Czech press survey - March 18


18.03.2014 08:01

Prague - The sanctions that the United States and the European Union imposed on Monday on Russian and Ukrainian political leaders responsible for the developments in Crimea may seem a big failure, Daniel Anyz writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.


Americký prezident Barack Obama. ČTK/AP Pablo Martinez Monsivais

He notes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel said previously the sanctions might cause massive economic and political damage to Russia.

But now it seems as if it is the EU that is afraid of possible retaliation, due to its business relations with Russia and its dependency on Russian gas supplies, Anyz writes.

As a result, the EU agreed on just formal measures that are harmless for Vladimir Putin and his clique, he adds.

However, the U.S. and the EU have been taking coordinated steps after a long time and they have reached an agreement, more or less, Anyz writes.

He says Moscow this time failed in its effort to divide the allies. The bureaucratic tanker EU is moving surprisingly fast and with relative harmony, Anyz writes.

The fact that the Skoda Auto car maker has good results brings hope that the situation in Czech economy in general is likely to improve, Petr Fischer says elsewhere in Hospodarske noviny.

Like the CEZ majority power utility or the Agrofert farming, food-processing and chemical giant, Skoda Auto with nearly 30,000 employees is in fact a state within a state that influences hundreds of other firms, Fischer writes.

He says Skoda has been succeeding primarily thanks to the global dimension of the Volkswagen Group.

Fischer notes that only about 6 percent of the newly produced Skoda cars is being sold in the Czech Republic.

The Czech state administration should take a lesson from the economic rationality of Skoda´s management, Fischer writes.

Lukas Jelinek writes in Pravo that there are two concepts of the nominations of state representatives to boards of state-controlled firms.

On Monday, the dispute over the nominations between the Social Democrats (CSSD) of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the ANO movement of Finance Minister Andrej Babis ended, Jelinek says.

As agreed in the coalition agreement of the three ruling parties, including the small Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), a special coalition committee will guarantee political supervision of the nominations, Jelinek writes.

However, this committee will be functioning only until Babis invents a different model that can prevent lucrative posts in state-controlled firms from being given to friends, Jelinek says.

The conflict has shown two extreme position: the CSSD considers state-run companies a loot of the individual coalition parties, while ANO would like to fill all the senior posts related to its ministries (especially those of finance, transport and environment) by itself, Jelinek writes.

ANO wants experts to sit in boards of its ministerial sections and firms controlled by its ministries. Though one might challenge the ability of these experts to defend the interests of the state, they would undoubtedly act in harmony with Mr Babis, Jelinek concludes.


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