Labour inspectors last year uncovered almost 4,600 people working illegally
in the Czech Republic. This was considerably higher than the figure for
2017, an official said on Wednesday. Employers were fined a total of over
CZK 151 million for hiring undocumented workers last year.
Some 80 percent of those caught working illegally in 2018 were from outside the European Union. Of those from inside the EU, the majority were Czech citizens, with the others mainly coming from Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.
The taxation of financial compensation paid to churches in lieu of
properties not returned in restitution could have dire consequences for
faith groups, religious leaders have said. In a statement on Wednesday, the
chairs of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, the Ecumenical Council of
Churches and the Federation of Jewish Communities said the move could cause
churches serious financial problems or even result in their demise.
The church leaders said the bill mandating such taxation was immoral and unconstitutional.
MPs on Tuesday overrode a Senate veto on the legislation. A tax on compensation was a condition of the Communists for supporting a minority cabinet of ANO and the Social Democrats.
Rescue workers have removed the body of a miner who died in an explosion at
a mine in Karviná in the Moravian-Silesian Region in December. The remains
of four others are expected to be exhumed by the end of the month, a
spokesperson for the district state prosecutor’s office said.
Thirteen miners were killed when a methane explosion took place 800 metres below the ground at the ČSM-Sever mine. Most of the victims were Polish.
A government bill on electronic communications aimed at reducing the cost
of mobile data in the Czech Republic has been approved by the lower house
in a first reading. Among other things the legislation would allow
customers to give only two days’ notice if they wish to end a contract
with an operator.
The minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, said the amendment should boost competition on the Czech market.
The issue of mobile data prices made the headlines after a gaff from the outgoing minister of industry and trade, Marta Nováková. She implied Czech consumers were responsible for the relative high cost of data in this country as they didn’t use the service enough.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, sets off on a working visit to China on
Wednesday. He is due to hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping as
well as leading representatives of Huawei, Bank of China and CITIC. The
Czech authorities have identified Huawei products as a security threat but
Mr. Zeman says there is no proof of that. His delegation includes Czech
stars Jaromír Jágr and Pavel Nedvěd, who should cement closer sporting
ties with China, and the financier Pavel Tykač.
The Czech head of state has put great store in improving ties with the world’s most populous state and this is his sixth visit to the country since taking office.
A heightened police presence is planned for central Prague on Thursday,
with anti-European Union politicians due to speak at a gathering held by
the Czech party Freedom and Direct Democracy. France’s Marie Le Pen and
Geert Wilders from the Netherlands will speak at a protest on Wenceslas
Square against what organisers call the dictate of the EU. Italy’s Matteo
Salvini will send a video greeting.
Opponents of the anti-EU meeting are due to hold counter-protests nearby. One has been dubbed the Noise Olympics and attendees plan to use various objects to cause a commotion.
Car production in the Czech Republic fell by 3.8 percent year-on-year to
363,052 vehicles in the first quarter of 2019, the Automotive Industry
Association said on Wednesday.
The drop was led by Škoda Auto, the Czech Republic’s largest exporter, whose production fell by 3 percent in annual terms. The carmaker said earlier that its sales in January-March fell mainly due to lower demand on the Chinese market.
Two other smaller carmakers noted a rise in output. TPCA, a joint venture of Toyota, Peugeot and Citroën, increased production by almost 5 percent to 58,772 units in Q1, while Hyundai’s production fell by 12 percent to 73,000 cars.
Overall confidence in the Czech economy rose slightly in April to 97.1
points from 97 points the previous month, the lowest rating in two years,
Czech Statistical Office data published on Wednesday show.
Entrepreneur confidence increased month to month by 0.3 points to 95.8 points while consumer confidence dropped by 0.8 points to 103.8 points. All three indicators are lower than they were a year ago.
The April survey taken among consumers indicates consumers are more afraid of a drop in the overall economic situation and rising prices than about their own financial standing worsening.
MPs have overruled a Senate veto and voted 114-57 in favour of a Communist
proposal to tax financial compensation awarded to churches in lieu of
property that could not be returned in restitution.
The Senate had argued the proposal was both unconstitutional and unjust – in effect, 16 Czech churches and a Jewish federation will be taxed on money paid in compensation for properties seized by the former regime.
The Communists have conditioned their tolerance of the ANO–Social Democrat minority government in part on the controversial proposal passing.