Prime Minister Topolánek has accepted an invitation to hold a working lunch with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris on Friday, the news website novinky.cz reported. The two leaders are due to discuss the rotating presidency of the EU, the global financial crisis and the Lisbon treaty. There has been speculation that France would like to extend its EU presidency, thus depriving Prague of its first turn in the president’s chair. However, Czech officials have dismissed the idea, saying EU rules are EU rules. Suggestions France could play a leading role in an informal eurozone group within the EU have also been questioned by the Czech government; the Czech deputy prime minister for European Affairs, Alexander Vondra, said such a development would divide the bloc rather than unifying it. The Czech Republic has not adopted the common European currency.
The price of shares on the Prague Stock Exchange has risen sharply for the second day in a row. While on Wednesday values on the Prague bourse rose by 13.6 percent, the biggest single day’s growth in almost 15 years, on Thursday share prices rose by 9.17 percent, which was the second biggest increase in Europe after Russia.
Car makers in the Czech Republic will lay off around 10,000 people at the
end of this year and the start of 2009, the director of the country’s
automobile industry association said on Thursday. Speaking at a conference
in Brno, Antonín Šípek also said the international financial crisis
meant around 20,000 fewer cars would roll off production lines in the
Republic. Companies supplying car makers are also expected to be hit by
economic downturn. Around 120,000 Czechs are employed in the automobile
industry, which has been one of the main motors of the country’s economy
in recent years.
The newest car plant in the country, a Hyundai factory in Nošovice, north Moravia, is to go into operation on November 3. A company spokesperson said Hyundai expected to receive a permit it needs to produce automobiles by Monday.
The Finance Ministry has reduced its expectation of GDP growth in 2009. Its analysts now predict the Czech economy will grow by 3.7 percent next year, down from the 4.8 they forecast in July, prior to the international credit and banking crisis. The draft budget for 2009 was drawn up on the basis of the July estimate. The ministry has revised its GDP forecast for this year from 4.6 percent to 4.4 percent. 2007 saw record Czech GDP growth of 6.6 percent.
A man died in Bruzovice, north Moravia on Thursday morning when strong winds caused part of the roof of a factory in the town to collapse. Gales and heavy rain on Wednesday night and Thursday saw rescue workers called out numerous times. Fallen trees delayed trains and blocked roads, while some households were without power.
Two men died when a steel silo of chemical fertiliser collapsed near Český Krumlov in south Bohemia on Thursday. Four employees were filling the silo when part of it gave way; only two of them managed to escape before the whole structure came crashing down. A special team has mounted a clean-up of the nitrogen fertiliser which spread over the surrounding area, including an adjacent road.
The state has been ordered to pay compensation to a psychiatrist who was seriously injured by a patient wielding a machete, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The court said the police had failed to protect Doctor Karel Hynek, who had reported that he was in danger from the patient. The psychiatrist, who is 63, spent two months in hospital after receiving serious injuries to his head and arm. While the court has yet to fix the amount of compensation, the doctor’s lawyers have demanded CZK 1.5 million.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament officially recognized the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, when deputies voted to acknowledge the treaty on which the court was founded. The Czech Republic was the only EU state not to have recognised the international court, which handles serious crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Czech parliament was reluctant to pass the agreement earlier due to doubts whether it was consistent with the Czech constitutional order and the protection of Czech citizens by the state. It was approved by the Senate in July of this year.
The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday opened a debate on two Czech-US treaties setting the legal framework for the siting of a US tracking radar on Czech soil. Along with ten interceptor missiles in Poland the tracking radar in the Brdy military area, southwest of Prague, would form part of a broader US missile defense shield intended to protect the United States and a large part of the European continent against missile attacks from states like Iran. The centre-right government on Wednesday won a motion for Parliament to open debate on the two treaties despite fierce opposition from the left-wing parties. A vote is expected to take place some time in December and due to a number of rebels in the governing coalition its outcome is uncertain.