Klaus: Czech Republic need own criteria for joining eurozone
The Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that the Czech Republic needs to clearly define its own conditions for joining the eurozone. Speaking at a conference organised by the weekly Euro in Prague, President Klaus said Czech politicians and some economists only cite the Maastricht criteria but he said the country should set itself the conditions under which it wants to enter the European Monetary Union. The Maastricht criteria set limits for national debt, inflation, budget deficit and long-term interest rate. The Czech Republic, which does not comply with the budget deficit limit condition, is expected to adopt the euro in 2010, in line with a plan approved by the government two weeks ago.
Musilkova says she was threatened, VZP board is manipulated
The head of the state-controlled General Health Insurance Company (VZP) Jirina Musilkova has said she was threatened with arrest before she was to speak in the lower house of parliament in defence of her management of the insurance company last month. Mrs Musilkova said the threats were meant to make her resign. She also said that the VZP board meeting attended by the newly appointed representatives was manipulated. After the meeting, Mrs Musilkova announced that she would resign from the VZP helm as of January 1, 2006. Last month Health Minister David Rath imposed forced administration on the VZP which had run into debt amounting to 14 billion crowns (580 million dollars).
Labour Minister: Labour market facing shortage of employees in 20 years' time
The Labour and Social Affairs Minister, Zdenek Skromach, has said that around 300,000 to 400,000 employees will be lacking on the Czech labour market in 20 to 30 years and people should therefore work longer and retire later. Mr Skromach said that many companies in the Czech Republic are not interested in employing older workers, force them to retire earlier or to leave their jobs immediately after they reach the age of retirement. The agreement on the pension reform that has been recently drafted by the chairmen of the five parties in parliament envisages the extension of the age of retirement to 65. Last year, people over 65 made up about 14 percent of Czech society. According to Mr Skromach, this figure may reach 23 percent in 2030 and 31.3 percent in 2060.
CVVM poll: most people rate government's performance negatively
A new poll by the CVVM polling agency suggests that the majority of Czechs rate the government's performance negatively, while the Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, has received an average rating. Fifty-two percent of respondents rated the centre-left coalition government's performance negatively and eleven percent said they rated it definitely negatively. On the scale of one to five (where one is excellent and five is unsatisfactory), 32 percent of respondents gave the prime minister a three for his performance. His average mark was 2.9.
Children celebrate St Nicholas's Day
Children around the Czech Republic have been be visited by St Nicholas, an angel and a devil as part of St Nicholas's Day celebrations. People dressed up as the three figures filled up the streets of towns and cities around the country on Monday night, December 5th, the eve of St Nicholas's Day. According to tradition all Czech children are visited by this trio and are given sweets and fruits if they have been good all year and lumps of coal or potatoes if they have been naughty.
In the coming days the skies should be partly cloudy to overcast with a chance of snow in most parts of the country. Daytime temperatures should stay just above freezing point.