Czech industry calls on next government to take action in seven sectors

The country's largest trade association, the Confederation of Industry and Transport, has called on the next government to take action in seven sectors it argues are key to economic growth and stability.

The EU has set a target of cutting emissions by 55 percent compared with 1990 levels and pivoting away from fossil fuels by the year 2030. Nearly all speeches by association members delivered at the recent Brno assembly, ČTK reports, touched on the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Under the European Green Deal, the continent would become “carbon neutral” by the year 2050. That presents both a challenge and an opportunity, but either way, the impacts of various measures be calculated and the government ready to respond to the new realities, according to the Confederation.

So far, the European Green Deal is more of an ideology and some measures may be detrimental, said Deputy Chairman Radek Špicar at the Brno assembly. Other topics for the future Czech government are digitization, transport, exports, the labour market, development, research and education.

Špicar also said it was time to start a second economic transformation after 30 years, because the one that began after 1989 has run its course.

“Otherwise, we will not catch up with advanced economies like Germany. We need to get rid of a cheap economy. While a German employer gets 42 euros per hour of work from his employee, the Czech only 13 euros,” said Špicar, as quoted by ČTK.

He further mentioned the need for the Confederation to have a cooperating partner in the new government. The prime minister-designate, Civic Democrat party chairman Petr Fiala, who joined the party colleague Zbyněk Stanjura online, promised to cooperate.

“I am very well aware of the importance of industry for the Czech economy. I believe that we will be partners and not rivals. We agree on many things.”

The Confederation wants the government to increase the amount of money for the digital transformation of companies from one to 5 billion crowns in the National Recovery Plan and not just to digitize the state administration alone.

The second challenge for the government is to speed up the construction of transport infrastructure, as the pace of construction of the motorway network is lagging behind.

At the same time, there is a need to build infrastructure for electric cars and other alternative drives. The government should also focus on modernizing the railway infrastructure.

Noting that the labour market is rapidly changing, as more people are retiring in recent years than are entering the workforce, Stanjura said that the government should speed up and simplify the recruitment of foreign workers, especially from Ukraine.