Czechia records steepest drop in real wages in nearly three decades

June 7, 2022

Economy Average real Czech salary drops by 3.6% due to inflation

In the first quarter of 2022, the average full-time gross monthly salary in Czechia reached CZK 37,929, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CSÚ). This is a 7.2% year-on-year increase, but due to consumer price inflation of 11.2%, wages fell in real terms by 3.6%. Wages increased the most in the financial and insurance sector, up 15.9%, real estate activities, up 13.9%, and accommodation and food services, up 11.2%. Prague has the highest average salary in the Czech Republic, at 48,498 CZK. Lukáš Kovanda, chief economist at Trinity Bank, said in mid-May that Czechia was experiencing its biggest drop in living standards since the country began in 1993 due to the gap between wage increases and the ‘inflation.

Crime Constitutional Court rejects appeal in Charles Bridge graffiti case

The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected the appeal of German tourist Benjamin Wittig who was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence, a 100,000 CZK fine and a five-year deportation from Czechia for spraying graffiti on the bridge Charles in Prague in 2019. Wittig complained about media coverage of the incident, which he said influenced the initial verdict. The Czech Supreme Court previously rejected Wittig’s appellate review. Wittig and his brother Niclas Steiger were arrested in mid-July 2019 after spraying five-meter-long, two-meter letters on one of the Charles Bridge pillars. Steiger admitted to spraying on the bridge and accepted the sentence.

Policy The Czech and Hungarian presidents will meet today at Prague Castle

President Miloš Zeman will receive the new Hungarian President Katalin Nováková today at Prague Castle. A longtime member of the ruling Fidesz party, Nováková has a reputation as a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Nováková will arrive in Prague this morning accompanied by her husband and will be received at Prague Castle with military honours. She is expected to discuss the state of the Visegrad Four with Zeman as well as the ongoing Russian invasion. On Wednesday, Nováková plans to meet with Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS).

Elections The ANO leads the polls for the general elections ahead of the ODS

Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s opposition movement ANO would win the general elections in Czechia in May with 28.5% of the vote, followed by the Civic Democrats (ODS) with 16.5% and Freedom and Democracy Direct (SPD) with 11.5%, according to the latest survey by the polling agency Median. Less than half of those approached by pollsters are unsure whether to vote and which candidate they would vote for. A third of those questioned say they would vote but are undecided for the party. Nearly one in seven people are unsure of their attendance and preferences.

Innovation A high-speed train begins its Czech tour in Prague

A mythical French TGV from the 1980s crossed the Czech Republic yesterday and is on display in Brno until June 9 as part of Rail Business Days. He will then be in Jihlava on June 10 and in Ústí nad Labem on June 11. Yesterday, hundreds of people were waiting to see him pass through the Hlavní nádraží in Prague. According to Transport Minister Martin Kupka, the aim of the presentation of the TGV in the Czech Republic is to convince people of the advantages of the construction of high-speed railways, which are still being talked about and whose preparation is only at its beginnings.

Culture Imagine Dragons leader waves Ukrainian flag in Prague

American singer Dan Reynolds was seen holding a Ukrainian flag in the air while on stage during an Imagine Dragons concert in Prague. Reynolds received a Ukrainian flag from a member of the public before holding it aloft and declaring, “Peace, love and equality for all!” Reynolds continued to perform the band’s song “Walking the Wire” before throwing the flag back into the crowd. The singer showed his support for the war-torn country at the band’s first concert in the Czech capital on June 5; On Monday, a second show took place to sold-out crowds at Prague’s Letnany airport. The band appeared in Prague as part of their “Mercury” tour.

Accident Seriously injured man at Opatov station

A 21-year-old man fell under a train at Opatov metro station in Prague on Monday evening and was seriously injured. Service on metro line C stopped for more than an hour from 9 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. between Kačerov and Háje stations. Rescuers placed the injured man in an artificial coma. He was taken to Vinohrady University Hospital (FNKV) with injuries to his chest, pelvis and lower leg, the emergency rescue service said on Twitter.

Time A cold front will cross the Czech Republic today

A cold front will cross the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Precipitation will occur in most areas. The highest temperatures will reach 16°C to 21°C in Bohemia and up to 26°C in Moravia and Silesia, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Precipitation will decrease in the afternoon and evening. From Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, the weather will be cloudy to overcast, with minimum temperatures around 16°C to 12°C, and lower in western and northwestern Bohemia. Wednesday will see cloudy to partly cloudy skies with possible morning fog.

June 6, 2022

CORRUPTION Two Agrofert companies expected to repay 4.6 million in subsidies

Two companies of the Czech holding company Agrofert, which was previously owned by former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, are expected to bring in more than CZK 4.6 million from the subsidies they have received, the server wrote today. Finance Ministry audits found errors in six projects from two holding companies and filed a criminal complaint against the examiner who reviewed the applications because of wrongfully awarded grants.

The server has available a letter from the Czech authorities in Brussels regarding the audit inspecting Babiš’s alleged conflict of interest. The control of 11 subsidies received by the companies of the Agrofert group was required by the European Commission because the control of all the projects concerning its company did not take place within the framework of the audit.

subway Prague could take out an EIB loan for the construction of metro line D

Prague will be able to take out a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the amount of around 22.76 billion Czech crowns for the construction of Metro D from Pankrác to Písnice, writes Ekonomický deník. The capital will be able to defer payments for eight years and repay the principal for up to 40 years. The loan can be taken in crowns or euros, and if they choose euros, the interest rate will be fixed at less than 2%. The bank will provide the loan without the need for collateral, and it will cover about half of the total cost of building the metro. The loan still needs to be discussed and approved by capital representatives.

economy EU suspends import duties on Ukrainian goods

The European Union is suspending import duties on Ukrainian agricultural and food products for one year from today, as reported by České noviny. The measure will also affect fruits and vegetables and industrial products imported from Ukraine into the EU. The regulation was published on Friday in the Official Journal of the EU. The Union wants to support the Ukrainian economy, which is facing the consequences of the Russian military invasion.

In addition to removing import duties, the EU is also taking steps to facilitate the transport of goods between the EU and Ukraine, including through so-called solidarity routes. Their goal is to replace the Ukrainian Black Sea ports blocked by the Russian army with new safe corridors for the transport of grain from Ukraine.

immovable Apartment construction on the rise in the Czech Republic

In 2021, 34,581 new apartments were completed in the Czech Republic, which is 0.5% more than the previous year. Last year, 118 billion crowns were spent on building new apartments, up eight percent year-on-year. The average size of habitable and usable space has remained the same, but the costs of building a square meter in these two areas have increased. The builders made most of the apartments in family houses (55%) and a third in apartment buildings. The data was released today by the Czech Statistical Office (CSO).

Brno Police stop car with children driving

Brno city police stopped a car with children driving on the road. Drivers without a license would have headed for a swim at the Brno dam.

DISINFORMATION Shutting down disinformation sites is only a temporary solution

The Czech government has called on NGOs and companies to deactivate disinformation websites, but is well aware that this was only a temporary solution, Prime Minister Petr Fiala wrote today in reaction to a question raised by the opposition MP ANO Patrik Nacher. The opposition MP pointed to the shutdown of various websites and argued that it was unclear how and by what criteria the servers were temporarily shut down.

On May 25, the Czech internet association CZ.NIC unblocked seven disinformation websites after shutting them down on February 25 in reaction to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as the websites no longer pose a threat, wrote the association. The shutdown of the Russia Today and Sputnik servers was ordered by the European Council, Fiala wrote.

Berta D. Wells