The Chamber of Deputies is expected to vote on ratifying the European Union’s Lisbon treaty on Tuesday evening. The Czech News Agency reported that most of the parties in the lower house were in favour of holding a vote, after a debate on the matter was postponed twice, once in December and once two weeks ago. It is expected some euro-sceptic MPs from the ruling Civic Democrats will not vote in favour, along with the Communists, who are pushing for a referendum. The Senate is due to vote on Lisbon ratification in April.
Even if both houses of Parliament back the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, the Czech president, Václav Klaus, has indicated he will not sign the document unless it is approved by Ireland; Irish voters rejected Lisbon in a referendum last June and are due to vote on it again this year.
Prague’s High Court has ordered Miroslav Macek to pay David Rath CZK 100,000 in damages for slapping Mr Rath on the back of the head on stage at a medical conference in 2006. Mr Macek, a former Civic Democrat politician, had previously been ordered to publicly apologise to Mr Rath, a Social Democrat MP and the governor of Central Bohemia. Tuesday’s verdict cannot be appealed. The incident, which was followed by a short scuffle, was seen on video by many people around the world; it was the culmination of a spat between the two that started when Mr Rath publicly accused Mr Macek of marrying for money.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has described the government’s new fiscal stimulus package as rational and adequate. However, in a statement conveyed by a spokesperson, the president said no rescue package could protect the Czech Republic from the impacts of a global recession. Mr Klaus, an economist by profession, said the plan was strong on the supply side of the economy and did not threaten the stability of the public finances. He said it would be good if further measures were added, including de-regulation in the business sector.
The government approved the stimulus package on Monday. It must now go before the Chamber of Deputies, where the coalition does not enjoy a secure majority.
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.
IPS Alpha Technology Europe, which produces flat-screen LCD monitors, is laying off 400 of the 1,550 employees at its plant in Louny, central Bohemia, an official from the town’s labour office said on Tuesday. The redundancies are due to the effects of the global financial crisis.
Temperatures should reach a maximum of -2 degrees Celsius over the next few days. Forecasters say we can expect sunny spells with some snow.