Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

21-06-2003

Government seeks further budget cuts

The government is meeting on Sunday to discuss further details of a planned fiscal reform aimed at reducing the widening public finance deficit. This Sunday, the cabinet will seek ways to reduce budget expenditures by another 20 billion crowns. The proposed reform will include sweeping changes in the social and pension systems, tax adjustments as well as changes in state administration, including a reduction of the number of civil servants by 30 thousand within the next three years.

Fitch upgrades Czech Republic's rating to A-

The Czech Republic's long-term foreign currency rating was raised by Fitch Ratings to A- from BBB+. Fitch said the upgrade reflects continuing structural reforms, partly driven by accession to the European Union in 2004. The upward revision made the Czech Republic the second highest rated country among former communist states seeking European Union membership, on a par with Hungary and Estonia. Only Slovenia among EU candidates from central and Eastern Europe is rated higher by Fitch, at A+. The upgrade brings Fitch's rating into line with Standard&Poor's, though Moody's still rates the credit higher at A1.

President Klaus defends the right of small European nations to own opinion

Czech president Vaclav Klaus has advocated the right of small European nations to defend their own interests. Speaking at the World Forum, organised by the American Enterprise Institute, in Beaver Creek, Colorado, Mr Klaus also rejected a recently inflated idea of dividing Europe into "old" and "new", alluding to US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld's statements before the war in Iraq. The Czech president also called for close Euro-Atlantic cooperation and warned against what is called an old European anti-Americanism, a phenomenon that has emerged after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Screening law abolition to test stability of government

The Czech ruling coalition is to undergo an integrity test next week as the parliament will vote on a Communist proposal to abolish the so-called screening law. The law, in force since the early 1990's, prohibits officials of the former totalitarian Communist Party of Czechoslovakia members from holding senior posts in the state administration. While some MPs for the ruling Social Democratic party are willing to make concessions to the Communists, the two junior coalition partners oppose the idea of abolishing the screening law and warn that the Social Democrats' support to the Communist proposal could be fatal for the fragile coalition government.

Volleyball: Czechs proceed to World League finals

Czech men's volleyball team has qualified to the finals of the World League. On Saturday, they beat Greece 3:1, securing a top position in group D. The final tournament is to take place in the second week of July in Madrid

Weather forecast

We are expecting a partially cloudy day, the highest daytime temperatures should range from 22 to 25 degrees Celsius, and up to 27 degrees in the Southern parts of the country.

21-06-2003