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Spotlight Issue

Politics: Budget of the Czech Republic for 2015 approved

10 December 2014

On its meeting on 10th December the Chamber of Deputies of Parliament of the Czech Republic approved in the third final reading the State Budget Act for the year 2015. The Act is then submitted to president whose role in this is only formal as he has to sign this Act as approving budget is the exclusive prerogative of the Chamber of Deputies to where the budget act draft was submitted by the Government of the Czech Republic. The Government claims that it stood up to its promises as the deficit of public finance would remain under 3 % with the budget deficit being no bigger than 100 billion CZK that is 20 billion less than the budget draft envisaged by the former government of Petr Nečas. The incomes of the budget will be 1 185.5 billion CZK that is 19.2 billion more than in the 2014. Expenditures are set at the level of 1 218.5 billion CZK that is 7.2 billion more than in previous year.

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News

Economic Policy: EU finance ministers discuss investment, tax avoidance, FTT and more

12 December 2014

Meeting on 9 December in Brussels, finance ministers of the EU held a session of the ECOFIN Council. The meeting´s agenda was very wide, starting with the recently announced €315 billion investment plan. Ministers heard the presentation of the project from EIB President. The EIB is at the core of the investment plan – it will provide a part of the initial funding to the future investment fund and will also host this fund. After a brief discussion, the ministers expressed their support for the investment plan and urged the Commission to come up with concrete legislative proposal. The European Council meeting on 18 and 19 December will also be asked to endorse the investment plan.

The ministers adopted also several measures related to the fight against tax fraud and avoidance. Firstly, they formally adopted the directive providing for enhanced automatic exchange of tax information among Member States. Then, the ministers reached an agreement on an amendment to the parent-subsidiary directive. This directive was initially adopted to avoid double taxation of profits in parent-subsidiary enterprise schemes. However, the Council deemed necessary to amend this directive with an anti-abuse clause. The benefits of the parent-subsidiary directive are not to be abused for tax avoidance. This measure will be formally adopted at a following session of the Council without further discussion.

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Good Governance: 9 December: International Anti-Corruption Day

09 December 2014

The 2014 International Anti-Corruption Day's theme is Break the Corruption Chain. 5 ambassadors in the Czech Republic are applauding the Czech government in an open letter to step up the fulfillment of the anti-corruption commitments. A day for raising awareness of corruption and highlighting the role of the UN’s Convention against Corruption. Corruption is a global challenge that reduces our prosperity by 5% of global GDP every year ($2.6 trillion - World Economic Forum). Corruption also undermines the stability of societies, and governments’ ability to meet the needs of their citizens. Our governments are committed to battling corruption in all its forms at home and abroad.

We applaud the current Czech government’s commitment to combating corruption, as embodied in the Coalition agreement which established legislative priorities to limit opportunities for corruption. We also applaud the Czech government for its 2013 ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption, and look forward to timely and vigorous application of the Convention’s provisions.

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Economic Policy: Government approved Action Plan to Promote Economic Growth and Employment

01 December 2014

On its meeting on 1st December Czech Government approved one of its key strategic documents summarizing both its legislative and non-legislative its commitments for the years 2014 and 2015. The document was prepared in cooperation with the representatives of employers and employees and it is designed to further promote the role of both government’s tripartite partners. The document differs in relation to other analogous documents in precisely defining goals, indicators of success, coordinators and dates the measures are due. The document itself is divided into two sections. First section encompasses individual steps to be taken in order to support the economic growth such as: creating attractive entrepreneur environment, support of export and tourism, support of foreign and domestic private investments, transfer of R&D results into application area, development of capital construction, effective performance of public administration, area of energetics, support of employment and the labor market. Second part of the action plan is focused on measures supporting growth of incomes of the state budget not only on expenditure side but also on the income side of the budget.

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Politics: Donald Tusk assumes the European Council Presidency

05 December 2014

On 1 December, Herman Van Rompuy handed the presidency of the European Council to Donald Tusk. The former Belgian prime minister served two terms as head of the EU summit, now the baton is in the hands of the Polish ex-prime minister. Mr Tusk was elected to the post this summer by the heads of state and government of the EU28, for a term of 30 months. As President, Mr Tusk will be in charge of organizing the EU summits, the European Council, steering the debate and looking for compromise if needed. Also, he will represent the EU internationally.

Mr Tusk is the first politician from the new Member States in the Eastern part of the EU to obtain such high profile EU job. In Poland he served as prime minister and leader of the currently strongest political party, the center-right liberal Civic Platform. Unlike many of his colleagues in the European Council, he also won one re-election, in 2011, being the first Polish PM to be re-elected after the fall of communism.

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