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

Spotlight Issue

Competitiveness: Czech Republic 31st in WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016. Up six places, but competing for what? (updated)

01 October 2015

On 30 September, the Global Economic Forum published their Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, looking at the competitiveness of 140 countries around the globe; Czech Republic being one of them. The Czech Republic ranked 31st, up six places compared with the 2014 report (but - up (only) two places compared with the 2007 results). According to the report, the Czech Republic is an innovation-driven economy, together with 37 other highly developed economies. The most problematic factors for doing business in the Czech Republic, according to the WEF 2015 Executive Opinion Survey, were Inefficient government bureaucracy, Corruption, Policy instability, or Complexity of tax regulation, among others.

"Interesting that we improved in two categories heavily reliant on opinion, and both reductions occurred in areas using hard data. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but something we should note. Sometimes opinion leads data because it is now and data comes from the past, and sometimes opinion is built on yesterday’s data," says Weston Stacey, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic. Read AmCham commentary on the WEF Report. View also AmCham devised 2014 Prosperity Index. Read AmCham Policy Pipeline newsletters in Czech (commentary on WEF Report and Prosperity Index).

Find more details on individual scores in this tab and view country details in the Report above.

Also, on 30 September, a conference The Czech Republic's Strategy for Competitiveness 2016: Industry for the 21st century took place at the University of Economics in Prague. In a topic-related interview for, Martin Srholec of IDEA think-tank at CERGE-EI said: "Czechs are capable of producing anything, in high quality and with low costs, if the idea is brought to them from abroad. It is not production or manufacturing in today's global economy, that generates wealth, though, but the capability of coming up with such ideas, i.e. creativity and innovativeness. And this is what Czech businesses lack...Read more. Click also here to read more quotes.

Earlier in September 2015 Deloitte Central Europe Top 500 analysis showed that among 500 largest companies in the CEE region (18 countries) there are 79 Czech companies (Škoda Auto being 3rd and ČEZ energy group 8th largest). More details in Czech are available here.

Recently, the Czech Government issued an Analysis of the state of research in the Czech Republic:  Strong science and scientists, weak connection to industry. Although R&D (public) expenditures are more or less comparable with those in other EU states, the country lags behind in the number of international patents or applied research results (the share is 11% of the total volume of results), for example.  A summary in Czech is available here.

Click on an interview on Czech research, development and innovations with Radek Špicar, director of the Czech branch of the Aspen Institute think-tank and vice-president of the Confederation of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, who says that the cooperation between universities and industry in the Czech Republic is at the lowest level among OECD countries. View also an interview with Pavel Hnát, expert at the University of Economics, on low investment into research and development.

Read also WEF recent competitiveness-related reports issued in September Case for Trade and Competitiveness, Deep Shift: Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact, and The Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2015.


CCC Summer 2015 Digest

22 September 2015

Dear reader,

let us present new CCC Digest offering summary of what has happened in the Czech Republic in the areas of Competitiveness, Economic Policy, Good Governance and Politics over summer 2015. Our Summer 2015 Digest includes...

..Data from Czech and Global Health Care, Tourism, Digital Economy, Education | Public Procurement & Corporate Governance | Recent Czech Innovations and Awards | Analyses, trends, interviews: Economy, Business, Employment | New Legislation, Government Initiatives and more...


Politics: "YES" or "NO"?TTIP debate in the Czech Republic (updated)

21 September 2015

Here are some recently published opinions in chronological order.

MEP Luděk Niedermayer (TOP09) - in Czech

TTIP: Removing Barriers - Cecilia Malmström: Getting TTIP Facts Straight For SMEs - in English

Czech Members of the European Parliament Jan Zahradil (ODS), Pavel Poc (ČSSD), Dita Charanzová (ANO), Luděk Niedermayer (TOP09) - in Czech

Josef Šíma (Dean of the CEVRO Institute) - interview in Czech

Jarolím Antal (Director of the Centre for European Studies at the University of Economics in Prague) - article in Czech

Brigita Schmögnerová (Former Slovak Finance Minister, UN’s European Economic Commission, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) - in Slovak

Conference on TTIP in Ostrava, 17 June 2015

Cecilia Malmström (EC Trade) on the Czech Television and at a debate at the Charles University, Prague

Dita Charanzová (MEP) and Tomáš Uhnák (journalist) at the Czech Radio - interview in Czech

Ilona Švihlíková (economist) and Vladimír Bärtl (Deputy Minister of Trade) – dialogue on DVTV in Czech

Petra Němcová (Špatný vTTIP NGO) – article in Czech

Jiří Pehe (political commentator) – article in Czech

Analysis by the Czech Government for the National Convention on the EU round table held on 22 May 2015 - in Czech

Common position of the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic (HKČR), Confederation of Industry and Trade (SPČR), and Confederation of Employers’ and Entrepreneurs’ Associations of the Czech Republic (KZPS) - in Czech

Analysis by the Centre for European Studies, University of Economics in Prague – in Czech

Comments by Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions – in Czech

Recommendations from the National Convention on the EU round table held on 22 May 2015 – in Czech

Jiří Šedivý (Ambassador of the Czech Republic to NATO, former Defence Minister) – article in English

American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic – position in English


View also related documents in English:

Recent data on EU-US trade and FDI are available here. On 16 September 2015, European Commission proposed public court to settle investment disputes...Read more. Positive effects of TTIP tribunals for investment unclear...Read detailsDraft text on Investment Protection and Investment Court System in TTIP.

The international trade and civil liberties committees held a hearing on June, 16th to discuss how to reconcile the need for data protection with trade agreements that boost business in the EU...Read details.

Experts for

Inside TTIP: An overview and chapter-by-chapter guide (July 2015) TTIP and medicines approval (May 2015)

Austrian Foundation for Development Research

European Trade Union Institute

Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

BusinessEurope and U.S.Chamber of Commerce

Atlantic Council and Bertelsmann Foundation


Politics: Juncker´s first State of the Union speech in EP

14 September 2015

Last Wednesday 9 September, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his first State of the Union speech in the European Parliament plenary in Strassbourg. His 77-minute long speech, made in English and French, touched a variety of topics the European Union copes with these days. The basic opening message was very clear – the EU is not in a good place. There is war in Ukraine, in the Southern neighborhood, economic problems in Greece and elsewhere, imminent British EU membership referendum and, most of all, the gigantic migration flow with no end in sight.

On the migration issue, which took about a third of the overall speech, Jean-Claude Juncker stated that throughout history, everybody in Europe was in fact once a refugee. The EU, therefore, has an obligation to help those fleeing for their lives from dangerous war zones. The EC boss mentioned the emergency redistribution mechanism for 40 000 asylum-seekers, agreed on in June and supported in a non-binding vote by the MEPs at the very same plenary session. At the same time, though, since the migration flow surged in the recent weeks, the President announced that his Commission would formally propose a new emergency mechanism, this time for 120 000 refugees. And this time the redistribution should absolutely be binding – the first measure had only a binding objective, but the redistribution was made voluntary. As a consequence, not even the modest 40 000 have been relocated so far, while tens of thousands of new refugees have already entered the Union. Juncker also presented his plan to reform Frontex to be a true executive agency responsible for the protection of outside EU borders by the end of the year.

The new refugee quotas were scheduled to be discussed on Monday 14 September. European Council President Donald Tusk made it clear that failure to reach an agreement, which was expected to happen due to the opposition of some Eastern EU members, would result in an emergency EU summit dedicated to this topic.

POLITICO reported that Juncker made the speech in a very matter-of-fact, un-rhetoric, un-passionate way (although the contents were more passionate than the speeches in the past) – which is however the way the EU usually works. Some of the main messages were very clear, though – Juncker promised Schengen will not be unraveled while he is President, to give an example. Some Eurosceptic MEPs tried to disturb Juncker, but he was able to handle it. At the end of the speech, the EP President Martin Schulz offered Juncker the EP´s condolences for the loss of his mother he suffered the weekend before the speech and thanked him for delivering on his political duty as President anyway.

For more, click here, here and here.


Politics: New possible solutions for tackling migration crisis discussed

06 September 2015

Last week saw a number of developments in the EU refugee saga, as thousands of people kept arriving in Italy, Greece and Hungary. Mainly pictures from the Budapest Keleti railway station became notorious, when several thousand migrants camped outside unable to get by train to Germany and Austria. In the end, the refugees, refusing to be registered in Hungary as the EU rules would normally require, set up to walk to Austria. Germany and Austria both stated they would not enforce the so-called Dublin rules and would not ship migrants back to Hungary, from whence they had come. Many officials thus called the EU asylum system defunct in practice and new solutions are being sought.

Earlier, EU leaders agreed to relocate some 40 000 incoming migrants from states most hit by the migration wave. Although the target is mandatory, the exact distribution mechanism was not agreed. These so-called quotas are, however, still seen as one of the ways to deal with the situation. Italy, Greece and Hungary are overwhelmed by the number of asylum seekers and do not have the capacity to process all of them in an orderly manner. European Council President Tusk and Commission President Juncker talked of a new target of at least 100 000 migrants to be relocated for asylum procedures.

However, mainly the V4 countries strongly oppose this approach. Hungarian PM Orbán stated clearly in Brussels, that quotas would only encourage more people to come. He said we ought to discourage people from coming. Also, in a very strongly-worded statement, he said the current crisis is not a European one, but rather a German one – asylum-seekers want to go mainly to Germany. At a summit in Prague last week, the V4 prime ministers agreed that mandatory quotas are no solution. They proposed a different approach – supporting the overwhelmed states personally, technically and financially. The main challenge, in their view however, is to stop the people from coming in the first place.

Reactions from Brussels and from Western member states to such views have not been pretty. Some are determined to push the quotas through and criticize Eastern countries for lack of solidarity and humanity. There has even been talk of activating the “nuclear” article 7 of the EU Treaty, which enables the Council to freeze EU voting rights for states in breach of human rights. Other forms of financial sanctions have also been discussed. According to media reports, EU foreign ministers meeting at an informal “Gymnich” (informal Foreign Affairs Council) discussed a possible compromise – a mandatory EU-wide quota system for asylum-seekers, with the possibility of an opt-out clause for everyone willing to pay for its activation. Eastern European diplomats, however, indicated that whereas it could be a solution, they would not stand in the way of a consensus on quotas even without the opt-out possibility – indicating a compromise might be close.

Amid shocked reactions to the sad pictures from the Greek beaches, France and Germany announced a new push for a solution. EU interior ministers will meet on 14 September. A high level summit will be held in mid-October. High Representative Mogherini also announced, that there has been an understanding concerning the ongoing EUNAVFOR MED military operation in the Mediterranean designed to fight smugglers networks. Its first phase, intelligence gathering, has been concluded and its second phase is prepared – active searching for smugglers´ vessels and their re-routing away from EU shores. However, the second phase would only be activated in international waters. For the operation to be more effective, UN Security Council approval for operating in Libyan waters would be needed – which is highly unlikely to be obtained at this point. The second phase in international waters is expected to be deployed by the end of the month. Other possibilities, such as processing asylum requests in third countries, are also being discussed.

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


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