17th May 2018

Czech Legislation Update April/May 2018

After vote of no confidence by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the Czech minority government resigned on 17 January. It has continued as a caretaker government. New coalition negotiations have been underway. On 26 January, Miloš Zeman was re-elected president of the Czech Republic and was inaugurated on 8 March. Policy Statement of the Government of the Czech Republic from 8 January 2018
From the sessions of the Chamber of Deputies

Proposal of the Act on Personal Data Protection (bill no. 138 and related bill no. 131) in connection with the adopted EU regulation, had its 1st reading on 18 April and is being reviewed by the Committees of the Chamber of Deputies.

Tax Code amendment proposal (bill no. 47), suggesting that banks, legal advisers, notaries, auditors, financial advisers, insurers etc should provide data on their clients if a tax administration office asks them to do so in suspicious cases. On 21 March, MPs passed the bill with rules applying only to banks. The Senate rejected the bill on 25 April and the Chamber of Deputies could vote again during its session starting on 22 May.

The Chamber of Deputies is debating draft amendment to the Act on Free Access to Information bill no. 50 suggesting that state-controlled institutions, including state-owned companies should dislose information (according to Act no. 106/1999) and contracts within the registry of contracts.The bill is being reviewed by the Chamber Committees.

The aim behind a draft amendment to the Act on the Conflict on Interest (bill no. 158) is, among others, to reduce financial motivation for an individual arising from cummulation of public functions. The Chamber proposal recommends to assume one full-time public function at a time. The Government could debate the bill at its session on 23 May.

At its session on 11 April, the Government approved proposal (bill no. 171) to prepare a protocol prolonging and modifying the Protocol on research and development cooperation between the Czech Republic and the USA.

Draft amendment to the Act on trademarks (bill no. 168) means transposition of EU legislation (2015/2436 and 2016/943). 

From the sessions of the Government

On 30 April, the Government agreed to sign a Statement on cooperation between the government of the Czech Republic and BMW AG related to the intent of the latter to build and launch a research and test centre in the Sokolov area, Karlovarsky region.

The Government also greenlighted draft amendment to the Act on Residence of Foreigners in the territory of the Czech Republic, a transposition of EU legislation related to residence of third countries nationals for the purpose of research and development, studying, internships, volunteering, exchange and au-pair programs. The bill includes further measures proposed by the Ministry of the Interior, including an adaptation/integration course or quantitative quotas for economic migrants.

The Office for the Protection of Personal Data (UOOU) has launched a microwebsite focused on GDPR.

On 16 May, the Government greenlighted an increase of R&D funding from the state budget by 2.1bn CZK to almost 36bn CZK for 2019.

The Government also approved a merger of Czech Aeroholding with the Prague Václav Havel Airport, retrospectively as of 1 January 2018, as „a separate existence of the companies does not make sense… Czech Aeroholding is in an excellent shape,“ PM Andrej Babiš said at a press konference after the session of the Government on 16 May.

The ANO party which is trying to form a coalition government with the Social Democrats, with tacit support from the Communist Party, is preparing changes to the law on electronic cash registers introduced at the start of 2017 as a means of fighting tax-evasion, Radio Praha informed. The third and fourth phase of the project, due to have come into force this year, had to be postponed after the Constitutional Court voiced reservations to some of the measures involved, the article says.   

According to the Hospodarske noviny daily, Radio Praha writes, Czech legislators are preparing a bill that seeks to prevent the theft of the country’s technology and is primarily aimed at Chinese investments. In the case of suspicion that an investor is making a purchase in order to get their hands on technology or information the state will be able to put the kibosh on such a sale, if the bill comes into effect. The bill is being drafted by MP Jan Bartošek of the Christian Democrats and is based on similar legislation already in force in Germany, Radio Praha writes.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic