Leaders of the European Union are set to begin a two-day meeting in Brussels aimed at agreeing a strategy for tackling the global economic crisis. The meeting’s being chaired by Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek in his capacity as president of the European Council, and the Czech Republic is under a lot of pressure to provide leadership at a time when the EU is suffering from falling production and rising unemployment.
The power giant ČEZ will charge households and firms at least 6 percent less for electricity in 2010, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. That would represent the biggest drop in 20 years. However, ČEZ could reduce prices by up to 13 percent, if wholesale energy prices continue to fall, the newspaper said. The company is set to launch an advertising campaign entitled ČEZ against the Crisis and For Helping the Czech Economy.
The dispute between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas couldn’t have been more timely for the Czech EU Presidency, which has made energy security one of its three priorities for its six months in charge of the European Union. The Czech Republic is holding a number of conferences on energy security, one of which – on the electricity market – took place last week in Ostrava. On the fringes of the conference we caught up with the Czech Republic’s ambassador at large for energy Václav Bartuška, and asked him why the Czechs had chosen energy.
The Czech city of Ostrava is hosting a two-day conference on how to improve the security of Europe's energy supplies, an issue that's been pushed to the foreground by the recent gas-crisis. The Czech Republic currently holds the revolving presidency of the EU, and energy security is one of the country’s priorities for the next six months. This EU conference focuses mainly on electricity, but it's all interlinked - for a start, more and more European countries are using gas-fired power stations to create electricity, so when the gas is cut off,
Czech Trade and Industry Minister Martin Říman has said that in light of the current European gas crisis, the Czech Republic should be moving towards increased reliance upon nuclear power. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr Říman said that Czechs should no longer be looking to build new power stations which operated on gas. He also said that widening the possible ways to import foreign gas into the country must now become a priority. The Czech Republic currently imports around 80 percent of its gas from Russia, with the rest coming from Norway. Around a third of Czechs’ electricity currently comes from nuclear power plants, it is thought that the government wants to raise this to around 50 percent by 2030.
An agreement brokered by the Czech prime minister on the resumption of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe appears to be back on track, after an unexpected snag on Sunday night brought further delays. The worst-ever gas crisis in Europe’s history, which has left thousands struggling to keep warm, has given fresh urgency to plans aimed at increasing the continent’s energy security.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, on Sunday refused to denounce Slovakia's decision to relaunch an ageing Soviet-era nuclear reactor saying that he saw it as a decision made in an emergency, when the country was threatened by a looming blackout. The Czech prime minister said that the gravity of the crisis showed how badly Europe needed mechanisms to ensure energy security, stressing that it was one of the Czech presidency's top priorities.