Czechia has the third highest inflation rate in the EU

Plus: Konev street's residents can suggest renaming options, Czech government plans changes to health insurance contributions, and more. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.05.2022 17:06:00 (updated on 18.05.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

May 18, 2022

ECONOMY Record high inflation in EU, Czechia is third highest

Inflation in the European Union rose to a record 8.1 percent in April, three-tenths of a percentage point more than in March, suggests the Eurostat report. The Czech Republic has the third-highest inflation among the EU member states, standing at 13.2 percent in April. The only countries exceeding the Czech inflation rate are Estonia (19.1 percent) and Lithuania 16.6 percent).

Energy (+3.70 percentage points), services (+1.38 points) as well as food, alcohol, and tobacco (+1.35 points) contributed the most to annual inflation in the euro area. Non-energy industrial goods contributed 1.02 percentage points.

Prague Residents in Prague's Konev street can comment on its renaming

Residents and firms seated in Konev street, which bears the name of controversial Soviet Marshal Ivan Stepanovich Konev, can give their positions on its possible renaming within a poll the Prague 3 District Town Hall will conduct by the end of May, said the town hall spokesman. The street may be newly named after Karel Hartig (1833-1905), the first mayor of the local Žižkov neighborhood.

CYBERCRIME Czech road directorate web unaccessible after cyber attack

The website of the Czech Road and Motorway Directorate (RSD) has been inaccessible since the cyberattack that it faced on Tuesday morning, as well as the website with traffic information about the situation on Czech roads for drivers, said RSD spokesman Jan Rýdl told. It is still unclear when they may start functioning, he added.

ECONOMY Inflation, real wage to set healthcare payments for state-insured

The Czech government will propose indexing of health insurance contributions the state pays for state-insured people according to the assessment base increased by inflation and a half of the real wage growth, said Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura and Health Minister Vlastimil Válek. As a result, it is estimated that the state would pay CZK 1,878 per person per month next year, CZK 111 more than this year.

POLICE Prague police saves barricaded man threatening suicide

Prague police officers intervened at Na Slupi Street where a man, under the influence of addictive substances, barricaded himself in the apartment and threatened to jump out the window. A police negotiator managed to dissolve the situation, and the man had voluntarily opened the door and gave up his intention to end his life after talking to the negotiator.

TRAVEL Kazakhstan's low cost airline launches flights to Prague

Kazakhstan’s low-cost airline FlyArystan is launching flights on the Aktau-Prague-Aktau route. The flights will operate starting from June 12 on Sundays, with an additional flight on Thursdays starting from July 6, 2022. Prague is the first European route on FlyArystan’s international route map.

TRAFFIC Barrandov bridge demolition works begin

Due to the demolition of a bridge ramp, traffic will be withdrawn from two lanes to one for ten days, starting May 18. The first ten days are expected to cause the most difficulties for drivers, with Strakonická Street as the main bottleneck. The repair of the 1983 bridge, which is part of the city ring road, began on Monday and is spread over several years. This year, the work will last 110 days and will cost CZK 594.5 million. Read more on how to avoid the traffic during repairs here.

May 17, 2022

POLITICS Prague’s EU presidency will include focus on Western Balkans

The upcoming Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union should include a focus on the integration of the Western Balkans in the EU, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said after their talks in Prague’s Kramář Villa today. Nehammer said the Western Balkans must not be forgotten due to the war in Ukraine. Fiala said that progress in the Western Balkans countries' EU integration is in the interest of both Czechia and Austria.

Czechia is considering staging a summit with representatives of the Western Balkans countries. Fiala also said he supports Ukraine's accession to the EU, but the process must fulfill all the required conditions in the interest of EU individual countries and Ukraine.

The two leaders also discussed energy security and the possibility of expanding Austria's capacity to supply oil and natural gas to Czechia. Nehammer called Czechia an important partner but he reaffirmed Austria's opposition to Czechia expanding nuclear power. The Czech Republic will hold the rotating EU presidency from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2022.

TECH Road and Motorway Directorate websites hit by cyber attack

The Czech Road and Motorway Directorate (ŘSD) was hit by a cyberattack on Tuesday morning. It has knocked the ŘSD website and offline. A phone hotline was also unavailable. The websites contain traffic cameras from across the Czech Republic and information on the current traffic situation, among other things. The ŘSD confirmed the attack on Twitter, but said its safety, surveillance, and toll systems were isolated from the websites and were fully operational. The incident is being dealt with by the National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB).

ECONOMY ČNB head: Rate hikes have curbed inflation

Czech National Bank (ČNB) Governor Jiří Rusnok said that if the ČNB did not raise interest rates, inflation in the Czech Republic would now be at least between 20 and 25 percent and the crown's exchange rate would be CZK 30 per euro. Year-on-year inflation rose to 14.2 percent in April and reached its highest level since December 1993. The crown's exchange rate is now just below CZK 25 per euro. In support of his statement, he mentioned Estonia, which he said is a relatively stable eurozone country, has a zero interest rate and does not have to deal with the effect of the exchange rate, but has an inflation rate of 19 percent. Rusnok’s term as governor will end at the end of June. He will be replaced by current bank board member Aleš Michl.

INNOVATION Czech Railways plans to buy hydrogen-powered trains

Czech Railways (ČD) and train maker Alstrom showed off a hydrogen-powered train engine at Prague’s Hlavní nádraží. Hydrogen-powered trains will replace diesel-powered ones as part of the Czech Republic’s clean mobility plan for the future. "If we want to ensure emission-free transport services … then we must look for an alternative to these [diesel] trains," ČD CEO Michal Krapinec said. Most rail corridors in the Czech Republic are not electrified, so trains have to move under their own power. ČD said it was planning on buying several dozen hydrogen-powered trains, and an analysis is taking place to see which lines are suitable.

ENVIRONMENT Study: Czech environment is fifth-worst in EU

The state of the environment in the Czech Republic is the fifth-worst in the European Union, even though the country spends above the EU average on environmental protection. The country’s ranking in the environmental section of the Czech Prosperity Index is impacted the most by drought and high greenhouse gas emissions. Czechs scored better at reducing the production of municipal waste, coming in 15th out of 27 EU members. Sweden had the best environment in the EU, while Cyprus was the worst. The index was compiled by Česká spořitelna in cooperation with Evropa v datech. 

ECONOMY Škoda Auto starts making battery systems for electric cars

Škoda Auto has started producing battery systems for fully electric cars in its main production plant in Mladá Boleslav. It is the only production site for the battery systems for Volkswagen Group’s modular electric car platform in Europe except for in Germany. Škoda invested about CZK 3.2 billion in the production line. Up to 250,000 battery systems will be produced in Mladá Boleslav annually and about 250 employees will work on the new production line. In addition to Škoda cars, these battery systems will also be used in other models such as Audi and Seat cars. 

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