Natural resources and energy
The Czech Republic has good coal resources, which is the country’s most important energy source. In northern Moravia, coal is mined while lignite is mined in northern Bohemia. The former state coal mines are now privately owned.
At the beginning of the 2010 coal covered almost half of the country’s energy needs, while nuclear power and imported oil and natural gas together contributed a roughly equal share. Renewable energy sources, such as biofuels, solar energy and hydropower, were used to a small extent.
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Just over half of the electricity is extracted from coal, while nuclear power accounts for just over a third.
In order to reduce dependence on imported energy, the Czech Republic decided in 2012 to increase the production of nuclear power. The goal was that half of the energy consumption would come from nuclear power by 2025. The Temelín and Dukovany nuclear plants near the border with Austria would each have a new reactor. At the same time, government support for the development of renewable energy types was reduced. The protests (mainly from environmental organizations) against the decision became strong on both sides of the border.
The support for nuclear power is generally strong in the Czech Republic. The power holders see nuclear power as a way to secure the supply of energy, reduce imports and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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The extensive use of coal has led to major environmental damage. Sulfur emissions have made the air in the cities dangerous to health, especially during cold winter days. Especially Ostrava in northern Moravia has been affected by severe air pollution from the city’s own industrial facilities. Northern Bohemia, which also has extensive chemical industry, is also among the worst affected.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
3,860 kilos of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
6259 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
96 475 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
9.2 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
14.8 percent (2015)
Babiš government ready
13th of December
Andrej Babiš presents his new government. Six of the ministers are taken from the former coalition government with the Social Democrats and the Christian Democratic Union-People’s Party (KDU-ČSL), the former defense minister Martin Stropnický will be responsible for foreign policy and the former regional minister Karla Šlechtová will take care of the defense issues. Babiš now has 30 days to get the Chamber of Deputies to approve the new government.
The Czech Republic faces fines for opposition to EU refugee quotas
The refusal of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to take responsibility for asylum seekers in connection with the refugee crisis in autumn 2015 is now a matter for the European Court of Justice. It is the European Commission that has brought charges against the three countries that are now at risk of being fined for refusing to follow a decision taken by the EU Council of Ministers in September 2015. It was about all the member states sharing the responsibility for around 160,000 refugees who then was located in Greece and Italy. Based on the countries’ population and economic situation, a quota system was created for how many refugees a country would receive. The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary insist that the decision is an attempt by Brussels to limit their national self-determination.
ANO leader Babiš is appointed prime minister
President Zeman appoints Andrej Babiš, leader of the ANO populist party, as new prime minister. The new government, which will formally take office on December 13, consists almost exclusively of ministers from ANO. One of Babi’s first statements concerns the need to solve illegal immigration problems.
Sobotka’s government resigns
The government of Bohuslav Sobotka resigns formally to prepare the way for the new government. Populist Party ANO leader Andrej Babiš will take up the post of prime minister in the coming week.
ANO politicians are appointed new president
Radek Vondráček, from the populist party ANO, is elected President of the Chamber of Deputies. The post is important because if the president fails to form a government after two attempts, the constitution, according to the constitution, is allowed to try a third time. Vondráček has previously been Deputy Speaker of the House.
Zeman calls on the EU to lift sanctions on Russia
President Miloš Zeman calls on the EU to abolish all sanctions imposed on Russia in the context of the 2014 Ukraine crisis. The statement comes after a meeting between Zeman and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the Russian Black Sea coast.
17 announces interest in becoming Czech President
It is now clear that 16 candidates have registered to challenge President Zeman in the presidential elections in January 2018. The most prominent candidates include Jiří Drahos, former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the former prime minister Mirek Topolánek, businessman and poet Michal Horacek and car company Former chairman Vratislav Kulhánek.
The Ministry of the Interior will now examine the candidates and on November 24, nine of them will be given a clear sign that they may stand.
Babiš gets the formal assignment to form a new government
President Zeman formally assigns ANO leader Andrej Babiš to form a new government. The new Czech Parliament is scheduled to gather on November 20, when Bohuslav Sobotka is expected to submit his government’s resignation application. In order to take office as Prime Minister, Babiš must win a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies.
The Czech Republic on the road to minority government
The incoming Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will form a minority government with some partisan trade unions. In his dealings with other parties, Babiš has hardly found anyone willing to co-operate with him. The only one to offer cooperation is Tomio Okamura, who leads the right-wing extremist party SPD, but he does not want Babiš to participate.
Big election victory for billionaire Babiš
The populist party ANO, which is led by the big entrepreneur and for this, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, is moving ahead in the parliamentary elections, receiving almost 30 percent of the vote, almost three times more than any other party. It tentatively gives the ANO 78 of Parliament’s 200 seats, an increase of 31 seats since the 2013 election. The Social Democrats, who were the largest in the outgoing Parliament, are slipping from 50 seats to just 15, having received just over 7 percent of the vote. The Democratic Citizens’ Party, in the political center, becomes the second largest with 25 seats. Two newcomers, the Czech Pirate Party and the Right-wing Extremist Freedom and Direct Democracy, both receive 22 seats in the new parliament. A further three parties pass the five percent block and a number of party-bound candidates are also elected. The mission to try to form a new government is expected to go to Babiš,
Concerned about divided parliament
The two-day parliamentary elections begin after an electoral movement characterized by xenophobia and dissatisfaction with the “establishment”, despite the fact that the Czech Republic has very few overseas immigrants, strong growth and the EU’s lowest unemployment. Big favorite is former Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and his party ANO, despite being threatened by fraud charges. EU-critical parties on the political fringes are expected to move forward strongly and the forecasts suggest that the Czech Republic may have a fragmented parliament where it can be difficult to form a stable government.
Slovak court will examine the Czech challenger
The Constitutional Court in Slovakia is tearing up former court ruling that freed the Czech election favorite Andrej Babiš from suspicions of having been an agent of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. The Constitutional Court refers to the testimonies that freed him from former secret police agents. The case goes back to the regional court in Bratislava, just over a week before the Czech parliamentary elections.
Prime Ministerial candidate delinquent
Former Finance Minister Andrej Babiš is suspected of crime and a police investigation is being launched. He is suspected of garnering EU funding for two million euros on false grounds about ten years ago. Babiš denies the crime and appeals the decision. He leads the populist party ANO, which is expected to win in the parliamentary elections later in October. The EU’s anti-corruption authority Olaf is also investigating the suspicions against Babiš.
Former Finance Minister Babiš can be prosecuted
Parliament voted with great majority to deprive former Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš of his legal immunity; The billionaire and big businessman Babiš is suspected of illegally raising two million euros in EU support for the construction of a conference facility, called the Storknästet, near Prague. Prosecutors claim that the project with the conference facility was separated from the Babiš corporate group prior to the application for support to small businesses, but was returned there after five years when the violation of the support conditions was prescribed. Babiš denies the allegations and says they are invented to weaken his populist party ANO ahead of the October parliamentary elections.
Prosecution is approaching for ex-minister Babiš
A parliamentary committee recommends that legal immunity be lifted for Andrej Babiš, leader of the ANO government party and former finance minister. The billionaire and big businessman Babiš is suspected of illegally receiving two million euros in EU support for the construction of a conference facility, called the Storknästet, near Prague. Although the immunity is lifted, the police investigation is expected to last well beyond the October parliamentary elections. If Babiš is then elected, which seems obvious, he will again receive legal protection, whereupon the police can again demand that the immunity be revoked. The result may be that the Czech Republic gets a government-backer who is wanted by the police. The opinion polls suggest that the next government will be a coalition led by the ANO.
Presidential elections in January
The Czech Republic will hold presidential elections on January 12-13, 2018, the Senate President announces. About 20 candidates have already signed up, including the incumbent President Miloš Zeman. He has strong support in the countryside but is less popular with highly educated urban residents for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his support for colleagues Putin in Russia and Trump in the United States. If no candidate receives more than half of the vote, a second round of elections will take place on January 26-27.
The military is getting bigger and more expensive
The government announces that the country’s defense will be expanded from about 23,000 people today to 30,000 within five to seven years. At the same time, the defense budget’s share of GDP should be increased from 1 percent today to 1.4 percent in 2020.
Sobotka resigns as party leader
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announces that he will resign as party leader for the Social Democrats because of the party’s low opinion polls ahead of the October elections. New party leader becomes Interior Minister Milan Chovanec.
The EU is taking steps to stop refugees
The EU is launching a legal process against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for the countries refusing to accept refugees in accordance with the redistribution plan adopted by the EU countries. The process begins with the European Commission sending a letter to the respective government and demanding an explanation. Subsequently, the cases may go to the European Court of Justice. In that case, the court hearings are expected to last for several years. If the countries are folded, they can face heavy fines.
The crisis in the government solved
Prime Minister Sobotka says he accepts a new finance minister from the populist party ANO as a replacement for the controversial Babiš. The new finance minister is 72-year-old Ivan Pilný, who chairs the Parliament’s Finance Committee. He is formally appointed by President Zeman a week later.
The government crisis is continuing
President Zeman says he should ask the Constitutional Court to decide whether he must dismiss Finance Minister Babiš. He, in turn, says he is ready to step down and suggests that Deputy Finance Minister Alena Schillerová replace him. However, Sobotka refuses to accept it, since he believes that she is too close to Babiš.
Protests against the Minister and the President
Thousands of people are demonstrating in central Prague for the demand for the resignation of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and the resignation of President Zeman. At the same time, Parliament’s lower house is adopting a resolution accusing Babiš of “repeatedly” lying to the public and “abusing his media” to hurt his political opponents. The resolution is preceded by a heated debate over a sound recording in which Babiš appears to settle with a reporter from one of his newspapers about launching a campaign against his opponents.
The president demands the end of the government coalition
President Zeman demands that the cooperation agreement that formed the basis for the current coalition government in 2014 be terminated before he is prepared to dismiss the finance minister. According to the constitution, the president should dismiss a minister if the prime minister so requests. If the coalition agreement is terminated, the entire government will resign.
Sobotka remains but wants to kick rival
Prime Minister Sobotka takes back his decision to submit the government’s resignation application. The reason is that President Zeman said it could suffice for Sobotka to resign himself, but that the rest of the government could remain with a new prime minister. Sobotka believes that the president “mocks” the constitution, as it is customary for the entire government to resign in such a situation. Now Sobotka says that his only demand is for the resignation of Finance Minister Babiš.
Sobotka waits to retire
Prime Minister Sobotka says he waits until mid-May to formally submit his resignation application. That is expected to happen when President Zeman returned from a state visit to China on May 18.
The government is leaving
Prime Minister Sobotka announces that he and the entire government will resign, less than six months before the term of office should end. He makes clear that the resignation aims to put an end to the long-standing conflict within the government between him and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who leads the populist party ANO and who is controversial for his financial affairs. He is one of the country’s wealthiest business leaders and is suspected of questionable tax management.
Elections in October
President Zeman announces parliamentary elections on October 20-21. The latest polls show that the populist party ANO, led by Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, has a clear lead, well ahead of the dominant Social Democratic ruling party ČSSD.
The business interests of ministers are limited
Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a law that restricts ministers’ business activities in order to prevent conflicts of interest; The law prohibits members of the government from owning media, and companies that are more than 25 percent owned by a minister may not be awarded public assignments or government grants. The law forces Finance Minister Andrej Babiš to relinquish control of his large business conglomerate Agrofert, which deals with the production of food and chemicals and also owns media. Previously, President Zeman vetoed the law, but now Parliament is running over the president. The law comes into force within a few weeks.