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

Spotlight Issue

Competitiveness: President Miloš Zeman visits China

26 October 2014

In the evening of Thursday 23rd October President Miloš Zeman began his official state visit to China being invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping. During his stay President Zeman attended Czech-Chinese Entrepreneurial Forum and West-Chinese International Fair in Chengdu. During his speeches and negotiations there President Zeman mentioned several topics important for Czech business and Czech-Chinese relations. One of the expected topics was the introduction of direct airline connecting the Czech Republic and PRC. The line would connect Prague with Shanghai and could potentially bring thousands of Chinese tourists to the Czech Republic. President agreed on this with the Chinese side and the possibility of success of the negotiations is very high. However, the signature of the deal itself was left to sign to Prime Minister Sobotka on his upcoming visit to China as the technical details of the agreement itself are still being negotiated. President Zeman also spoke of negotiations on establishing Czech consulate in the Sichuan which would provide support for the Czech entrepreneurs there. He also expressed his wish that the Chinese citizens wouldn’t have to obtain visa when travelling with diplomatic passport. President further added that he was long-term advocate of visa waiver for all Chinese citiziens for the whole European Union. Furthermore, he added that he would welcome if the Bank of China introduced its branches, which are so far only in Hungary, also to the Czech Republic. Later he also met with the representatives of Bank of China. On Monday President Miloš Zeman is to meet with the highest-ranking Chinese officials including president Xi Jinping.

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News

Politics: Senate Election Results

18 October 2014

On Friday 17th October and Saturday 18th October 2nd round of the elections to the Senate was held and 27 senators from the total number of 81 were elected to serve their 6year term in office. The turnout proved to be at its lowest level and historic minimum with only 16.6 % of eligible voters that is lower than half of the turnout in first electoral round with 38.62 %. Greatest success achieved ČSSD with 10 of 19 defended mandates with the result being according party presidents expectations. Second place shared ANO 2001 with 4 new mandates and KDU-ČSL that also received additional 4 mandates. KDU-ČSL also received 3 more mandates in coalition with SZ (Green Party). ODS itself along with SLK (Mayors for Liberec Region), STAN (Mayors and Independent), SsČR (Freeholders Party) and SPO received 1 mandate. ODS additionally received 1 mandate more in an unusual coalition with the monarchist movement Koruna Česká (Czech Crown). One party that also defended one mandate but didn’t receive any was KSČM. Also present speaker of the Senate Milan Štěch managed to defend his mandate during these election. If we now have a look at the present situation in Senate and on potential majorities we can see that ČSSD remained the strongest force in the upper chamber with its 34 senators followed with ODS with 14 senators, KDU-ČSL has now 10 senators, 7 senators belong to the club of Mayors, KSČM will be in club with SPO and Severočeši.cz with the total of 6 senators, SZ (Green Party) is finally going to from its own senatorial club with 5 senators followed by the club of ANO and independents that is likely to emerge also having 5 senators. With this layout the current government coalition should have comfortable majority of 48 senators.

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Politics: Finance ministers agree on new anti-tax evasion measures

17 October 2014

On 14 October in Luxembourg, the finance ministers of the EU28 held a meeting of the ECOFIN Council. In line with the OECD and G20 general guidelines on fight against tax evasion, the ministers discussed and eventually agreed on a revised automatic exchange of tax information directive. The directive currently in force was agreed on in 2013 and provides for mandatory exchange of tax-related information between the tax administrations for the cases in which the taxpayer is a resident of another Member State. Now, the ministers agreed to include information on financial assets categories of income, such as interests and dividends, into the scope of the directive. It will thus add up to the already exchanged information on employment, life insurance products, immovable property and other types of income. The new rules go in line with the EU´s fight against tax fraud and evasion. Tax matters legislative acts are not adopted through the ordinary legislative procedure, that is with the participation of the European Parliament. Pursuant to the relevant articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, such acts are adopted unanimously by the Council, the EP being consulted. The text agreed by the ministers will now be edited and translated in all the EU official languages. Then, at a next Council meeting, it will be formally adopted without further discussion.

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Voting in Prague

13 October 2014

See the table attached about the Voting in Prague.

 

Politics: Municipal and Senate (1st round) Election Results

12 October 2014

On Friday 10th October and on Saturday 11th October elections to the municipalities and also first round of senate elections were held. The turnout was expectedly low at 44.46 % for municipal elections and 38.62 % for the first round of senate elections where one third of the upper chamber of parliament is elected. In absolute numbers most mandates in municipal elections were won by independent candidates and associations of independent candidates, it is 41 460 mandates. As for the major political parties and number of mandates won the KDU ČSL was the most successful one with 3 996 mandates that was even 100 mandates more than in previous elections. They were followed by ČSSD (3 806) that on the contrary lost 800 mandates and worsened its position especially in major cities and surrendered its leading position to ANO which received 1 610 mandates but in relative  strength was the most successful party with the 14.59 % share. ANO also won elections in many populous and in all but four regional cities and in Prague. According to political scientist Petr Just this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be part of ruling coalition in all the cities where it won as other parties often delimit themselves in relation to ANO.

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