Czech Republic

Government Raised State Employees’ Salaries

19 October 2014

On its meeting on Wednesday 15th October government decided that it would raise state employees’ salaries by 3.5 %. That is on average raise by 650 CZK. Among affected personnel belong firemen, policemen, soldiers, teachers, workers in the field of culture, employees of Employment Office and Financial Office. This raise in salaries is the biggest since 2009 and is related to governmental efforts to improve the quality of offered public services and to boost the consumption of households. The total amount of money allocated to this raise of salaries is approximately 1bn CZK originating from the savings on the expenditure side of the budget. This measure is entirely supported by the tripartite and by the union officials. Additionally from the 1st January 2015 policemen and firemen will get another 1.5 % and healthcare and social workers additional 5 % raise in their salaries. As a result the average state employee salary should be higher by 1244 CZK reaching 25 878 CZK in total.

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Financial Administration is to be Able to Ask for the Origin of Property above 10 Million CZK

17 October 2014

According to the proposal of Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš the financial administration should be able to examine and ask for the origin of property that is more than 10 million CZK and tax it should it prove necessary. This measure should help the taxation of incomes and of property. If the untaxed income would be more than 2 million CZK the Administration would use special measures and also additional penalty of 100 % will apply that could be reduced to 50 % if the subject was cooperative. Under 2 million CZ the 20 % penalty would apply. The measure will not extend current period for additional taxation which is currently 3 years. It should also help in revealing the incomes from criminal behavior. Similar measures are already applied for example in Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Spain or Slovakia. These measures are to be adopted and enforced from the beginning of 2016.

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Czech Export Goods

16 October 2014

The Czech Republic exports not only goods that are well known to us but also some that we would not think of in the first place. Let’s speak of some of both known and unknown commodities. The Czech Republic is for example one of the greatest exporters of gramophone records in the world with annual production of 13-14 million pieces with over 98 % produced for export. Other Czech company Schneider Electric manufactures and exports red safety buttons to more than hundred countries of the world in the amount of 3 million pieces yearly. Czech Republic could also be called the “superpower” in producing flytraps with more than 65 million flytraps exported. Unsurprisingly the Czech Republic is also the third biggest exporter of hop of the world only to be beaten by Germany and USA. It’s also world’s greatest producers of mildly aromatic hops that is currently on the rise throughout the world. Closely to this is the export of beer that becomes increasingly important for Czech breweries. Apart from this the Czech Republic excels in exports of glass, china, light firearms, snap fasteners, cars, ICT and also electricity. In the terms of export of electricity the Czech Republic exports more than 20 TWh a year which is about one third of its production. The Czech Republic is thus the fifth biggest exporter of electricity and exports more electricity than China or USA.

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Westinghouse Offered Co-financing of Czech Nuclear Plants Construction

13 October 2014

CEO of Westinghouse for the Czech Republic Pavel Janík said that the Japan-American company Westinghouse is ready to co-finance the construction of new blocs in Czech nuclear power plants. This approach is already followed by the Westinghouse in Bulgaria where it will provide all equipment project and engineering works and nuclear fuel. In exchange it will own 30 % of the newly created company for the construction of the power plant. Another similar projects is in the United Kingdom where Toshiba majority owner of Westinghouse will get 60 % in NuGeneration Ltd. That is constructing three new Westinghouse nuclear power plants in the country. Ministries of Finance and of Industry and Commerce have been already informed about this proposal. However, all is now dependent on the outcomes of government ruling that is to create Complex plan for the development of nuclear energetics that is to be presented at the end of this year.

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Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic Could Transform Itself to State Company

12 October 2014

According to the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic could transform from contributory organization to state company. This would according to Bohuslav Sobotka help the state to control the quality of construction of motorways. This change would also be beneficiary in respect to employees’ conditions as their salary could raise and it could help in attracting much needed professional designers that would be able to control the projects in a more effective way. Prime Minister Sobotka also clearly stated that he wanted Minister of Transportation Antonín Prachař to solve the issue of missing director of the Directorate. Prime Minister also wants the Minister of Transportation to speed up the construction of transportation infrastructure and to stabilize the personell situation of ČD management by the end of this year. In the reaction to latest events Bohuslav Sobotka also said that the government coalition would refuse the draft of program of the upcoming extraordinary meeting of the Chamber of Deputies concerning public procurement in transportation.

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President Miloš Zeman Signed the Novel of Copyright Act

09 October 2014

On Wednesday 8th October President Miloš Zeman signed the novel of Copyright Act. The novel of this act presents the prolongation of the protection period for the copyright form 50 years to 70 years thus enabling authors to benefit from their works created in their youth in the beginnings of their artistic work. It also regulates the copyright period for the text-based works intended for common use such as pop songs, operas or musicals. The copyright in these cases would not end earlier than 70 years from the death of the author that died later. By this act also the protection of such works that are already unprotected will be reinstated. This means for example songs of Voskovec and Werich where the protection will expire in 2050. Regardning hotel owner corresponding provisions are also included that enable the owners to apply for discount on fees according to the utilization of beds. The act also regulates so called orphan works where the beneficiary would be public benefit institution that could digitalize them and make them accessible via internet.

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Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka Inaugurated new Minister of Regional Development

08 October 2014

On Wednesday 8th October new Minister of Regional Development Karla Šlechtová was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Minister Šlechtová assumed its post after Věra Jourová who was nominated as the new Czech commissioner to the European Commision. Earlier that day Karla Šlechtová received her appointment to the post from the hands of President Miloš Zeman. Minister Šlechtová’s previous involvement both at the Ministry and at the Office of the Government was in the area of the structural fundsand in creation of programming documents for the period of 2014-2020. Aside from assuring the flow of European money to the Czech Republic her other strategic tasks are in reviving the construction sector and fight against social exclusion and in assuring money for these programs.

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Comparison of Quality of Life in Regional Cities

06 October 2014

On Monday 6th October journal Aktuálně.cz presented its analysis on the quality of life in the regional cities according to the Czech Statistical Office data. The analysis and subsequent comparison is based on use of 15 factor comparison for each city. The maximum overall score was 13 points and Hradec Králové that ranked first as the most desirable city got 8.7 points. The assessed factors were various ranging from the quality of air based on the flying dust particles to life expectancy or unemployment rate. Hradec Králové scored especially in the life expectancy, high employment rate of women with low criminality (compared to Prague with high employment rate and high criminality). Second ranked Jihlava with very little space used for construction and very clean environment. Prague on the contrary ranked 9th. Also Pardubice ranked relatively high with their good transportation accessibility and commuting possibility. Despite the rapid improvement of living conditions in Ostrava in past ten years it still ended on the last place.

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Czech Airlines Facing Crisis

05 October 2014

Already for 8 years the Czech Airlines are on the verge of bankruptcy. Its incomes from the flight tickets are annually 2 bn less than the actual flying costs. Last year introduction of new strategic investor Korean Air proved to be insufficient as all the plans were based at least on levelled or slightly profitable budget. Czech Airlines were additionally struck by the lesser volume of Russian passengers caused by the present Ukraine crisis. As a reaction to the grave situation and the strike alert caused by the plan to reduce the number of employees by one third Minister of Finance ordered the ČSA management to communicate more with the airline employees and unions who don’t like the attitude of Korean Air. Present chairman of the Board of Czech Aeroholding Václav Řehoř is blaming past management for the present situation of Czech Airlines when they have only 17 airplanes and have the ambition to be regional transport company only with the annual loss 922 million CZK last year.

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Czech Investments and Czech Trade Possibilities in Macedonia

02 October 2014

During the official visit of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to the Czech Republic the seminar on investment and trade possibilities of Czech entrepreneurs in Macedonia (FYROM) was held. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Minister of Industry and Commerce Jan Mládek also attended the seminar. Macedonia was presented there as a 2million country with the interest in investment opportunities mainly in automotive industry, new technologies, medical and pharmaceutical industry, agricultural and food sector and of energetics and construction industry. The seminar was aimed at deepening mutual cooperation with the 20 fold increase in turnover of mutual trade in past 10 years and with still large unused potential with  250 000 turnover of trade in the previous year.

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