Recovery plan budget fails to meet requests by Kc100bn

Czech institutions and ministries are asking for Kc100bn more funds under the National Recovery Plan compared to the Kc171.5bn allocation Czechia is supposed to receive from the extraordinary EU package, Deputy Prime Minister and Industry and Trade Minister Havlicek said.

The funds are intended to restart the Czech economy and will be divided into six areas, namely digitisation, infrastructure, education, research, development and innovations, institutions, and health, the minister said after today's meeting of the tripartite council (representatives of the government, employers, and trade unions), adding that the plan was being finalised.The funds are part of the EUR750bn package (roughly Kc20,000bn) on which EU member state leaders agreed in July 2020 and whose aim is to help national economies overcome the crisis caused by coronavirus restrictions.

According to the Industry and Trade Ministry's original draft, the largest portion, Kc118.1bn, was to go towards physical infrastructure and green transition.

Those opposed to the plan's current version include Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Malacova, who said the sum did not reflect the situation Czechia would be facing once the coronavirus crisis was overcome. Only about 7 percent of the funds will go towards human resources and social system digitisation, which is insufficient, she added.

The Confederation of Industry in mid-February called on the government to provide Kc10bn for the digitisation of companies from the National Recovery Plan instead of the planned Kc1bn. The government must not use the funds for items that are included in the state budget, such as wages, new ministry departments and pensions, because these are not measures intended for an economic recovery, Confederation of Industry head Jaroslav Hanak said.

The tripartite council today also supported 2038 as the Czech coal exit date, which is in line with the Coal Commission's recommendation. The government is divided about the coal exit date, with some ministers, including Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, Health Minister Jan Blatny and Environment Minister Richard Brabec, supporting an earlier exit in 2033. The Finance Ministry is also in favour of the earlier date. In contrast, Havlicek said a failure to approve 2038 would negate the 1.5 years of the commission's work.

Czechia currently has no plan that would address the impacts of the Green Deal, or the European Commission's plan for making Europe climate neutral by 2050, CMKOS trade union confederation leader Josef Stredula said after today's tripartite meeting. The state should address the issues of job losses, new job opportunities and development of infrastructure for new investors, he said. The Green Deal's impacts have been calculated to total Kc4,500bn, Stredula said, referring to a study conducted for the Industry and Trade Ministry six months ago.

Source: ČTK

section Aktuálně