowering it by 20 basic points to the current value. Analysts believe the central bank will keep the rate unchanged until the end of next year. The bank on Thursday made no decision on launching a currency intervention to lower the value of the Czech crown; however, the bank’s governor, Miroslav Singer said the move was very likely to happen in the future.
President Miloš Zeman has said he will push for the country’s entrepreneurs to contribute to reducing the country’s national debt, in return for privileges such as taking part in the president’s business missions abroad. The president himself announced shortly after taking office that he would send part of his monthly salary to a special account set up for that purpose. The country’s national debt now stands at more than 1.6 trillion crowns.
The Social Democrats top all election surveys ahead of the upcoming early general election. The party, which has spent the last seven years in opposition, promises voters economic growth; they want to icrease government spending and invest more into health care, education and other fields. All this is to be paid for by, among other things, higher taxes. In this edition of Marketplace, I discuss the Social Democrat’s economic policies with the party’s economic expert and shadow finance minister Jan Mládek.
Unemployment among university graduates is a growing problem. According to labour office statistics 32,000 university graduates are unemployed, some having failed to find work for several years. The results of a survey among university students conducted by Student Media suggest that fear of unemployment is high, with only 12 percent of students confident of their ability to find work. Forty percent of respondents said they were seriously considering applying for work abroad on graduation.
Prague 10 municipal council approved a plan to buy a villa in the Vinohrady district of the capital which once belonged to the writer Karel Čapek. The municipality earmarked nearly 44 million crowns for the purchase. The villa, built in the 1920s, houses part of the writer’s archive, his library and some of his personal belongings. The owner, a distant relative of Karel Čapek’s wife, had been offered a higher price by other interested buyers but said he wanted to sell the property to Prague 10. The villa should eventually be open to the public as a museum dedicated to the writer.
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
Czech agencies smash spy ring operated by “very aggressive” Russians
Prague City Hall terminates memorandum with e-scooter operator Lime
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home