The Czech Competitiveness Council is a platform for debating competitiveness, economic policy and promoting solutions across all sectors, public and private.

Spotlight Issue

Politics: Czech government agreed on its candidate for European Commissioner

21 July 2014

After its meeting on 21st July the Czech government presented its candidate for European Commissioner. After long negotiations government eventually agreed on the name of present Minister of Regional Development Věra Jourová, who was nominated by ANO after it dropped its candidate Pavel Telička. Her opponets were Pavel mertlík nominated by ČSSD and Petr Blížkovský nominated by KDU-ČSL. The Czech Republic agreed on its candidate as 14th of 28 countries in accordance with its promise to decide on its candidate by the end of July. The Czech Republic wants to negotiate for its candidate some of the more important economic portfolios like regional development, transportation, industry or digital economy. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka later during the working breakfast presented Czech candidate for the commissioner to the French Minister of Finance Pierre Moscovici who is also probable candidate for the European Commission.

On its meeting Czech government also discussed the Partnership Agreement with the EU for the years 2014-2020. The discussed version includes European Commission comments from this June. It includes distribution of nearly CZK 600 bn and it was made during the period of 3 years and was consulted not only with EC but also with national partners. The agreement stresses development of regions, transport infrastructure, support of business and higher employment.

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Politics: FAC adopts further sanctions against Russia

25 July 2014

Foreign Ministers of the EU28 met on 22 July at a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. The Council expressed its deep saddness over the tragic loss of so many lives in the MH17 catastrophy in Eastern Ukraine. The Council also added its voice to the international community´s call for a quick and independent international investigation of the crash. Based on the European Council conclusions of 16 July and its own conclusions of 18 July, the Council at its meeting on 22 July agreed  and on 25 July formally adopted by written procedure yet another round of targeted restrictive measures against 20 individuals and 18 legal entities who materially or financially support actions against Ukrainian territorial integrity.

These sanctions, together with the ban on EIB funding on Russia-based projects and other measures, were described as stage 2.9 sanctions by the media. The Council once again recalled the preparatory work by the EEAS and by the Commission on „stage 3 measures“, that is economic sanctions, and asked both bodies to quickly finalize their work and present their proposals. It is expected that stage 3 sanctions will be adopted on 29 July. Initially, the EU Member States were cautious about possible economic sanctions, but the downing of MH17 changed the views dramatically and at least limited economic sanctions are expected. These should include ban on EU exports of sensitive technologies and dual-use goods, but should not at the first stage include ban on Russian gas and oil imports. However, as usual, the measures will include space for further strengthening, as well as possible relieving in case the situation de-escalates.

For more, click here, here and here.


Economic Policy: Czech government approved operational programmes

14 July 2014

On its meeting on Monday 14th July Czech government approved 2 remaining remaining operational programmes “Business and Innovation for Competitiveness” and “Technical Help.” Czech Republic can use up to EUR 22 bn (CZK 600 bn) through all 9 operational programmes. The programmes are to be sent to Brussels until 17th July. After that date negotiation about their final design is going to commence. Later on Monday 21st July the government will present on its meeting the final draft of Partnership Agreement which is crucial agreement for drawing the EU funds in the next 10 years.

Namely operational programme Bussines and Innovation for Competitivness means approximately 116 bn to be used on improvement of businesses’ research, development and innovation capacities. Furthermore it will focus on business development and innovation of small and medium enterprises in branches with lower knowledge intensity with the stress on making new business plans including development of services leading to increase in competitive advantage of SMEs in international environment. Regarding important contracts government also approved buying of 40,000 cubic meters of aviation kerosene for the state emergency supplies by State Administration of Material Reserves.

For more click here, here, here, here, here and here.


Politics: Juncker elected Commission President by the MEPs

18 July 2014

Jean-Claude Juncker is the next Commission President. After designation by the political groups and formal nomination by the European Council, he was elected to the post with 422 votes in a secret ballot in the European Parliament. Mr Juncker will assume his post in November. The 422 votes in the ballot constitute a solid majority, although the result was expected – the two largest political groups in the EP, the conservatives and the socialists, struck a deal to elect the Luxembourgish ex-PM. The liberals were also for Mr Juncker. On the other hand, the far-left GUE/NGL and the third largest group, the ECR, together with the eurosceptics of Mr Farage, were against him.

Aside from the election of the new Commission President, the MEPs „grilled“ and approved 4 replacement Commissioners, approved Lithuania´s adoption of the euro, discussed maternity leave directive, situation in Ukraine and Gaza and called for more transparency concerning the TTIP talks.

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Politics: Jean-Claude Juncker prepares to assume his job as Commission President

11 July 2014

Last week, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission President-nominee, visited the European Parliament political groups to try to win their support for his future post. The European Parliament must elect Mr. Juncker to the post, which it will try to do on 16 July at a plenary session. Mr. Juncker met with all the political groups on 8 and 9 July. As expected, his political group – the EPP, strongly supports him. The S&D, the second largest political group in the EP and part of the deal with the conservatives on top EU posts, made some soft reservations, but its support is expected. To win the socialist votes, Mr. Juncker promised the post of the Commissioner for monetary and economic affairs to be attributed to a socialist. The liberals of ALDE expressed their will to contribute in a large and strong pro-EU political force, although they also have certain reservations towards Mr. Juncker. The ECR group does not like the process by which Mr. Juncker won his appointment by the European Council and therefore will not support him in the vote. However, the third largest political group in the EP expressed the will to cooperate with the new Commission in a correct manner. Mr. Juncker was refused by the far-left GUE/NGL, as well as by the Eurocritical EFDD group. The Greens/EFA will decide based on Mr. Junckers detailed program.

Meanwhile, Mr. Juncker tries to gain more women for the future Commissioner posts. Almost all the Member States which have already announced their Commissioner-nominees, have announced men – i.e. Jyrki Katainen from Finland, Maros Sefcovic from Slovakia or Gunter Oettinger from Germany. Mr. Juncker wants a balanced Commission and promised strong portfolios and Vice-Presidency posts to countries which nominate women.

For more, click here and here.


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