Licence fees for public broadcasters Czech TV and Czech Radio have always been the subject of heated debate in Parliament, especially in 1997, the last time that fees were raised. For the last eight years every Czech household has paid the equivalent of 54 US dollars per year to Czech Radio and TV. Now, that appears set to change: on Wednesday lawmakers agreed to dramatically raise Czech TV's licence fees to almost double over the next three years (while Czech Radio gets a slight increase).
In China on Tuesday the Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, discussed future trade possibilities with his Chinese counterpart that included not only opportunities for well-known Czech firms, but also opportunities for Chinese companies here - in the Czech Republic. Mr Paroubek made clear he would like to see the Czech Republic become a gateway for Chinese businesses and investment within the EU.
The Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek is on his longest foreign trip since taking office two months ago. After visiting Japan last week where he met top officials including the Japanese Emperor Akihito, he moved on to China on Saturday where his talks focused mostly on Czech-Chinese trade relations. At the last minute a meeting was also set up with the Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The Czech Republic's foreign trade balance showed a surplus of 5.1 billion crowns /168.8 million euros/ in April, showing the largest year-on-year growth in its 12 year history. Year on year the surplus grew by 16 billion crowns, from a 10.9 billion deficit in April 2004, the Czech Statistical Office said. The main reasons were an improved balance in trade in machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and related products and manufactured goods classified mainly by material.
Now it's not just to enjoy Prague's Renaissance and Baroque glories that millions of tourists flock to the Czech capital every year. Of course, many also come for the beer, but some are more interested in Baroque contours of a rather different kind. You don't have to go far before you encounter offers of erotic services to cater for every taste imaginable. The City Hall has now had enough, and decided to sweep away all these very public invitations to indulge the pleasures of the flesh from the city's streets.
The International Monetary Fund's senior official in Prague says the Czech economy will not be able to sustain its current high growth unless key reforms are made to the country's public finance, pension and health systems. The IMF's Juan Jose Fernandez-Ansola said now is a good time to implement such reforms, given that the economy is growing and inflation remains low.
Deputies adopt legislation to soften ban on 'Svarc system', speed up commercial registrations, allow 'squeeze out' option for majority shareholders; World Bank says creditors in Czech Republic least likely in European Union to recover funds from bankrupt countries; Health Minister to ask for partial bail-out of VZP; $230m positive foreign trade balance recorded for March.
Siemens VDO, the electronic auto parts maker of engineering giant Siemens, wants to relocate part of its manufacturing activities in Wuerzburg, Southwest Germany, to the Czech Republic in mid-2006 in order to help cut costs, a company spokesman said on Friday. Siemens VDO's factory in the north Moravian city of Ostrava will specialise in the manufacture of technically less complex components, while the company would endeavour to retain as many jobs as possible in Wuerzburg, where the workforce numbers 1,600, the spokesman said. The powerful IG Metall labour union and employee representatives have long expressed concern that most of the Wuerzburg jobs could be relocated to the Czech Republic.
Exports from the Czech Republic grew at a rate above analysts' expectations in 2004. In fact, a new study carried out for the OECD shows the growth in Czech exports was the third fastest in the world last year, behind only China and South Korea. Other new European Union states also showed strong export growth rates, but none matched the success of the Czech Republic in this area. I spoke to Petr Sklenar, an analyst with Atlantik Financial Markets, and began by asking him what was behind this positive trend.
One of the biggest privatisation deals since the fall of communism has been signed and sealed. The Spanish Telefonica now owns a 51 percent stake in Cesky Telecom - the Czech fixed line operator which also owns the Czech Republic's leading mobile operator Eurotel. In an open tender, where the deciding criterion was the price, Telefonica beat Swisscom and Belgacom, with an offer of over 3.5 billion dollars. One analyst described the deal, at a good 25 percent higher than expected, as nothing less than a "bomb". David Vaughan was at the signing ceremony
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Study: Demand for new flats in Prague set to keep outstripping supply
“There is good, better and then there is the USSR.” – New book depicts life in communist Czechoslovakia through memories of people who experienced it
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
“The only solution is political” – Organisers of major anti-government protests in Czechia announce plans for the future