czech republic

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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 85,438 69,590 56,800 39
GNI per capita
 US $ 6,740 5,560 5,250 66
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Czech Republic


Update No: 120 - (30/05/07)

Three fifths of Czechs want Klaus to be re-elected 
There is no doubting the popularity of the Czech president. Three fifths of Czechs, or 58 percent, want Vaclav Klaus to be re-elected for another five-year term, and the same number believe that the opposition will not succeed in fielding a sufficiently strong counter-candidate, a STEM poll released in early May shows. Klaus, whose current term expires in February 2008, has already announced he would seek re-election.

Asked whether they wish Klaus to be president in the next five-year term as well, 23 percent of respondents said "definitely yes" and 35 percent said "rather yes."

Nineteen percent of respondents said "definitely not" and 23 percent said "rather not."
Klaus is supported by the conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS) which he founded in 1991, was its chairman until 2002 and now is its honorary chairman.

Opposition Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jiri Paroubek said that a Social Democrat will not be Klaus's opponent in the election. The proposed counter-candidate must be acceptable for four political parties and independent senators.

The four parties are the CSSD, the junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and Greens, and the opposition Communists (KSCM).

According to analysts, Klaus has the strongest, though not absolute support among ODS members and followers, almost half of CSSD followers and one third of people who would vote communist in the polls to the Chamber of Deputies.

The Czech hawk meets the Russian eagle
The Czech President is largely responsible for foreign policy. He is a robust nationalist, no doubt explaining his popularity. 

In an interview with INTERFAX on the eve of his visit to Russia, he said there are no reasons for revising his country's position on deployment of elements of the U.S. missile defence on its territory. "The Czech Republic has begun talks with the United States on the deployment of U.S. radars in our territory, and I do not think that things should be revised," the president said. "I know that Russia was informed of U.S. plans a long time ago, and the U.S. missile defence cannot be used against Russia," Klaus said, adding that he will try to "point that out to our Russian partners." 

The Czech president hailed Russia's proposal to jointly work with NATO at creating non-strategic missile defence in Europe. "Talks on non-strategic missile defence is a provision on the agenda of NATO-Russia relations. We view the idea positively," he said. 

Earlier, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek expressed certainty that U.S. missile defence will be a part of the NATO missile defence system, saying that he is counting on the completion of talks on the deployment of U.S. radars in the Czech Republic in early 2008. 

The Czech president also said that Russia has yet to fulfil all of its obligations within the framework of the adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. When the Treaty was signed in November 1999 a number of conditions and commitments were undertaken, he said. In particular, Russia voluntarily undertook a commitment to withdraw arms and troops from Georgia and Transnistria before the end of 2001. "Meanwhile, the withdrawal dragged on and fully stopped in mid-2004. The Czech republic is certain that provisions of the Treaty should be observed," Klaus said. 

The adapted CFE Treaty was signed in 1999 in Istanbul, Russia ratified it later. European countries link the ratification of the Treaty with so-called 'Istanbul commitments,' according to which Russia should withdraw its troops and arms from Georgia and Moldova. Moscow does not agree, saying that the only condition relates to the flank commitments in the Treaty, which Russia fulfilled in 2001. 

The Czech president also spoke about the issue of Poland's decision to block EU-Russian talks on the development of a new bilateral agreement, after Moscow imposed an embargo on delivering Polish meat to Russia, saying that he is certain that this cannot seriously hinder Russian-EU talks. "I am certain that the issue will be resolved in the next few weeks," he said, adding that the level of Russian-EU rations has achieved a high level and a large scale. Klaus expressed hope that "the postponement of the beginning of the talks for several weeks cannot seriously hinder relations in a strategic outlook." 

President discusses U.S. shield with Klaus in Brno 
The Czech and Polish presidents, Vaclav Klaus and Lech Kaczynski, discussed the U.S. missile defence shield whose elements are to be stationed in their countries at a meeting of central European presidents in Brno on May 24-26. Klaus told Kaczynski about his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month.

Russia is much critical of the U.S. plans to station a radar base in the Czech Republic and a base with 10 missiles in Poland. Putin said after his talks with Klaus that the U.S. project resembles the deployment of U.S. Pershing missiles in Europe in the past century, and warned that Russia would retaliate.

The Czech Republic and the United States started official negotiations on the stationing of a U.S. radar in the Brdy military district, southwest of Prague, in May. The negotiations are expected to be held on the level of the defence and foreign affairs ministries.

The talks will last several months, and next year the Americans would like the Czechs to say whether they will accept the radar on their territory.

Poland has already made it clear that it wants to coordinate the negotiations with the Czech Republic. The Czech political scene is not united on the issue and the public is rather opposed to the radar.

Government to consider Tlusty's reform proposals - Czech PM 
The Czech government will consider the possibility to implement the proposals of Civic Democrat (ODS) deputy and former finance minister Vlastimil Tlusty into its draft public finance reform, PM Mirek Topolanek (ODS) told reporters at the end of April.

Tlusty is criticising the current version of the government public finance reform and threatens he might not support it in the Chamber of Deputies.

Topolanek discussed the reform with Tlusty. "The meeting was successful from my point of view as we finally clarified some of his [Tlusty's] proposed solutions rather than his objections," said Topolanek. He also said that the cabinet had submitted "its idea" of a reform that is not fully "a fait accompli."

Topolanek said that the government would take Tlusty's proposals into consideration, but he at the same time insisted that the final public finance deficit in the reform must remain unchanged.

Consequently, if Tlusty required any extraordinary expenditure, he would have to find respective savings or revenues elsewhere. "I do not know if we will be able to implement all proposals," Topolanek noted, adding that the government and parliament must yet to decide on the definitive form of the reform.

"The whole process can be completed in July or even later and I am very optimistic," Topolanek concluded. After the meeting with Topolanek, Tlusty told the server that there was "an apparent willingness to negotiate," but no agreement had been reached yet.

Tax changes
He told public Czech Television (CT) that he, among others, demands that the 19 percent maximum VAT level be lowered, but he did not give a precise figure. He also said he respected the government-proposed solution to increase the 5 percent VAT rate to 9 percent.

Tlusty's stance on the reform will be significant for other ODS deputies. Some of them are waiting for his position.

Topolanek's coalition government, comprising also the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Greens, needs every vote from the centre-right bloc as it only has 100 deputies in the 200-seat lower house where the left-wing opposition holds another half.

Some Christian Democrats are hesitating, too, but the ministers said they believe that all the coalition deputies would back up the reform in the end.

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Hyundai officially opens 1bn Euro plant

Hyundai, the South Korean carmaker, has officially launched construction on its one billion Euro plant in the Czech Republic, Interfax News Agency reported. 
"With more than 600 guests in attendance, construction began on the new Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech (HMMC) plant in Nosovice," spokesman Petr Vanek was quoted as saying in a statement.
The plant aims to have an annual production of 200,000 units by March 2009, after the first phase of construction is completed. In 2011, the Northern Moravian plant is expected to turn out 300,000 units, it was reported. 

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ING's Czech unit posts profit decrease of 29% 

Dutch ING Bank's Czech corporate client unit posted net profit down 29 per cent year-on-year to 245 million crowns in 2006, the bank announced recently, according to Interfax News Agency.
"Overall, net profit was not as high as in the record year 2005 due to trading on the financial markets on our own, which results lagged behind our expectations," ING Bank CEO Rolf-Jan Zweep was quoted as saying. The bank's total revenues stood at 984 million crowns last year, down from 1.069 billion crowns in 2005.
ING Bank Czech Republic provides banking services to corporate and private clients. As announced earlier, ING posted net profit up 16 per cent year-on-year to 1.63 billion crowns and assets under management up 17 per cent year-on-year to 65.57 billion crowns in its Czech retail operations including life and non-life insurance, pension fund, mutual funds, saving accounts and mortgages.

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Germany's Deutsche Telekom eyes GTS Central Europe

German telecommunication company Deutsche Telekom AG was mulling a bid to acquire Czech telecommunications operator GTS Central Europe, Czech reports indicated recenlty, cited by Hemscott. 
According to a report in the Hospodarske Noviny newspaper, Deutsche Telekom and financial group Penta were eyeing the company. 

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Five-star hotel to open in Prague next year

A five-star hotel in Prague centre is due to be opened in 2008 by investors CPI Hotels and Slovak J&T, CPI Hotels announced on its website, cited by Interfax News Agency.
"Construction of a Buddha Bar Hotel Prague, the first hotel of this brand all around the globe, is our flagship project," CPI Hotels was quoted as saying, noting that another similar project is to be developed later in Dubai. The hotel, located near Prague's Old Town square, will offer 36 luxury rooms and three exquisite suites. The hotel building will include Siddhartha-Cafe and Buddha-bar with a capacity of 250 seats to be operated by J&T Group.
CPI Hotels is a joint stock company, which opened its first hotel in 1993. Currently, it is running nine hotels with a total capacity of over 4,200 beds.  

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