'A year of hope is coming': Czech PM delivers Christmas speech

In an address to the nation, Fiala acknowledged the recent economic difficulties faced by Czechia and promised that the worst is behind the country.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 27.12.2023 10:12:00 (updated on 27.12.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

In a Christmas address delivered to the nation on Dec. 26, Prime Minister Petr Fiala outlined a promising outlook for the Czech Republic in the upcoming year, asserting that the nation is poised for a strong rebound after enduring a series of challenging years. Above all, he pledged that the economic strains that have recently afflicted Czechia will be fixed.

The economy will definitely improve

"Inflation will retreat to levels reminiscent of three years ago," Fiala assured, drawing from forecasts by the Finance Ministry, which anticipates a slowdown in average annual consumer price growth from the current 10.8 percent to 2.9 percent in the coming year. "The relentless price escalations will cease, paving the way for a resurgence in real wages,” Fiala added.

Fiala – who became prime minister in 2021 – also highlighted the successful containment of the country's debt burden via the government’s controversial consolidation package. He projected a decrease in the public deficit to 2.2 percent of GDP from the current 3.6 percent, indicating a turn toward robust public finances in the Czech Republic.

A focus on various state sectors

Anticipating a record surge in investments, particularly in transport infrastructure, security, defense, and the modernization of the energy sector, Fiala expressed confidence in enhancing the nation's critical foundations. "Never before have so many highways and roads been built and completed in our country. We are also investing in our security and defense because it is important. And the Czech energy sector will undergo extensive modernization," he added.

He underscored a comprehensive transformation in the education sector and reiterated the government's commitment to ensuring the sustainability and accessibility of healthcare while finalizing the pension reform. He also mentioned that the country’s digitization drive will continue in 2024, making life easier for citizens.

Overcoming war and shooting

Reflecting on recent years, Fiala acknowledged the hardships faced by the populace, including the strains of inflation on earnings and savings, the aftereffects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the upheavals caused by geopolitical events such as the Ukraine-Russia war. 

Fiala also referenced last Thursday’s mass shooting in Prague. He said that Czechs were thinking of the families, loved ones, and friends of those affected by the attack. “We are all deeply affected by the brutal and indefensible shooting…despite all the tragedies, people believe that the power of good can defeat evil, that better times will come after hard times,” Fiala added.

Opposition – speech not authentic

Some members of the opposition were not fond of Fiala’s speech. Karel Havlíček, head of the opposition ANO movement's shadow government, accused the prime minister of showing a disconnect from the populace and an evasion of responsibility for the country's current state.

Havlíček accused Fiala of resorting to marketing rhetoric to portray success. He lamented Fiala's failure to address the government's shortcomings and proposed solutions, highlighting that without accountability, significant improvements remain unlikely. 

Leader of the right-wing opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party Tomio Okamura took to social media to criticize Fiala's speech, characterizing it as a confession of past deceit, "Dear children, until now I have lied to you, but from the New Year everything will be better,” he impersonated Fiala on X.

Contrastingly, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan praised Fiala's balanced portrayal of the country's situation. It was “a balanced mix of descriptions of the current situation and the real problems of the Czech Republic,” he said.

Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová commended Fiala's speech for acknowledging challenges while presenting a vision and solutions, emphasizing the virtues of composure and decency during a trying time.


  • Political scientist Lukáš Jelínek said in Lidovky.cz that "the speech was terribly imprecise. The prime minister made sure to appear as conciliatory as possible. He spoke very intensely about hope. But we [the Czech public] are already drowning so much that we have nothing left but optimism."
  • Petr Honzejk, deputy editor-in-chief of Hospodářské noviny, said in the online news site that Fiala's New Year's speech was "undoubtedly one of the best that the prime minister has ever given in public. In terms of formality, it was brief and striking, and in terms of content, it was engaging and hopeful."
  • Political commentator Petr Holec on social media site X branded Fiala's address as a "speech full of lies." He rebutted Fiala's claim that next year will see an end to an increase in prices and the beginning of real wages rising again. He pinpointed the government's consolidation package, which Holec claims will make Czech citizens poorer on average compared to the last two years.
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