• 06/23/2022

    Fuel prices in the Czech Republic are at a new all-time high, with a litre of the most popular Natural 95 petrol having risen by 27 halers to CZK 47.96 per litre within a week. The price of diesel has risen even more dramatically, rising by CZK 1.06 and now costs CZK 48 per litre on average, although it has not yet surpassed its record in mid-March of CZK 49.60 per litre.

    Fuel prices began to rise in late February and March following the launch of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government has taken several measures to try to counteract the rise in fuel prices. Among other things, since the beginning of June, it has reduced the excise duty on petrol and diesel by CZK 1.50 per litre for four months. So far, however, these measures have been ineffective, and fuels are more expensive than before the excise tax cut.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala gave a speech on Wednesday evening, broadcast live on Czech television and radio, regarding the current political and economic situation in the country. He spoke mainly about energy security, rising inflation, and Russia’s war on Ukraine and attempts to undermine democracy in the wider Western world.

    Mr. Fiala stated that the Czech Republic must deal quickly with the problem of its energy dependence on Russia, and that within five years, the government wants to achieve energy sovereignty and be in control of its own electricity generation. He also said the government must support the construction of emission-free energy sources and promised to support investment in energy innovation and savings. However, he warned that during the transition period, Czechia will continue to face high prices and uncertainty in supplies.

    The Czech PM mentioned the measures taken by the government earlier that day to help households and businesses cope with the rising cost of energy, which included setting aside CZK 66 billion to help with the upcoming heating season, abolishing the renewables fee, and providing CZK 10 billion to central heating plants.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    Prague City Hall has prepared a series of special cultural events including music, theatre, exhibitions and lectures to mark the occasion of the six-month Czech presidency of the EU Council, starting on July 1. The events are planned for the week prior, Prague Mayor Zdenek Hříb told journalists on Wednesday. The streets of Prague will also be graced with a special "Eurotram", designed by students. The whole programme can be found on the City Hall web page Prague meets Europe.

    The events kick off on June 24, when the deputy mayor of Paris will symbolically hand over the EU presidency to the Prague mayor at Mariánské náměstí (Virgin Mary Square) in the centre of Prague. After that, they will both attend a public debate about the cooperation between Paris, Prague and Stockholm, with Sweden due to take up the EU presidency after Czechia. Part of the square will then transform into an outdoor cinema screening French, Swedish and Czech movies, and it will also host a small French-cuisine festival.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    Former financial deputy director and board member of the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP), Matej Augustin, was remanded in custody on Wednesday, the fifth person to be arrested of the twelve implicated in the corruption scandal surrounding the company. According to Seznam Zpravy, an organized crime group masterminded by businessman Michal Redl installed Mr. Augustin to the DPP board in order to let him manipulate public procurement and ensure bribes.

    When the prosecution of other persons implicated in the case began, Mr. Augustin was staying in Slovakia, where he is from. He returned on Monday and was questioned and charged. Last Wednesday, DPP dismissed Mr. Augustin from its board.

    The scandal has rocked the Mayors and Independents party, inducing Education Minister Petr Gazdik to resign on Sunday. One of the twelve accused, telecommunications businessman Petr Adam, died on Monday.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    The board of the Czech National Bank has raised the key interest rate by 1.25 percentage points to 7 per cent, the highest rate since 1999. This was the seventh consecutive increase in the base rate by more than 0.25 percentage points. The reason for the significant increase is rising inflation and expectations that this will continue, the Czech News Agency reports.

    Interest on bank deposits and loans is based on central bank interest rates. A higher base rate means more expensive loans for households and businesses.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    The government has approved a new sanctions law inspired by the US 2016 Magnitsky Act. The legislation will allow Czechia to impose sanctions that have not yet been included in the European Union's sanctions list. Currently there is no real legal tool with which the Czech Republic could sanction a foreign entity on the basis of domestic demand, for example, if the state wanted to prevent an individual from entering or staying on its territory.

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine forced the government to speed up the preparation of the draft legislation, which the Cabinet has announced will be adopted by the end of 2023. The proposal now needs to be approved by Parliament.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    One death in the Czech Republic has a probable connection with the covid-19 vaccine, says the director of the registration section of the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL), Tomáš Borán. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, he said the death was caused by thrombosis and a reduction in the number of platelets after the administration of one of the adenoviral vector vaccines.

    Mr. Borán emphasised that the risk of dying from Covid-19 is much higher, with more than 40,000 people having died from the disease in the Czech Republic so far.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    Thursday is expected to be sunny and warm, with day temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    The government has approved an amendment to the constitution allowing for greater flexibility in the conditions for sending Czech military troops abroad, the Czech News Agency has reported. The amendment gives the Cabinet the power to send troops abroad without the prior consent of Parliament, if it is a matter of protection of life and health, endangerment of property, or the security of the Czech Republic.

    The Defence Ministry drafted the proposal in response to a resolution after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in which the Cabinet concluded that the current wording of the constitution did not allow for enough speed and flexibility in responding to crises.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 06/22/2022

    Members of the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) had their first meeting since their activities were resumed in May on Wednesday. They have agreed to meet monthly from now on. The state budget and the energy crisis were the main topics at the meeting.

    David Marek, a member of the board and chief economist of Deloitte, told reporters that the possibility of raising taxes was discussed at the meeting as one way of increasing the state budget. NERV also discussed the planned austerity tariff by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the issue of housing.

    NERV was founded in 2009 as a body of experts tasked with seeking a solution to the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on the Czech Republic. After the fall of the government at the time, NERV's activities were suspended in August 2013. The government resumed NERV's activities in May 2022 in response to economic problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic, rising energy prices and the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the task of the council being to propose reforms of key public systems, such as the pension system.

    Author: Anna Fodor

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