The government unveiled its PR campaign for the forthcoming Czech presidency of the European Union on Thursday, featuring a host of Czech celebrities and…a sugar cube. Prime minister Mirek Topolánek says the campaign – featuring the slogan “we’ll make life sweeter for Europe” – aims to make Czechs realise the significance of the six-month presidency. But eyebrows are being raised at the campaign’s rather ambiguous choice of words.
The first half of 2008 has seen a sharp fall in foreign investment into the Czech Republic, according to Czech Invest, the government agency which promotes this cause. According to Czech Invest, the country received 124 investments in the period between January and June totalling around 20 billion crowns. This figure is 29 billion crowns lower than in the same period in 2007 and represents a serious decline and challenge for the Czech Republic. Other seismic shifts have also been evident – last year 98 percent of investments were in manufacturing projects, this year’s figures indicate that 65 percent of investments are in research, development and services. The change in investment dynamics has been explained as a shift from large-scale projects to smaller more targeted projects and is viewed as somewhat positive in the sense that the Czech Republic appears to be moving towards its desired goal of becoming a so-called knowledge-based economy rather than a manufacturing base.
It isn’t an unusual practice: a well-known sports celebrity sets up a line of sports clothing. From a marketing perspective, the idea seems perfect: capitalize on the name-recognition of said sportsperson and either open a bar, sports-shop or even set up a line of clothing. Dominik Hašek, former ice-hockey legendary goalkeeper did the latter. But now it seems that his business venture has hit some bumps in the road. DJ reports:
In Business News this week: the Czech National Bank lowers the key interest rate by one-quarter percentage point to 3.5%; some large exporters are considering pegging employees’ bonuses to the euro; the Prague Stock Exchange goes on sale; prices of consumer electronics in the Czech Republic were second lowest in the EU in 2007; and with the Czech market becoming saturated, shopping centre developers are looking east.
The Czech Republic posted a foreign trade surplus of 13.9 billion crowns in June, according to preliminary data released by the Czech Statistical Office. The figure is 5.8 billion higher than in the same month in 2007. Exports grew by 1.7 percent while imports fell by 1 percent. The surplus has been attributed mainly to increased exports of machinery and transport equipment. Analysts expected the figure to be much lower due the strengthening Czech crown.
It might be the time of year for writing and sending postcards, but the Czech postal service is inundated with mail of another kind. The number of parcels arriving in the Czech Republic from the United States has shot up dramatically, with Czechs taking advantage of internet shopping and the strength of the crown.
Czech drivers have a reputation of being aggressive, speeding and taking unnecessary risks. As a result, the country has one of the worst accident rates in Europe with around 1,200 people killed on the roads each year. A tough new points system intended to improve road safety introduced two years ago had only a temporary effect, and the number of fatalities soon returned to previous levels. The Transport Ministry is now trying a different tack – it wants to shock drivers into exercising greater caution, commissioning a series of TV spots with realistic
In the course of the last 12 months the Czech crown has strengthened by a staggering 22 percent, becoming the fastest appreciating currency in the world. While exporters warn that the super-strong crown will inevitably slow down economic growth, the government sees no threat in the current exchange rate.
In this week’s Business News, the planned US radar base in the Czech Republic will apparently use Czech power and be built with the help of Czech companies; new statistics from the Czech Labour Ministry reveal that a record number of foreigners came to work in the Czech Republic; Koh-i-Noor Hardmuth, a pencil and stationary company in the Czech Republic has announced plans to close down its České Budějovice production plant after 160 years; a leading Czech consumer advocacy group called SOS has warned shoppers to be wary of a misleading practice
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague