The drawn-out Czech-Polish dispute over the quality of food imports this week reached a new level after Polish officials accused the Czech authorities and media of waging a campaign aimed at hurting Polish food sales in the country. Czech officials, meanwhile, complain about poor quality of some Polish foodstuffs, and say inspections prove they fail to meet set standards much more often that Czech products.
Details of Prague’s first luxury goods trade fair for the super rich have been revealed. The Billionaire Fair will be held at the city’s Žofín Palace on the last weekend of September and will feature 50 selected high-end retailers, the organisers said on Tuesday. Interested parties will have to register online and will be vetted as to whether they merit an invitation to the event, for which the most expensive tickets will cost CZK 25,000.
Poland says growing criticism regarding the quality of Polish food imports to the Czech Republic stems from competition on the market. In a statement for the media the Polish Embassy in Prague said on Monday that Polish food inspections were conducted fully in adherence with European standards and accused the Czech side of orchestrating a smear campaign against Polish goods with the intention of increasing the share of Czech food products on the home market. The embassy said this tactic could backfire since the two countries were often seen as one region and one market. The quality of Polish food imports is expected to dominate the agenda of this week’s Czech-Polish business forum.
A new service was launched in Prague on Thursday to improve deliveries of parcels and goods purchased on-line. The project, entitled “The Magic Cupboard”, allows people to pick up their parcels in deposit boxes located in 15 shopping malls in Prague. The service should be faster and cheaper than the delivery provided by Czech Post, according to the authors who said that around 100 pick-up locations would be available around the country by the end of the year.
The car manufacturer Škoda Auto has seen another year of record sales and growing revenues. In 2012, the German-owned, Czech based car producer sold nearly 940,000 cars world wide, mainly thanks to its expansion in China, Russia, and India. And the manufacturer hopes to set a new sales record this year, despite an expected slowdown in the first six months. I spoke to analyst Jiří Šimara from the Brno-based brokerage firm Cyrrus about Škoda’s performance in 2012.
The shadow finance minister, Jan Mládek, apologized for his statement made at the Social Democratic Party Congress on Saturday, in which he characterized self-employed owners of small businesses as parasites who exploit their employees and fail to contribute to the social security system. In a press release, Mr Mládek said that his statement was misinterpreted and that the government, not the entrepreneurs, is the parasite that is ineffective in collecting taxes. Earlier, the chairman of the opposition Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, distanced himself from the statement of his colleague, following criticism from Prime Minister Petr Nečas.
In Business News this week: Korean Airlines are to acquire a 44 percent stake in ČSA; Česká Spořitelna planning lay-offs despite high profits; despite efforts to find new markets, the Czech economy remains heavily dependent on export to EU states and two Prague restaurants hold onto their Michelin stars.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic hit a record high at the start of the year. January saw close to 590,000 people out of work, the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression in the 1930s. The government says this is largely the result of external factors, but critics and trade unions claim the government’s ill-conceived austerity measures have undercut growth.
A court in Nový Jičín has declared bankruptcy proceedings against the heavily indebted Tatra truck company. According to the CTK news agency the company is to be sold at a bankruptcy auction in mid-March. Its price has reportedly been set at 300 million crowns. Tatra was established in 1850 for the production of carriages. In 1897 the company produced its first car named the President.
Doctors have issued public warnings regarding the danger of buying medicines over the Internet. According to Czech Public Television some people are now using internet sites to acquire antibiotics, anti-depressants and even hormone therapy which are otherwise only available on prescription. Doctors warn that self-treatment with these medicines may be life-threatening. Many do not contain the substance stated on the packaging and some are past their expiry date.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”