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Government moves to ease conditions for foreign workers

The Cabinet has approved an amendment to the foreigners’ law which would enable foreign nationals to work in the country for a longer period before needing to extend their visas. Under the amendment the current 90 day period would be extended to 6 months, and in the event of a significant investment project even 2 years. The move comes in the wake of criticism regarding the number of bureaucratic hurdles foreigners working in the country face. The proposed amendment will now go to the lower house for debate.

EU Commission approves support scheme for Czech renewables

The European Commission has approved a support scheme for installations producing renewable energy built in the Czech Republic between 2006 and 2012. The Commission concluded the measure would further EU energy and climate goals without unduly distorting competition. The scheme will have a total budget of 836.5 billion crowns over its lifetime (around €30.95 billion).

Social Democrats against proposed changes to EET law

The Social Democrats are unlikely to support Finance Minister Andrej Babis in pushing through last-minute changes to the law on electronic cash registers, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists on Monday. Following a stormy cabinet session at which the issue was debated, the prime minister said the proposal to exempt e-shops and small entrepreneurs from the duty to have electronic cash registers would only weaken the legislation and lay it open to criticism from the opposition benches. The proposal sparked fierce controversy between Prime Minister Sobotka and ANO leader Andrej Babiš. The prime minister accused Mr. Babiš of damaging the reputation of the ruling coalition while Mr. Babiš said the Social Democrats had politicized the issue. The opposition centre-right parties say this is further proof that the law is ill-conceived and have called on the government to scrap the entire project.

Czech Republic to increase contributions to European Cosmic Agency

The Czech Republic will gradually increase its annual contributions to the European Cosmic Agency ESA, the ctk news agency reported Monday. The government on Monday voted to increase next year’s contribution to 830 million crowns, up from 527 last year, and wants to sustain the trend in the future. According to Transport Minister Dan Tok the country’s higher contributions towards research, particularly in the field of satellite technologies, should help the Czech Republic discard the reputation of being a mere “assembly plant” in Europe.

Škoda Octavia to be assembled in Algeria

German Volkswagen Group has signed a deal with its Algerian sales partner Sovac for the construction of a vehicle assembly plant in the country, the company informed on its website. The plant, situated in the north east of the country is set to produce around 100 vehicles a day, including the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Ibiza and Škoda Octavia models. According to Škoda Auto, Octavia will be the company’s first model to be produced in Africa. Most of the cars are expected to be sold in Algeria, which is currently the brand's biggest market on the continent.

Graphic designer Jan Rajlich dies at 96

Leading Czech graphic designer Jan Rajlich, founder of Bienniale Brno, has died at the age of 96. Rajlich devoted himself mainly to applied and graphic design. He was a pioneer of the coordinated visual style and a world-recognised posters creator. The designer received many domestic as well as foreign awards in recognition of his work. He attended the opening of his last exhibition in Zlin chateau just a fortnight ago.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should bring clear skies and day temperatures between -1 and 2 degrees Celsius. Night time lows may drop to –7 degrees in places. Drivers have been warned about icy roads and snow in the mountain regions.