The Czech Trade and Industry Ministry has dismissed fears of a shortage of crude oil following reports that the Russian state oil pipeline monopoly Transneft only has sufficient volume in the Druzhba pipeline to supply the Czech Republic for three more days. According to the Reuters news agency Russian oil companies failed to submit new requests for deliveries to Czech customers. A Transneft spokesman said the company was not limiting supplies to anyone, but that requests for oil had not been processed. Vaclav Bartuska, a special government envoy for energy security told Reuters the Czech side had not been informed about any supply reductions, but noted that the country could replace the missing volumes through the IKL pipeline bringing oil from the Mediterranean. Moreover he said the Czech Republic has reserves of oil and oil products for more than 90 days.
Industry Minister Martin Kuba says that the controversial anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA should be reviewed by the Constitutional Court before being ratified. ACTA has stirred up a wave of international opposition in recent months and is currently being reviewed by the European Court of Justice. Mr Kuba, who also met with the Czech Pirate Party on Tuesday, said that his ministry would insist on a review by the court to ensure that it is in harmony with existing legislation and does not impede personal freedoms but added that the Industry Ministry had already done an analysis that show that ACTA changed nothing in the Czech legislation.
In Business News this week: Czech industrial production speeds up; most Czech companies want to hire employees as contractors; Saturday shifts at Škoda Auto end over labour dispute, the North American brewing giant Molson Coors buys Staropramen; and Prague’s Ruzyně airport marks 75 years since the first landing.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Prague on Tuesday for a brief working visit. During a five-hour trip, Ms Merkel met with Prime Minister Petr Nečas on the European fiscal pact and the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant; the two are also taking part in a debate on the future of Europe with students of Charles University. The German chancellor has said she respects the Czech stances on nuclear power and the Euro pact, though her country holds opposing positions. Germany definitively abandoned nuclear energy after the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan last year, and has spearheaded the fiscal responsibility pact, which binds the signatories´ governments to observe balanced state budgets. The Czech Republic and Britain are the only two EU members that have not yet acceded to the pact.
Police picked up 20 powerful new automobiles at Mošnov in the area of Nový Jičín on Monday, designed to pursue aggressive drivers and others who ignore the rules of the road. Police President Petr Lessy told the Czech news agency the new vehicles were 300 horsepower Volkswagen Passats, capable of achieving 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds and maximum speeds of 250 kilometres per hour. The police bought the new cars for 30 million crowns (25 of which were provided by the Finance Ministry). Until now, the police had 15 such vehicles, which, over the course of three years had been used in more than 80,000 misdemeanour cases; fines handed out in the cases brought in around 90 million crowns, Mr Lessy said. He added the strengthened fleet of police vehicles would have a greater presence on the country’s highways and major roads.
Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba has said that the expansion of the Temelín nuclear plant should not be judged just from an economic angle, but that its role in ensuring the independence of the Czech Republic from energy imports should also be considered. Speaking at a conference on Thursday, he commented on recent speculations that the multi-billion crown tender for the completion of the plant may not be awarded in the end. He said that the construction of two new reactors at the plant was a strategic and decisive question in Czech energy politics and therefore could not be looked at purely in terms of its economic cost-benefit ratio.
In Business News: Industry and Trade Minister confirms that Czech Republic will try and further expand nuclear energy production; Rusatom Overseas signs memorandum with potential subcontractors on Temelín; Škoda Auto sees significant increase in sales in foreign markets; One-third of Czechs will be unable to save a single crown a month this year, poll suggests; and Czech nanotechnology firms make mark in Japan.
Industry Minister Martin Kuba has said the country should rely heavily on nuclear power in the coming years. Speaking at the international energy forum in Prague on Thursday the minister said that in addition to expanding the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia and extending the service life of Dukovany in southern Moravia it was necessary to seek a location for a third nuclear power plant. Minister Kuba said his ministry was currently drafting a long-term energy strategy which would count on nuclear power covering over 50 percent of domestic power consumption in the years ahead. He said the country could not support renewable energy sources that do not produce power at a reasonable price.
In this week’s business news: Czech banks are getting ready to sign off on what could be the largest-ever club deal, negotiations between Škoda Auto management and unions continue, the Czech Agrarian Chamber’s president has said that egg prices will stabilize, the cost of fuel has hit a record high and the American coffee retailer Starbucks has opened its first Czech branch outside of Prague.