The Czech Republic’s budget deficit could rise to CZK 70 billion next year due to a slowing of the economy, the minister of labour, Petr Nečas, said on a TV debate programme on Sunday. He said if there was a recession the shortfall could be even greater. The 2009 budget, which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, envisages a deficit of CZK 38.1 billion. Minister Nečas said the government would reassess the budget at the beginning of 2009 according to economic developments in the latter part of this year.
Almost a year after the Czech Republic joined the Schengen border-free
zone, the Czech authorities say neighbouring Germany is not respecting the
principle of free movement. A Czech Interior Ministry spokeswoman said
Germany was subverting free movement, which she described as one of the
basic principles of Schengen. Following the closing of border stations,
German authorities began carrying out frequent and thorough controls some
kilometres on their side of the frontier. Earlier this year the Czech
Interior Ministry called on Czech citizens to complain about such
Otherwise the ministry said it regarded joining Schengen on December 21 last year as a generally positive experience for the Czech Republic. Fears of difficulties with regards to security and migration have not been borne out, it said.
Sixty-two percent of Czechs believe the global financial crisis will lead to a deterioration in their own personal financial situation next year, suggests a poll conducted this month by the STEM agency for Czech Television. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they believed the crisis would have a negative impact on the Czech economy.
Banks in the Czech Republic should be able to avoid the most dramatic problems caused by the global financial crisis due to the fact they were in a healthy state beforehand, the deputy governor of the Czech National Bank, Miroslav Singer, said on Sunday. Mr Singer also said the banking sector’s record profits of CZK 47 billion in 2007 should be bettered this year. In the first three quarters of 2008 the banks’ profits increased by 12 percent.
The Association of Czech Travel Agents says it expects visitors to the Czech Republic during the Christmas and New Year period to spend a round a fifth less than in the same period 12 months previously. The association’s Tomio Okamura says around 420,000 tourists are expected to visit the country, around the same number as last year. He said he expected a fall in spending because more eastern Europeans and fewer western tourists are coming to the Czech Republic than previously. The strength of the Czech crown is another factor.
Singer Karel Gott has won the Český slavík (Czech Nightingale) award for the 34th time in a career spanning five decades. The multi-million selling 69-year-old collected the men’s prize in person at Prague’s State Opera on Saturday night. The women’s award went to Lucie Bílá, while the group prize also went to last year’s winner, Kabát. The Český slavík awards, originally known as Zlatý slavík, have been running since 1962. The winners are voted by members of the public.
The Czech Republic have come fourth at the Floorball World Championships, after losing 4:5 to Switzerland in a game to decide third place in Prague on Sunday. The match was tied at 4:4 at full time, with the Swiss – who also took bronze in the competition two years ago – winning the tie with a goal in the 70th minute. Some 13,211 spectators attended the game at the O2 Arena, the third highest attendance in the history of the World Championships and the highest ever seen at a floorball game in the Czech Republic. Finland beat Sweden 7:6 after extra time in the final - the first time Sweden have failed to win the World Championships.
A European Poker Tour competition held at Prague’s Hilton hotel has been won by the Italian Salvatore Bonavena, who collected EUR 774,000. Over 550 people took part in the four-day tournament, which was being held in the Czech capital for the second time. Among the Czechs who finished among the top ten percent of competitors was Pavel Blatný, who has several times been crowned Czech chess champion. The European Poker Tour is the continent’s biggest poker competition.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats says a planned agreement with the government on the running of the Czech Republic’s European Union presidency represented neither a truce nor a tolerance pact. Jiří Paroubek said the agreement only covered some aspects of European policy, not Czech foreign policy as a whole, and not domestic politics at all. He said the Social Democrats would not support any government bills which contravened their own policies. Mr Paroubek also said he could not guarantee his party would not table a vote of no-confidence during the six-month EU presidency. The Czech Republic takes the helm of the 27-member bloc on January 1.
The Ministry of Finance is ready to allow Czech betting companies to operate on the internet for the first time, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The five biggest betting firms in the country had petitioned the ministry to allow the change, saying they were losing huge amounts of money to internet gambling sites based in other states. A spokesman for the Finance Ministry said, however, that no final decision had been made on the subject.