Former Finance Minister off to prison; Minimum Social benefits to be cut in 2006; Prague richest 'region' in 'new Europe'; World Bank predicts less inflationary pressure for 2005; Beer union asks AgMin to axe Budvar ad campaign; TCPA to begin production at Kolin this month; Germany's Aral to quit check market
Former Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda off to prison
Minimum Social benefits to be cut in 2006
Social benefits for the long-term unemployed will be reduced next year, from the current 4,300 crowns per month to 2,870, the equivalent of about 125 US dollars. The cuts are part of a government plan introduced this week that is looking to motivate people to choose work over welfare. Housing allowances will be increased somewhat to offset the social benefits cut.
Prague richest 'region' in 'new Europe' - Eurostat
Inner London, at 315 percent of the European Union average, is the richest of the 37 "regions" in the EU. According to a study by the official statistical agency Eurostat, the vast majority of the poorest regions are within the new EU member states. The Czech capital Prague, which reached 153 percent of the EU average in 2002, was the only region in "new Europe" to exceed 125 percent of the EU average. At 32 percent of the EU average, Lubelskie, in eastern Poland, was ranked the poorest region overall.
World Bank predicts less inflationary pressure for 2005
Slower growth, easing inflation pressure and budget concerns will characterize future economic development in most new European Union member states, according to a new report by the World Bank. The report said most new EU members, including the Czech Republic, have sufficiently tight 2005 budgets, but weak popular support and upcoming elections have slowed reform efforts.
Beer union asks AgMin to axe Budvar ad campaign
The Czech Union of Brewers and Malt Houses has asked the Ministry of Agriculture to help end the so-called "Real beer" advertisements launched by Budejovicky Budvar, the only major Czech brewery still in state hands. The Union claims that Budvar's campaign, under the banner "Ten commandments of bona fide Czech beer," indirectly — and unfairly — accuses other Czech brewers of skimping on quality.
TCPA to begin production at Kolin this month
Germany's Aral to quit check market
The German petrol station company Aral announced this week that it is planning to leave the Czech market by the end of the year, and is looking to sell all 70 of its Czech stations. There are over 2,100 petrol stations in the Czech Republic; every fourth one is foreign owned. Austrian newspapers have speculated that Aral's chain will be sold to OMV.