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
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
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
"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 novinky.cz server that there was "an apparent willingness to
negotiate," but no agreement had been reached yet.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.