Chamber of Deputies approves 2011 budget
The lower house of the Czech parliament on Wednesday 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, presented by the government, 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 gross domestic product in 2013, within the 3.0 percent prescribed by the European Commission. Prime Minister Petr Nečas' government has been in place since August and has vowed to carry out sharp spending cuts to prevent a worsening of the country's debt obligations.