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

Spotlight Issue

Economic policy: Macroeconomic indicators suggest slow but steady improvement in EU economy

10 April 2015

Eurostat published its flash estimates of several macroeconomic indicators for the EU and the eurozone last week. It confirms what analysts have been suggesting for some time now – the EU is in a very sluggish but steady economic recovery. The GDP figures slowly rise. Last week´s indicators include inflation and unemployment.

Unemployment in the EU was 9.8% in February 2015, down from 9.9% in January 2015 and 10.5% in February 2014. In the eurozone, the corresponding numbers are 11.3% for February 2015, compared to 11.4% in January 2015 and 11.8% in February 2014. Both numbers present the best outcomes since September 2011 and May 2012 respectively.

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News

Competitiveness: EC discusses Digital Single Market strategy

27 March 2015

On 25 March, the college of commissioners discussed at a regular weekly meeting the upcoming Digital Single Market strategy. Digital market is one of the key priorities of the Juncker Commission and the overall strategy is expected in early May. Last week, the commissioners discussed several preliminary question, in particular the areas that the strategy should touch upon. It was agreed, that the strategy will cover 3 main topics: consumers, infrastructure and industry. Concerning infrastructure, the Commission plans action in areas such as telecoms and media rules, spectrum allocation, next-generation broadband, strengthening trust in online services and protection of personal data. In the area of industry, the Commission will re-evaluate certain standards to assure interoperability of new technologies, consider measures to support cloud computing, while ensuring high standards of data protection or to support developing digital skills of citizens. Perhaps most interestingly, though, in the area of consumers, the Commission plans to address issues such as geo-blocking of online content, cross-border parcel delivery, copyright, VAT rules application in cross-border online trade and so on. All of these measures will be developed into a comprehensive strategy to be presented by May. The digital market is the market of the future and tackling some of the issues that hamper its full development in the EU could boost the EU economy by several hundred billion euros per year.

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Competitiveness: Brief for Finance Minister Andrej Babiš & Insolvency Position Paper

06 March 2015

AmCham members met at a luncheon with Andrej Babiš - the First Deputy Prime Minister for the Economics, Minister of Finance and future Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán on March 6, 2015. As a background document Amcham summarized policies we believe will increase the country’s economic potential, either by increasing the capabilities of the country’s people or by improving the efficiency with which government provides services and makes investments. The document in Czech can be found here. AmCham also published position document on Insolvency proceedings available here. English version available here.

   

Politics: European Council endorses Energy Union

20 March 2015

At the regular European Council held in Brussels on 19 and 20 March, the EU presidents and prime ministers endorsed the Commission´s Energy Union project. It also urged all relevant EU institutions to work on the elements of the strategy and report back to the leaders before the end of this year. The heads of state and government welcomed the holistic approach chosen by the Commission – to focus on Energy Union having in mind the 5 key elements, namely security of supply, integrated energy market, decarbonisation of the economy, energy efficiency and competitiveness. In the conclusions published after the meeting, the leaders called specifically for full and thorough implementation of already existing measures and for acceleration of interconnectors construction. Although the conclusions mention the Commission´s plan to have access to Member States´ gas supply contracts, the rationale being equalizing the conditions for all Member States, and broadly endorses it, it nevertheless explicitly mentions the confidentiality of some of the provisions of such agreements. This indicates a certain unease of some Member States towards this plan. Indeed, some states consider their relations with third-party suppliers, such as the Russian Gazprom, privileged and fear that the Commission´s intrusion in the negotiations could endanger that status. Indeed, the Commission seeks to ensure equal treatment of all Member States by third-party suppliers. The European Council also welcomed the regional initiatives being developed in energy matters inside the EU, in case a certain geographic area has similar problems, such as interconnection between Iberia and continental Europe in terms of electricity, the Baltic States´ access to continental electricity and gas grids and South East and Central European Countries in terms of gas supply.

For more, click here and here.

 

Good Governance: “Effective municipal procurement” - Mayors meeting in Brno on March 12th

13 March 2015

Mayors of Moravian towns and cities have met in Brno to discuss best practices in public procurement. Jan Farsky of TOP09, Jiri Skuhrovec of zIndex and Michal Jurka of Skanska shared their valuable experiences. Representatives of towns that achieved top results in public procurement analysis zIndex, evaluating how municipalities manage their public money, were awarded with a special certificate indicating good practices in public contracting. On this occasion, special guest H.E. Andrew Schapiro, Ambassador of the United States to the Czech Republic, handed out these diplomas to Trebic, Orlova, Velke Mezirici and Pohorelice. AmCham would like to congratulate the winners. To view the presentations please click on this link.


   

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