Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš faces a serious conflict of interest which could put strain on the Czech Republic’s cooperation with the EU, according to German MEP Ingeborg Grässle. The Christian Democrat European deputy, who is in Prague to review the Czech Republic’s use of EU funds, has also called on Czech lawmakers to investigate rampant abuse of EU money.
Porcelain is one of the country’s traditional export articles and the famous Bohemia blue-onion tableware, produced in Dubí ever since 1885 has found its way to 90 countries the world over. Like most Czech producers the Czech porcelain joint stock company in Dubí felt the crunch of the global economic crisis, hitting a low point in 2010, but now it appears to be over the worst and is once again showing a healthy profit.
Czech police, the special task force for uncovering financial crime, customs police, and the finance ministry’s experts tracking criminal funds have given details how a two year probe has broken up a sophisticated multinational gang which shipped in and sold hundreds of millions of untaxed motor fuel with the state losing out on billions of crowns as a result.
The domestic bus manufacturer Iveco Czech Republic, based in Výsoké Mýto, has a good reason to be satisfied, revealing this week the firm boosted sales by 20, percent last year to 13.35 billion crowns, with profits increasing by almost 10 percent to 1.04 billion. The news was confirmed by the firm’s director, Pavel Pachovský, this week.
Overshadowed by the events in Ukraine, European heads of government are nonetheless meeting in Brussels with a view to hammering out an energy and climate change policy until 2030. A head on collision between countries backing an ambitious deal on several fronts and those, like the Czech Republic, calling for a more cautious and simplified approach looks like making any deal impossible.
Plans for US-based e-commerce giant Amazon to build a second distribution centre on the outskirts of the Czech Republic’s second city, Brno, appear to have been thwarted. Other Czech sites are also being offered while Slovakia is also trying to land the investment and the estimated 2000 jobs going with it.
Fragile Czech growth could be wiped out if the Ukraine crisis take a worse turn and sterner sanctions are imposed by the European Union, including the Czech Republic, and Russia retaliates. Exports of Czech machinery and engineering equipment could be threatened and Russian tourists could head elsewhere.
In spite of paying lip service to the principle of equality, the Czech Republic has seen an increasing trend in recent years towards the rich getting richer at the expense of the rest. Tax systems have got more regressive with the scope for distributive spending reduced amid fiscal constraints. Now even the IMF is warning that increased inequality is not a good recipe for growth.
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