Exports rose to record levels in 2013, largely thanks to a surge in the second half of the year. But some surprising countries feature in the list of biggest sales increases and Czech exporters appear to have had mixed success in expanding markets in countries targeted as top priority by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The Czech Republic has signalled it will take steps to sign up to tough rules on public deficits and overall state debt designed with the main aim of forcing euro zone government to get their public finances in order. For prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka the move is a low cost, symbolic, step which will mainly shackle the next government rather than this one.
One of the country’s frequently stated assets in attracting foreign investment has been its skilled and relatively cheap work force. However the outcome of a study by consultants Engage Hill suggests that the drawn out economic crisis has had a negative impact on Czechs’ work ethics and the country may be heading for trouble.
With unemployment having reached an all-time high in January the authorities are looking for ways to create new jobs in the worst-affected regions. One of the projects in the pipeline, discussed at a conference in the Senate this week, are state-supported personal and household services which have played an integral role in the recovery of the employment market in many other EU member states.
Scandal rather than success and savings appear to be the words most frequently linked to Czech attempts to employ information and communications technology advances in the public sector. An appeal by the significant Czech sector to give ICT a real chance by putting the right people and coordination in place looks like falling on deaf ears.