Czechs against proposal to freeze EU budget after 2014
Prime Minister Petr Nečas made clear at the EU summit on Thursday that the Czech government is against a proposal by larger EU members to freeze the European Union's budget from 2014-2020, which could result in the country theoretically losing part of European subsidies. Under the proposal to freeze financial sources in the EU budget, submitted by Great Britain at the EU summit on Thursday, the budgets for 2014-2020 would be kept at the 2013 level. Britain’s call for a freeze is reportedly also being supported by members France and Germany. Over the current budget period from 2007-2013, the Czech Republic has received the largest amount of subsidies per head among all 27 EU members. The Czech prime minister noted on Thursday that talks were only at the beginning and made clear the result of a drop in subsidies in cohesion policy was by no means definite.
Heger urges doctors to reconsider departures
Health Minister Leoš Heger has urged doctors who have quit or are considering quitting their jobs in protest over current salary levels to reconsider. The minister told journalists on Friday that more time was needed for funds to be redirected towards salaries and for planned government reforms to take effect. He made the statement after his first meeting with a work group that includes regional and hospital representatives. The health minister is in a difficult spot after the doctors’ unions ran a two-month campaign warning that thousands of doctors would quit unless they saw significant wage increases. The results are to be made public on Monday. Hoping to avoid a drastic wave of departures, Minister Heger stressed the ministry would do everything possible to inject new funds into salaries.
Chamber of Deputies approves 2011 budget
The lower house of the Czech parliament this week adopted a 2011 austerity budget that foresees a reduction in the public deficit to 4.6 percent of output from an expected 5.3 percent this year. The budget calls for sharp cuts in social spending and civil servant wages. The measure was backed in the 200-seat chamber by 111 votes from the ruling centre-right coalition and opposed by 75 Social Democrat and Communist MPs. The government is hoping to narrow the public deficit to 2.9 percent of GDP in 2013, within the 3.0 percent prescribed by the European Commission.
Government proposal to allow Inspection Office to name sellers of low quality fuel
The government this week passed a proposal by the Ministry for Trade and Industry which will allow the Czech Trade Inspection Office to make public the names of gas stations selling low quality fuel. The body conducts routines checks across the country but until now said it did not have legislative backing to be able to name names. In October, for example the Trade Inspection Office found nine samples out of 160 collected failed to make the grade, in other words 5.6 percent. The average for the first ten months of the year is 7.6. The amendment should also require independent fuel sellers (not gas stations) to register, which the government hopes will cut down tax fraud.
Expert gives tips on how to behave at Christmas office parties
On a lighter note, with Christmas quickly approaching some news sites such as idnes are providing tips for how to behave at office parties. The internet website spoke to etiquette expert Vladimír Smejkal who outlined the number one do’s and don’ts. Major sins include discussing unfinished work, asking about other peoples’ salaries, discussing personal problems and even bringing up the weather. Above all, the specialist told the website, employees needed to make sure they didn’t consume too much alcohol and consequently behave like boors. At least one scene from the Christmastime favourite Bridget Jones’s Diary comes to mind. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but don’t overdo it.