A recent opinion poll carried out by the STEM agency suggests more than two thirds of Czechs believe that unemployment benefits should be lower in order to make people seek jobs actively. Around the same share of those polled said they believed the current level of benefits and welfare did not motivate jobless people to seek employment. 70 percent of respondents said they would prefer minimum benefits which according to them would make people accept less qualified jobs, retrain or relocate. 37 percent believe the current level of unemployment benefits is motivating enough.
The website Czech Position reports that controversial American lawyer Edward Fagan is filing a lawsuit against the Czech Republic, its finance minister and several other people regarding unpaid bonds issued by the town of Karlovy Vary in 1924. Mr Fagan says the suit, which is to be filed in the US, is based on his having been denied cooperation in verifying whether the state fulfilled its financial liabilities arising from the bonds. He is reportedly also threatening to prevent the state from issuing further bonds. The Finance Ministry rejected Mr Fagan’s 500-million-dollar claim for the bonds, which were sold in the United States. The Czech Finance Ministry says such claims have been barred for years and that Czechoslovak authorities negotiated a memorandum with the bond holders in 1984.
The Czech unit of the natural gas giant RWE will raise natural gas prices for households by 9 percent on average from mid-December due to a steep depreciation of the Czech crown, which makes imports more expensive, a spokesman for the utility said on Wednesday. It is the company's second price increase in less than two months triggered by the crown's fall against the US dollar. In November, it boosted household prices by 5.2 percent.
Prices of electricity for households in the Czech Republic will rise by 3.4 percent on average next year, according to the Energy Regulatory Office. Electricity prices for small businesses are expected to increase by 4.3 percent. Prices for large companies will go up by between 6 and 6.6 percent. According to the office electricity prices are affected mainly by last year´s boom of solar power plants and a growth of output of biogas stations and biomass combustion sources. The government has earmarked 11.7 billion crowns to offset the influence of renewable sources on electricity prices for next year, but some impact is expected nevertheless.
The ex-wife of recently-resigned trade minister Martin Kocourek has authorised her lawyers to recover any money that may have been denied her in the couple’s divorce settlement. Neither she nor Mr Kocourek commented further on the matter. Kocourek resigned two weeks ago after failing to provide a legitimate explanation to why 16 million crowns had appeared on an account belonging to his mother. The trade minister’s defence was that the money was his and that he had “diverted” it to his mother in 2008 to protect it from his divorce settlement.
A poll commissioned by GE Money Bank suggests that almost a third of Czechs do some of their shopping abroad. The reasons are lower prices as well as a wider choice of goods. Almost half of Czech consumers who shop abroad say they are planning to travel across the border to do at least part of their Christmas shopping this year. Most of those who travel abroad to shop come from regions bordering on Germany, Poland and Austria. Six percent of those polled said they shopped abroad on a regular basis, 24 percent only occasionally. According to the poll, people from the border regions mostly purchase groceries, while people from Prague and those with a higher education tend to shop for clothes and travel to more distant countries, such as Italy and the United Kingdom.
TOP 09 parliamentary club chairman Petr Gazdík says that higher taxes for the richest citizens is a possibility, given the current economic situation. In an interview for Saturday’s edition of the newspaper Právo, Mr Gazdík said that in a worst-case scenario where pensions or families’ standards of living were reduced, he could not imagine that taxes would not be raised for the wealthiest. In the event of a crisis that would heavily decrease the effectiveness of the economy, he said, then ideological issues such as not raising direct taxes would not apply.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is the latest institution to confirm a poor economic outlook for the Czech Republic in 2012. The OECD estimates a drop in growth next year to 1.6% compared to this year’s 2.1. The organisation’s report does however say the Czech economy is stable and successful and commends the current reform plans. In the spring, the OECD predicted Czech economic growth of 2.4% this year and 3.5% in the next. Its revised estimate remains more optimistic than those of the Czech National Bank, the Ministry of Finance and the European Commission.
In Business News this week: the economy slows down suggesting even bleaker outlooks; the Czech crown loses its lustre for investors; Czech banks lose billions in the Greek debt crisis; President Klaus vetoes a bill introducing criminal liability for corporations; firms increasingly introduce loyalty programmes to keep customers; and Czech Post will launch “great parcel revolution”.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
“I am taking it minute by minute” – Foreigners in the Czech Republic on quarantine and being cut off from their families
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Coronavirus: Czech scientists focus on role proteins play in spreading COVID-19