Daily news summary

Study: Brexit could reduce Czech GDP by 1.1 percentage points

Brexit could lead to a drop in the Czech gross domestic product by up to 55 billion crowns, or 1.1 percentage points, according to a study published on Wednesday by the retail savings bank Česká spořitelna.

The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union could also trigger the laying off of up to 40,000 workers, according to the survey. Hardest hit will be the Czech automotive, electronics and machinery production sectors, it says.

Direct Czech exports to the UK total about 210 billion crowns per year, about 5 percent of total Czech exports and four percent of GDP, respectively. Indirect exports account for another 120 billion crowns.

National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime warns of “uncontrolled entry “ of Muslims

The National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime has warned that “uncontrolled numbers of people practicing Islam entering the country” presents a security threat.

In its annual report the centre says it has registered an increasing number of firms and agencies owned by Muslims being set up in the Czech Republic for the purpose of settling visas and residence permits for Muslims to this country.

The centre says the long and short term residence permits are often requested for the purpose of accompanying sick relatives to Czech spas and that many of these clients are spending large sums of money which it is difficult to trace.

MPs approve draft data privacy law in line with GDPR

The lower house of Parliament has approved a new draft law on the protection of privacy. The main aim is to bring Czech legislation fully in line with European legislation, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation, or “GDPR”, which came into effect in May.

At the instigation of MP Jakub Michálek (Pirates), deputies agreed that the Office for the Protection of Personal Data (ÚOOÚ) will become the administrative appeal body for cases where authorities failed to comply with requests under the law on Free Access to Information.

The GDPR is designed to help protect the rights of EU citizens against the abuse of their data. It concerns for example public institutions, businesses and self-employed people who register their employees, members, customers or supporters.

According to new draft law version adopted on Wednesday, it will still be possible to process personal data for certain journalistic, academic, artistic and literary purposes. In concrete terms, journalists will not be required, for example, to ask ask each participant of an event or rally for permission to publish images in which they appear.

Czech Republic urging Russia to comply with INF-T treaty

The Czech Republic has joined NATO member states in urging Russia to comply with the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said the Czech Republic fully understands the US decision to abandon the pact if Russia does not start complying with the treaty within 60 days.

The Czech Republic considers the INF-T treaty important for Euro-Atlantic security as it has eliminated a dangerous and destabilising category of carriers of nuclear and conventional weapons. Should it be abandoned, the responsibility will lie entirely with Russia, the Czech foreign minister noted.

Czech PM launches bilateral Business Forum in Morocco

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) is winding up a two-day trip to Morocco on Wednesday by inaugurating a bilateral Business Forum in the city of Casablanca.

Morocco is the Czech Republic’s biggest economic partner in the region of North Africa. On the first day of the trip, Mr. Babiš held talks in Rabat with his counterpart, Saad Eddine El Otmani, after which the two leaders signed an economic cooperation agreement. They also discussed migration issues.

The Czech prime minister has been accompanied by Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Miloslav Stašek, and a delegation of nearly 40 business leaders.

Poll: Andrej Babiš most trusted party leader in parliament

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, founder and chairman of the centre-right populist ANO party, remains the most trusted leader of a political party now represented in parliament, according to a new poll by the CVVM agency.

According to the poll, the ANO leader enjoys the trust of 40 percent of the 1,100 people surveyed. In second place is Pirate party chairman Ivan Bartoš, at 33 percent, followed by Tomio Okamura of the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party at 31 percent. The head of the junior coalition party, Social Democrat Jan Hamaček, placed ninth in the survey, at 22 percent.

However, CVVM noted that the survey was conducted from November 2 to November 15 and “does not reflect political events that have occurred after this date.”

On November 12, the prime minister’s son, Andrej Babiš Jr, said in an interview he had be “kidnapped” and taken to Crimea to prevent him testifying in a corruption probe over his father’s alleged abuse of EU subsidies.

That allegation triggered a no-confidence vote on November 23, which the government of Mr Babiš survived with the support of the Communists.

A separate poll by the STEM agency, conducted more than a week after the first report on the alleged kidnapping, shows support for ANO has risen by 2.3 percentage points since the last poll, to a 35.7 percent, and would handily win parliamentary elections if held today.

Czechs advance to World Floorball Championship quarter-finals

The Czech men’s floorball team has qualified for the quarter-finals of the ongoing World Championships in Prague as group first. In a battle for first place in Group A, the Czech Republic defeated Switzerland on Tuesday evening by a score of 6:4.

In Group B Sweden obliterated Denmark by a score of 25:0 at the Arena Sparta to finish top of their group. Finland beat Norway 9:1 in the same group to move into second place. In Tuesday’s only match in Group C, Australia beat Thailand 4:3.

The Czechs will face either Denmark or Estonia in a match on Thursday.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be cloudy throughout most of the country. Occasional rain, sleet or light snowfall is forecast for all regions except for Zlín and Moravia-Silesia. Average daily highs should be between -1 to 3 degrees Celsius. Friday should be warmer but rainy nationwide.