Czech Republic

ČSSD weekend party congress

16 March 2015

ČSSD party members met during the annual conference in Ostrava on 13th and 14th of March to pass a resolution stipulating concrete requirements for the Czech Republic: clearer legal definition of confict of interest, tighter rules for party financing and election campaigns as well as precise media legislation. All these measurements need to be adopted, according to ČSSD, to ensure more democratic state. Bohuslav Sobotka has been re-elected as the Chairman of the party with 85% of votes from the delegates. Milan Chovanec has been elected as the First Vice Chairman. Prague candidates have got a strong representation in the top leadership of the party which however seems to be a problem for the regional Mayors. Yet, the Prime Minister and Chairman of the party has commented that ČSSD cohesive and stable management is considered to be a good news for the stability of the government.

For more information click here, here and here. For coverage in English click here.

Robert Pelikan and new insolvency law - ambitious task going forward

06 March 2015

New Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán proclaims that new strategy towards insolvency proceedings is the priority task in his sector. “The major weakness of the law is in the people who are involved”, he mentions. He pledges that the Ministry of Justice will make considerable efforts to improve the cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Police and Public prosecutors´ office and create a new team that would be able to effectively identify crime in this area and find evidence on people who continue to make a living out of frauds.

Solving insolvency proceedings is a complicated issue that requires specific knowledge of commercial law and business affairs that the police and inexperienced prosecutors do not always possess. It is alarming that there are problems on so many levels, which the new ambitious minister however promises to deal with. For example, insolvency administrators are establishing new fictitious offices to get more cases and more remuneration; companies are filing bullying petitions to harm their competitors and exclude them from bidding for a public contracts; firms are changing their addresses on purpose just before the petition is filed; or certain companies go to a particular court where they have “good contacts”.

Read more about the issue of insolvency and Robert Pelikán click here and here

List of fraudulent Chinese companies was created

27 February 2015

As a reaction on the current state of affairs when more than 50 small and medium Czech companies fell victim to fraudulent Chinese companies the Association of Entrepreneurs published the list of these companies and handed over this list to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in order for the investigation to be started. These Chinese fraudulent companies often promise the opportunity of entering Chinese market, communicate on very professional level or even invite Czech entrepreneurs to travel to China and then demand payments in advance for materials, for bribes, for registration. Once the money is transferred they either send the products in lower quality than promised and stop all communication or simply stop communicating at all in the first place. Another bad practices are sending fake e‑mails from domains very similar to those of established companies or offer to sell the Chinese .ch domain for exaggerated prices.

For the list click here.

For more click here, here, here and here.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Minister of Transportation Dan Ťok visited South Korea

27 February 2015

On 23rd-27th February Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka accompanied by Minister of Transportation Dan Ťok in accordance with government priorities of acquisition of investments and securing new jobs visited South Korea. There PM Bohulsav Sobotka met with Korean President Park Geun-hye and discussed mutual cooperation. As a result four important memoranda were signed. First one was Joint Declaration on the strategic partnership between the Czech Republic and the Republic of Korea outlining specific areas for further cooperation and promoting the relationship of both countries to the level of strategic partnership. Other memoranda were Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of regular political consultations, Memorandum of Understanding and on cooperation in railway transport between the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea. These latter one was signed by Minister Dan Ťok. And Eventually also the Memorandum of Cooperation between Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic and Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Korea. As a result future cooperation in transportation, for example in constructing rail to Prague airport, in nuclear energy, in construction of new blocs in Temelín when the competition is resumed, or cooperation in joint defense programs is possible and Czech companies could benefit from this cooperation. Also the CzechInvest agency opened its mission in South Korea and some contracts, for example in the value of 120 million CZK for the porcelain manufacturer in Dubí, were already negotiated.

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

According to the court the Czech Republic unlawfully taxed emission permits

26 February 2015

According to the ruling of Court of Justice of the European Union the donation tax of 32 % on emission permits issued in between 2011 and 2012 was not in accordance with the European Law if more than 10 % permits were affected. According to the EU Directive the donation of emission permits in 2008-2012 should have been free and could only be paid for if the amount didn’t exceed the 10 % limit of permits. Last year ČEZ and Alpiq requested the tax reimbursement and company Ško-Energo addressed the court. The case finally got to the CoJ of the EU which ruled that the tax wasn’t in accordance with the European law. Using the above mentioned donation tax of 32 % the Czech Republic raised in 2011 4.8 bn CZK and in 2012 2.7 bn CZK that partly covered the program of support of the renewable resources. Now the Czech Republic will be forced to reimburse at least part of this money to the affected parties.

For more click here and here.

Government approved the so called “financial constitution”

23 February 2015

On its meeting on Monday 23rd February the government approved the act on fiscal responsibility, so called “financial constitution.” This act is originally drafted as the implementation of EU restrictions towards indebting of the member but in the Czech regulation it is extended and also includes the regulation of regions and municipalities. The key ratio is 55 % where the public debt in relation to GDP could not be higher than that otherwise the government would be forced to function on the basis of budgetary provisory and to cut the wages of state officials such as deputies, senators, judges etc. For the municipalities the ratio is less strict and is set to 60 %. In order for this act to be approved the government coalition needs to negotiate the constitutional majority within the Chamber of Deputies. These additional votes could be obtained from the deputies of Úsvit Movement that recently split themselves from their formal leader Tomio Okamura.

For more click here, here, here and here.

Institute for Nuclear Research began new promising project

22 February 2015

According to the press conference held on Monday 16th February the Institute for Nuclear Research in Řež began in December 2014 new promising research of properties of fluoride salts that could become the coolant for the IV. generation of nuclear reactors because of their excellent properties. This research was made possible thanks also to the Agreement on cooperation signed between the Czech Minister of Industry and Commerce and US Minister of Energy. Also the material for this experiment in the form of container of pure fluoride salt was provided by the USA. Last week the Institute also presented results of its study of small modular reactors with the output of maximum 300 MW that could power cities and smaller regions instead of classical gas or coal power plants. Core supporters of this technology claim that it could be used already in the next decade. This study was done in cooperation of Institute of Nuclear Research in Řež and Nuclear and Engineering Faculty of ČVUT.

For more click here and here.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Jan Mládek went to Ukraine

19 February 2015

On 16th and 17th February the Minister of Industry and Commerce Jan Mládek went to Ukraine on a business trip. Before the the trip Ministe Jan Mládek stated that his goal there would be to look for the opportunities on how to engage Czech firms in the process of reconstruction of Ukrainian economy. Once there Minister Mládek met with Ukrainian ministers of economic development and business, of infrastructure and of energy. Jan Mládek also spoke with PM aide for the stabilization of export Valeriy Piatnicky , deputy of Ukrainian Parliament Oksana Prodan and President of Ukrainian Confederation of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Anatoliy Kynach. Among the key discussed topic were energy and energy security in terms of transit of oil, start of the Free Trade Zone with the EU that is scheduled to 1st January 2016. As for the proclaimed goal of this bussines trip the Czech Minister discussed it with his Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure. They discussed the involvement of Czech companies in infrastructure projects and possible Ukrainian governmental guarantees accompanied with insurance of project from Czech Export Bank or EGAP.

For more click here and here.

President’s influence on CNB and on CZK exchange rate

19 February 2015

During his visit of Region of Hradec Králové on Wendnesday 18th February President Miloš Zeman further criticised Czech National Bank’s decision to intervene to keep CZK under the exchange rate of 27 CZK to EUR. Further adding to this matter President Miloš Zeman said that with his power to appoint members of the Czech National Bank Board of Governors he would appoint only those bankers that would be in favour of Czech accession to European Single Currency. In reaction to this statement CZK appreciated in the following hours and days up to the value of 27.20 CZK for 1 EUR. This triggered the speculation whether CNB would hae to intervene again in order to keep CZK under the limit of 27 CZK. UniCredit economist Pavel Sobíšek commented President’s statement as having various potentially unwanted side effects including the rapid appreciation of CZK or potential change of behaviour of some potential candidates for the 4 seats of CNB Board that remain to be changed during current president’s electoral period to be more to his liking.

For click here and here.

Czech state to cooperate more with the private sector on cybersecurity

16 February 2015

On its meeting on Monday 16th February the government approved the National Strategy for Cybersecurity for the years 2015-2020. Among the priorities aside form already mentioned protection of critical national infrastructure and information systems belongs the pursuit of active cooperation with the private sector and the support of education and of the information society. The document itself belong to the series of security of measures documents including Security strategy, steps leading to vesting greater powers to intelligence agencies. It is also forms the basis for the creation of additional directives and recommendations.

For more click here and here.

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