Czech Republic Industry
The Czech Republic has an extensive engineering and metal industry. Especially vehicle production is important. The manufacture of textiles, shoes, glass, optical instruments and electronics is also important.
Pilsner type of beer originated in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň. The Czechs belong to those who drink the most beer in the world per person. A large part of the Czech beer is exported. There are plenty of large breweries and also many microbreweries.
The Czech Republic has a long history as an industrialized country. In the 19th century, Bohemia was the most industrialized region of the dual-monarchy of Austria-Hungary. During the interwar period, Czechoslovakia was among the 10-20 most important industrialized countries in the world.
During the communist years, however, industrial development stopped. In the early 1990s, production fell as traditional markets in the old Eastern bloc disappeared. But the Czech Republic underwent a rapid adaptation to the conditions of the world market. The country had the advantage of its central location, good communications, low pay and high level of education. Price controls were removed, companies were privatized and foreign investment poured into the country.
At the beginning of the 2000s, industrial production was estimated to be back at 1990 levels, and in 2010 it was estimated to have grown by another 30 percent.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Czech Republic. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
After the fall of the communist regime in 1991, the then Czechoslovakia was formally invaded by tourists. Tourism has remained an important source of income in the present Czech Republic. Germans are the largest group, followed by Slovaks and Americans.
It is mainly Prague with its many cultural and historical attractions that attract visitors. Old well-known health resorts such as Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) and Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) have been equipped to attract tourists. Karlstejn fortress outside Prague is well-visited as are the historic city centers of Olomouc, Telč and Český Krumlov.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
9 321 000 (2016)
7041,000,000 US dollars (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
4.5 percent (2016)
Jail against former minister is lifted
Jail against former Social Democratic Minister David Ráth is lifted. The High Court rejected the evidence obtained through the interception of telephones and IT equipment because the necessary permits for it were missing. In July 2015, Rath was sentenced to over eight years in prison for bribery.
Still a majority government in the Senate
The ruling parties retain the majority in the Senate after elections to one third of the seats. However, Sobotka’s Social Democrats are going back.
Defense against Russian propaganda
The Ministry of the Interior forms a special unit to respond to Russian propaganda, which is considered to have affected public opinion in the Czech Republic. Like many other Western countries, the Czech Republic considers itself subject to a Russian “information war”, which is mainly conducted through social networks with the help of Russian-friendly people in the country. While the government is loyal to the EU line towards Russia, there are high-level people, notably President Zeman, who reiterate the Russian view of conditions in eastern Ukraine and deny, among other things, that there were Russian soldiers there.
Populist winds in the regions
Populist ANO wins elections in nine of the country’s 13 regions. Prime Minister Sobotka’s Social Democratic ČSSD wins in just two regions. The turnout is only about 34 percent.
The Minister of Finance is threatened by a new law
Parliament’s lower house adopts a law that prohibits government members from owning media and states that companies where ministers have large ownership interests cannot get public contracts. The law is supported by all parties except the populist party ANO, which is led by Finance Minister Babiš, the country’s largest private enterprise with interests in most industries, including mass media. The law must be passed by the upper house in order to take effect.
Minister denies death camp
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš receives criticism for denying at a public meeting ahead of local elections in October that the Lety concentration camp, south of Prague, would have been used as a death camp for Roma during the Second World War. Babiš, who leads the populist party ANO and is tipped to become the next prime minister, claims at the meeting that the camp was only for “working shadows that provided themselves with crime”. Social Democratic Prime Minister Sobotka, who is Babiš’s political rival, demands the Minister of Finance on a public apology. “There is a very thin line between populism and Nazism, and I am afraid that the finance minister has now crossed that line,” says Sobotka. Babiš explains that he has been poorly formulated and apologizes to all for insulting some. According to historians, 326 Roma were killed in Lety.
Police reform threatens the government
The Interior Minister, Social Democrat Milan Chovanec, signs a decision to merge the police departments for action against economic crime and organized crime, despite the coalition partner ANO refusing to accept the change. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš from the ANO demands that the agreement on government cooperation be reviewed. According to the ANO, as well as parts of the prosecution system, the reform risks disrupting ongoing legal cases. Chovanec believes the criticism is an attempt to politicize the judiciary.
The country changes its name
The Czech state leadership recommends that the country be called “the Czech Republic” instead of the official “Czech Republic” in as many contexts as possible, including in the UN work. Thus, the country adapts to the practice that has been in force in Sweden ever since the state was founded in 1993. The change of name must be approved by Parliament.
Strengthened opinion against refugees
65 percent of the Czechs surveyed say in an opinion poll that they are against the country receiving refugees. In a similar survey in September 2015, 50 percent were against refugee reception. A further 28 percent say that refugees should be forced to leave the country as soon as it is possible for them to return home. President Zeman is one of the European political leaders who has made the most criticism of Muslim refugees, often in rough words criticized by both the UN and his own government.