Czech press survey - April 3


03.04.2014 07:32

Prague - Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), who does not want provide money in support of adjourning the closure of the Paskov mine in north Moravia, and the mine´s owner Zdenek Bakala are both leading businessmen and rivals on the media market as well, Lukas Jelinek writes in Pravo today.


Předseda politického hnutí ANO a ministr financí Andrej Babiš. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal

They both also have a liking for politics. Bakala sponsored the rightist parties of the previous government coalition, Babis´s ANO trailed the winning Social Democrats (CSSD) by less than 2 percent in last year´s general election, Jelinek writes.

However, in the Moravia-Silesia Region, the CSSD beat ANO by 8 percent and Babis needs to weaken it there in the future, and that is why he is reluctant to save the Paskov mine and points to that the CSSD stood behind the privatisation of OKD, of which Paskov is a part, Jelinek writes.

That is why the suspicion that Babis wants to torment both Bakala and CSSD head Bohuslav Sobotka at a time need not be unsubstantiated, Jelinek writes.

Yet, the government as a whole should think of citizens first of all. Unemployment in the Moravia-Silesia Region is the second highest in the country and jobs need to be created, not abolished there, Jelinek writes.

To say the Czech Republic does not need foreign investment would be nonsensical, but an advanced state should also have its priorities and say it prefers advanced production and services to assembly halls, Zbynek Petracek writes in Lidove noviny (LN) about the Amazon logistics firm´s decision not to build a new facility in Brno.

True, Amazon assembles nothing, but it offers monotonous work to unskilled people, without any link to technological development or research and without a clear future, Petracek writes.

He recalls Philips´s investment in Hranice na Morave where the production of TV screens ended after a few of years and the industrial park has been abandoned.

A comparison of Hranice and Brno proves civilisation progress. Then PM Milos Zeman sent deputy police president to deal with the owner of the Hranice land who refused to sell the land to Philips at a low price, Petracek writes.

This would not happen any more now even though the deputy prime ministers do not like Amazon´s decision. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said: "The government has done its maximum to gain the Amazon investment," Petracek writes.

Petr Honzejk, writing about the same theme in Hospodarske noviny (HN), asks whether the whole story could have a different end, and says that it is a question.

The Brno town hall can be criticised for not having squeezed out from Amazon a price that would reconcile the locals to the construction of the logistics centre, Honzejk writes.

The state can be criticised for not having helped the town hall from the very start. This might not have been enough, or Amazon would not have been ready to pay as much as the locals would have wanted, but it should have been tried, Honzejk writes.

A partial solace is that the logistics centre is no dream investment. Expanding eastwards, Amazon is solving the problems it has with German trade unions, the real number of "domestic" employees may have been lower than claimed (1500), the pluses and minuses of similar investments with an unclear result are subject of heated discussions in neighbouring Poland as well, Honzejk writes.

Generally, it can be said that the state, regions and municipalities must cooperate more tightly where such big investments are considered, he adds.

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