The Czech economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter of this
year, a slowdown from 5.2 percent in the second quarter, according to
figures released on Friday. That deceleration was due to a decline in
agriculture, while foreign trade has remained the driving force of
In spite of the slowdown, the Czech economy has remained the second-fastest growing in central Europe, after Slovakia, and this year's growth in gross domestic product is set to be the fastest since 1995.
Some 14 business agreements signed during official visit of Chinese prime minister; Skoda Octavia named 'best import' in German automotive magazine's annual 'Auto Trophy' readers' survey; Parliament to debate eminent-domain law for industrial zones - towards securing land for $1.2bn Hyundai plant; Lobbyist at centre of Unipetrol privatisation inquiry says ex-government chief of staff offered him a bribe; The BBC Czech service may continue as commercial venture
The Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that the Czech Republic needs to clearly define its own conditions for joining the eurozone. Speaking at a conference organised by the weekly Euro in Prague, President Klaus said Czech politicians and some economists only cite the Maastricht criteria but he said the country should set itself the conditions under which it wants to enter the European Monetary Union. The Maastricht criteria set limits for national debt, inflation, budget deficit and long-term interest rate. The Czech Republic, which does not comply with the budget deficit limit condition, is expected to adopt the euro in 2010, in line with a plan approved by the government two weeks ago.
In Business News: the Czech crown reached a record high against the euro this week; the average gross monthly wage grew to almost 19,000 crowns in the third quarter; the anti-monopoly office has imposed a fine of over 8 million dollars on Cesky Telecom for abusing its market dominance; and the prices of gas, electricity and heating are set to rise from the start of next year.
The Czech crown could join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism II in the second half of 2007, the finance ministry said in a statement Monday, stressing that the timetable would not affect plans to adopt the euro at the start of 2010. Two years of ERM II membership is a condition for joining the so-called Eurozone. During that time the currency is pegged to the euro and can fluctuate within a very narrow band. Slovakia this weekend became the fifth post-communist European Union member state to join ERM II, after Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.
Central European leaders have issued a new call expressing support to those countries waiting to join the European Union, appealing to the EU to keep the momentum of enlargement to southern and eastern Europe. The call came at the end of a meeting of the Central European Initiative in the Slovak spa town of Piestany.
Former Prime Minister Gross, Trade Minister Urban asked to testify before Parliament on Unipetrol privatisation; CTS Corporation of the US to invest $22m in new electronic components plant in Ostrava region; German retailer Edeka may exit Czech Republic, denies plans to sell its Polish, Austrian and Danish outlets; Police bust illegal alcohol production and distribution network; CNB, financial associations object to Parliament provision in bankruptcy bill compensating holders of anonymous accounts; Health Minister Rath wants Parliament to investigate
Domestic defence contractors want a piece of the NATO pie; The Cabinet agrees a comprehensive plan for promoting economic growth; Additional $60 million earmarked in support of Hyundai car plant project; DHL Solutions to oversee Lego Group toy maker's new European distribution centre outside Prague; New Agriculture Minister named following scandal at Czech Land Fund
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