News of Radio Prague

Labour Ministry to introduce new schemes to fight unemployment

The Ministry of Labour and Social affairs is launching a new national plan to fight long-term unemployment. It includes two new schemes called “First Chance” and “New Start”. While the former will focus on fresh graduates, the latter is aimed at other jobless people to prevent them from remaining unemployed for more than 12 months. Other measures will support job creation and entrepreneurial activities.

Unemployment in the Czech Republic has been growing over the past several months as a result of a slow-down of economic development and continuing restructuring of the industry. Experts say the main problem is high long-term unemployment in former coal-mining and heavily industrialised regions of North-Western Bohemia and North Moravia, and a relatively high unemployment of young people just after school. In 2003, the unemployment rate is expected to reach 9.9 percent.

Social Democrats lead opinion polls in run-up to Senate elections

The senior partner in the ruling coalition, the Social Democrats, is the most popular party in a run-up to the Senate elections. According to the latest survey, Social Democratic candidates have a chance to win in 11 out of 27 constituencies. The other partners in the governing coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union are likely to gain 5 and 1 seat, respectively. Elections to the Senate are held every two years to replace one third of the senators. The first round of the senate elections are to be held on October 25th and 26th, the second round a week later.

RMS stock market to close 1/3 of offices

One of the two Czech Republic’s stock markets, the RM System, is closing down almost a third of its outlets because of low demand. As of Monday, the system will reduce the number of its offices around the country to 60, 4 of them in Prague. Representatives of the market said demand for trading at the outlets to be closed was so low that it would be irrational to keep them open. The RM System was established as an alternative to a regular stock exchange in the early 1990’s to make trading easier for thousands of people who acquired stocks in the so-called coupon privatisation.

Government to discuss 2003 budget on Monday

The government is to discuss the draft state budget for 2003 on Monday. Although the ruling Social Democrats pledged to gradually reduce the budget deficit, the 2003 budget is expected to have a record gap of almost 160 billion CZK, twoice as much as in 2002. A spokesman for the treasury said that other ministries are asking for 40 billion crowns beyond their expenditure limits. The government will discuss the budget in the light of fresh macroeconomic forecasts which envisage GDP growth at 3.3 percent, a revised figure from the previously expected 3.6 percent.

Czech weather forecast

We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with rain showers; the highest daytime temperatures should range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius.