Czech govt promises to modify policy statement after tripartite


11.02.2014 14:21

Prague - The Czech centre-left government will modify its policy statement to support employment of young people, exports and road construction as required by the trade unions and employers, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after a tripartite meeting today.


Český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka. ČTK Kamaryt Michal

The tripartite comprises representatives of the government, employers and trade unions.

"We have received several comments, some of which we will certainly have time to include," Sobotka said.

The government will be approving its policy statement on Wednesday evening. Negotiators of the CSSD and its coalition partners, the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), will meet at 18:00.

The confidence vote on the government in the Chamber of Deputies is scheduled for next Tuesday, February 18.

Sobotka said the government policy statement needs to be considered along with the coalition agreement that the three parties signed.

The representatives of the employers and trade unions previously challenged the government´s plans as unrealistic. They said it was rather unclear where the money needed to keep the government´s promises would be found.

The revenues of the state budget still remain hazy, while the expenditures could be 40 to 50 billion crowns lower, Czech Industry Confederation head Jaroslav Hanak said today.

Hanak said the draft government policy statement does not deal with information technology. The need of high-speed Internet access throughout the country should be added to the plans, he said.

He said support to exports and employment should be described in more detail and more attention should be paid to retraining.

Hanak said he called on the cabinet ministers to personally go to Brussels and not to send second-rate officials instead. He indicated that this was important for talks on the use of money from the EU funds and for other issues, too.

Hanak said he appreciated that Sobotka discussed the policy statement in the tripartite as he promised.

CMKOS umbrella trade union deputy head Vaclav Picl said the policy statement did not mention support to the unemployed.

Picl said the unions consider a restart of the economy and the fight against unemployment their priorities.

He said the CMKOS asked the government to present a timetable with the deadlines by which particular measures would be taken and with information on the spending involved.

Picl said on Monday the government priorities corresponded to those of the trade unions that demanded measures in support of economic growth, the creation of new jobs, the development of school and health care sectors and the fight against poverty, usury and corruption.

The tripartite council will be meeting once a month now. The next meeting is scheduled for March 13 and it should focus on the use of EU subsidies, pro-employment steps and transport issues.

According to the draft policy statement, Sobotka´s government will focus on support to businesses and the labour market, the civil service functioning and the preservation of the social peace. It pledges to push through a long-term sustainable pension system and investments in education and to create conditions for the euro adoption.

The government wants to implement the law on the civil service, improve services for citizens and prevent wasting public finance from taxes. It also wants to focus on the rationalisation of the state financial management, its property audit, the anti-corruption fight, the civic society development, law enforceability and the Czech Republic's active EU and NATO membership.

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