Czechs are racing to file applications for building permits, with official figures showing that the number of applications in the first half of 2019 was the highest in 10 years. The main reason appears to be an EU directive that will make building more expensive from 2020, when stricter environmental rules come in. However, representatives of both business and government say that modern technologies will help save money in the long term.
Business and government representatives gathered near the western Bohemian town of Žatec on Wednesday to attend the official opening of a new Nexen Tire plant. The factory, which also features a research and development facility, is the third largest foreign investment project in the Czech Republic to be brokered by the country’s business development agency CzechInvest.
The newly established Coal Commission will meet for the first time on
Monday to discuss coal’s future role in the Czech Republic’s energy mix
and address how to manage its reduced production and use.
Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) announced the creation of the Coal Commission this March. The 19-member advisory board is co-chaired by Brabec and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (ANO). It also includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and local communities.
Brabec said the main goal is to conduct a structured national debate on the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables and nuclear against the backdrop of combatting climate change.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions and the key reason is coal-fired power plants.
Last year, brown coal-fired power plants produced the most electricity in the national energy mix (43 percent), followed by nuclear power plants (a third) and renewable sources (11 percent).
Faced by an acute labour shortage, the Czech government is looking to attract more foreign workers and streamline the processing of issuing work permits. In recent years, the country has in particular turned to Ukraine to help fill the gap. The government wants to do the same for workers from EU hopefuls such as Montenegro, Moldova and Serbia, as well as India and other Asian countries.
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked
the entrance to the Ministry for Regional Development on Prague’s Old
Town Square shortly before noon on Friday demanding that the government
reduce emissions from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Ministry for Regional Development is represented in a government commission which will debate the gradual phasing out of coal mining and the country’s future energy mix. The activists argued that such a decision should be the result of a broad debate and consensus in society.
Car maker Škoda Auto has received over 1,600 orders for its new crossover named Kamiq even before the start of sales at the beginning of September, according to company head Luboš Vlček. With its third SUV and first urban crossover, Škoda will be in competition with Dacia Duster, Peugeot 2008 or Renault Captur.
Seven Czech gaming studios plan to present their products at the upcoming
Gamescom international trade fair in Cologne, Germany.
The exhibitors at the Czech national booth include established studios such as Bohemia Interactive, Charged Monkey, BadFly Interactive and Czech Games Edition as well as the start-ups Charles Games, Gold Knights and Outside the Fox.
The national booth is being organized by the Czech Game Developers Association and the state CzechInvest agency with the support of Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Gamescom runs from 20-22 August. It is the second time a Czech national booth is participating.
The share of SUV models in Czech car sales has gone up to nearly 32 percent in the past three years, making them the best-selling category of cars. While Škoda tops other manufacturers in the amount of models sold, it does not dominate the category as much as it does others through the compact Octavia and supermini Fabia. Car companies are now flooding the market with new variations of SUVs.
Industrial output in the Czech Republic weakened by 3.8 percent in June
following four months of growth, according to official figures released on
Tuesday. Lower auto production has been given as one of the main reasons
for the downturn. The manufacture of metal structures and fabricated metal
products also declined.
By contrast, the production of rubber and plastic products, computers and other electronics and pharmaceuticals increased in the Czech Republic in June.
The number of construction projects launched in the Czech Republic in the
first half of 2019 was the highest for the period since 2008. Work began on
almost 6,000 new apartments between the start of January and the end of
June this year, according to official figures released on Tuesday. Work
began on 2.3 percent more family houses in the first half of this year than
in the same period in 2018.
In Prague construction began on almost 2,000 new apartments, 75 percent more than in the first six months of last year. One-third of new construction projects of that kind are in the capital.
However, a representative of developers Central Group said around 10,000 new flats a year could easily be sold in Prague.
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