• Czech car industry set to lose at least CZK 215 billion in 2020

    06/30/2020

    Czech auto makers and parts manufacturers expect a fall of at least CZK 215 billion in revenues this year, representatives of the Automotive Industry Association said on Tuesday. While 1.4 million cars were produced in the Czech Republic last year, the figure for 2020 is expected to be 300,000 lower. This is because of an interruption in production and a fall in demand stemming from the coronavirus crisis.

    The downturn caused by the pandemic has already caused CZK 150 billion in losses and these are expected to further deepen.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Czech gov’t propose flat income tax for entrepreneurs

    06/30/2020

    The government has proposed allowing self-employed persons with an annual income of up to CZK 800,000 to pay a flat tax as of next year of CZK 5,740 crowns per month.

    The flat-rate tax includes health insurance premiums of CZK 2,514, income tax in the symbolic amount of 100 crowns and a 15 percent higher minimum social insurance premium (CZK 3,126 as of 2020).

    Finance Minister Alena Schillerová said the aim is to reduce bureaucracy, both in terms of administration and eliminating most reasons for tax office inspections.

    The higher social insurance premium aims to help self-employed people save more for their retirement, as most now pay only the bare minimum. In opting for the flat tax, self-employed people would no longer be able to apply any other tax rebates and discounts, such as for dependent children.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Czech gov’t objects to EP resolution on Babiš’s ‘conflict of interest’

    06/29/2020

    The Czech government has objected to parts of a European Parliament resolution adopted on June 19 about the alleged conflict of interest of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

    According to the government’s draft response, the cabinet states MEPs have via that resolution interfered in the internal and political affairs of an EU member state, ČTK reports.

    Babiš stands accused of continuing to exert control over the Agrofert conglomerate he founded, whose companies have long received substantial EU and Czech subsidies.

    The EP resolution states that the body “Strongly disapproves of oligarch structures drawing on EU agricultural and cohesion funds whereby a small minority of beneficiaries receive the vast majority of EU funds”.

    The Czech government’s response says that the EP resolution violates the presumption of innocence and anticipates the final result of the ongoing EU audit on Babiš's conflict of interest. All but two cabinet members signed it, ČTK reports.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Extreme flood risk in effect for Pardubice districts, other regions

    06/29/2020

    There is an extreme risk of floods in the Pardubice districts of Chrudim, Pardubice and Moravská Třebová on Monday afternoon, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute warns.

    Due to heavy rain, several other regions could experience flooding by noon on Tuesday, it said. These includes parts of the Hradec Králové, Moravian-Silesian, Olomouc and Vysočina regions.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Weather

    06/29/2020

    Tuesday should be partly cloudy but relatively warm, with daytime highs of up to 23 degrees Celsius.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Coronavirus: Czechs to shorten EU’s list of “safe” third countries of origin

    06/29/2020

    The Czech Republic will reduce the list of 15 or so “safe countries of origin” on which the EU is set to agree, selecting about 10 non-EU states for its own purposes, based in part on reciprocity, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) said on Monday.

    The travel restrictions stem from efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Petříček said the Foreign Ministry considers Wester Balkan countries a priority, as well as Australia and New Zealand, but emphasized the Czech Republic wants a joint EU approach to selecting the third countries.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Statue of legendary Czech runner Emil Zátopek commissioned by Moravian hometown

    06/29/2020

    A statue of legendary Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek has been commissioned by his hometown of Kopřivnice, in Moravia. The town hopes to install the statue on the 100th anniversary of his birth, in September 2022.

    Zátopek and his wife Dana, a javelin thrower, made history at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, when they won altogether four gold medals for Czechoslovakia. He was expelled from the Communist Party and Czechoslovak Army for supporting the 1968 Prague Spring reform movement.

    Sculptor Jaroslav Brož, whose statue of Emil Zátopek was installed in the garden of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne , Switzerland, in 2002, has been commissioned to do the work.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Facemasks to remain mandatory on Prague metro, at indoor events

    06/29/2020

    Facemasks will remain mandatory in the Prague metro and during indoor events even after other anti-coronavirus measures are relaxed on 1 July, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday.

    The situation in Prague is now stable, but there is a risk of the novel coronavirus spreading at larger events (of more than 100 people) and in the metro, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch said.

    Chief hygienist Jarmila Rážová said epidemiologists are debating whether to require facemasks on all forms of public transport. Trams and many buses are not air-conditioned and there is a risk of people overheating if required to wear facial coverings, she said.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Czechs opening consular offices in Split, Burgas and maybe Rijeka for summer season

    06/29/2020

    The Czech Republic will open consular offices in the popular foreign holiday destinations of Split, Croatia, and Burgas, Bulgaria, as of Wednesday to help tourists in need, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) told reporters on Monday.

    Another consular office may open for the season in the Croatian city of Rijeka, he said. But unlike last summer, no such office will open in Barcelona, Spain, due to an expected drop in interest due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the country particularly hard.

    This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also introduced a consular call centre in Prague to which people can turn in lieu of visiting offices abroad. Deputy Minister Martin Smolek noted that Czech citizens can turn also seek help from honorary Czech consuls in the event of difficulties. There are now 223 of them in the world, and honorary consulates have recently opened in Tenerife, Madeira and Gijón in northern Spain before the summer tourist season.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Press: Ministry lobbying for Dlouhý to head OECD

    06/29/2020

    The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is lobbying for the president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý, to be appointed head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Mr. Dlouhý has also launched his own campaign for the position, the newspaper said. The current head of the OECD is due to step down next year.

    Mr. Dlouhý, an economist, served as minister of industry and trade for five years in the 1990s.

    Author: Ian Willoughby

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