Press Review

Germany's objections to the Czech Temelin nuclear power station and the accidental killing of a civilian by the police make the main headlines in the Czech dailies today. Most of the papers also feature photographs of a jubilant Jacques Rogge, after his election to the post of chairman of the International Olympic Committee.

Today's PRAVO comments on the difficult position of the police and how such a tragedy affects public opinion. Monday's incident saw a police officer shoot dead an innocent female passer-by. For some, the incident provides another example of why the Police should not be eligible to use firearms against suspected criminals.

However, if the on-duty policeman had managed to stop the stolen car and arrest the offender, he would have been celebrated as a hero. But then, the person driving the car might not have been an offender but someone in distress, and the car might not have even been stolen. However, PRAVO concludes, that the tragedy should not change the Police's stance on the harsh treatment of criminals.

MLADA FRONTA DNES voices its view that the Czech government should take Germany's latest call to shut the Temelin nuclear power station seriously. In it's current state, it is impossible to shut down the Temelin plant altogether. However, there are many things the Czech authorities could do to diminish the wide-spread fears about the plant's safety.

First of all, MLADA FRONTA DNES suggests, the government should make as much information as possible accessible to the public. Secondly, it should not play down the seriousness of the numerous faults and incidents that have happened at the plant. Thirdly, it should consider further investment to bring safety standards up to the highest possible level. And finally, it should treat all critics with respect while trying to convince them that the power station is safe.

In reaction to the latest OECD study of the Czech economy, LIDOVE NOVINY writes that criticism of the Czech fiscal policy by international institutions has been an economic evergreen for years. However, no previous Czech governments or indeed the current government have ever found the courage to undertake the necessary reforms to restructure state expenditure.

The problem is, LIDOVE NOVINY continues, that the substantial reforms would be painful - social welfare would be paid only to those who are really in need, which would upset a large number of voters. Something no politician would do less than a year before a general election.

And ZEMSKE NOVINY points out that public finance deficit amounts to 400 billion crowns, about two thirds of the annual state budget. The government has turned a deaf ear to all calls for a cut in state spending. Unfortunately, it will be taxpayers who will eventually have to cover the debts by paying higher taxes.