Press Conferences

16. 5. 2007 9:39

Press conference after the meeting of the government held on Wednesday, 16th May, 2007

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Good afternoon. I will start today rather untraditionally and I will start this press conference after the meeting of the government myself, mainly because I would like to introduce the new government spokesperson, Jana Bartošová. I introduce her to you and I give her the floor, so that she could moderate this press conference.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome here after the meeting of the government. I would like to welcome the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Petr Nečas, the Minister of Finance, Miloslav Kalousek and the Minister of Health, Mr. Tomáš Julínek. I give the floor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Before information on the meeting of the government, on the debate on those key legal norms, on new Internet web-sites of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and on the Act on Stabilization of Public Finances, which will have number of amendments that were discussed today, I would like to inform you on the position, which represents the position of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg concerning the response to the press conference after the meeting of the Austrian government, as I expect that question. We regard the Melk process and all the requirements resulting from it as fulfilled. We welcome the standpoint of the Austrian government concerning insuring passability of the borders; thus the Austrian part of the Melk agreement and corresponding requirement resulting from EU membership of our two countries will be fulfilled. They were not only Czech citizens who have been awaiting just such words of the Austrian government. We also welcome the position of the Austrian government that blockades do not contribute to a friendly dialogue and we also welcome its statement that Austria do not cooperate more intensively in the sphere of nuclear energy with no other country but with the Czech Republic. We offer the Austrian government, the Austrian side continuation of the security dialogue at higher level. The Czech government has already ratified information agreement, which brings such a higher degree of cooperation and unlike the Melk agreement it was the agreement according to international law. We will respond to the verbal note of the Austrian government after we peruse it. General public will certainly be informed about it. So much for the press conference of the Austrian government and now let me inform you on issues that the government debated at today's meeting, which was relatively long; I add that number of issues has not been debated and they were postponed until next week. As far as issues that have been debated are concerned, the most interesting ones were undoubtedly those concerning stabilization of public finances. I will leave it to the relevant ministers to inform you on them and to describe the process. I will just formally say that we have agreed on all details of those bills, in fact. The only one thing that is to be debated next week, after detailed discussion, is the issue of certain tax-deductible items, which we categorised into three groups. In the last group, there are those, which could be revoked and which will be discussed and put to the vote next week. There was a thorough debate on new bills, which concern and are part of the stabilization package; it was the Act on Excise Duty that concerned excise duty of fuels, i.e. coal, electricity and heat. The Deputy Prime Minister Nečas will inform you on further sphere, which has been discussed, and I must say that the discussion was without reservations in fact, I mean the part that concerned all those social bills of his ministry that are part of the stabilization measure package. And then there was a debate on materials submitted by Tomáš Julínek; we agreed on submitted wording in both cases. And what remains for us is to bind this package, to prepare explanatory note, so that we would be able, after debate on matters that have not been debated yet, to approve it next week including all those necessary resolutions; and I must say I am sorry about that misinformation, which was presented in the Czech press. As to other issues, which have been debated by the government and which are connected with this law, I would mention the Act on Electronic Communications and on introduction of more advantageous provision of services in the framework of telecommunication services for persons with diminished capability to work. Also in this case we agreed on more comfortable solution for those persons; it is not limited only for persons with special social needs, it is more general proposal. As to the other matters, we dismissed the proposal of deputies Jičínský, Paroubek, Hašek, Sobotka and others for promulgation of the constitutional Act on National Referendum. We have finished works on the Draft Government Legislative Work Plan, in which we solved several disagreements and I think we returned the Proposal to sell shares of the "Pražská energetika", joint stock company to the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. We debated one more issue, which I would like to specify in a more detailed way on behalf of Martin Bursík. It concerned the Position of the Czech government to the Communication of the European Commission and the European Parliament, so called Results of Review of the Strategy of Communities for Reducing CO2 Emissions from Private Cars and Light Commercial Vehicles. After a long discussion we set the government's position for the session of the Council scheduled for Monday, which would concern this sphere. I think that it will be good to read this position, because I would like it to be cited exactly: "The Czech Republic Supports the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol. The Czech Republic proceeds on the assumption that participants of the voluntary agreement between the car industry and the European Commission are striving henceforth to meet commitments concerning decrease of CO2 emissions in case of new cars down to 140 g of CO2 / 1 km by 2008. In case the European Commission finds out that the voluntary agreement does not lead to set target, the Czech Republic agrees with adoption of the binding target of 120 g of CO2 / 1 km by 2012 provided that the target is not set equally for all car companies, but that different model structure of the individual manufacturers is respected. The Czech Republic regards as necessary to set parameters based on which limits of CO2 for the respective market segments will be determined. The government of the Czech Republic will specify its position on the basis of results of impact study and measures of the Czech Republic". So much from my side as an introduction. I give the floor to the new spokesperson, Jana Burešová.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and I give the floor to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Miloslav Kalousek.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I cannot take the floor, as the Deputy Prime Minister is on higher level according the protocol, I really cannot.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I apologize for that, I respected the order in which issues had been debated at the meeting. Now I give the floor to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Petr Nečas.

Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Well, I do not have a liking for the protocol. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to state that we decided today on involvement of originally three separate acts into the only one complex, in the Act on Stabilization of Public Finances, based on which number of laws of the sphere of finance, social affairs and healthcare will be amended. As to the social sphere, the government agreed on all basic principles that are included in the concept of stabilization of public finance, which has been already published. I would also like to emphasize that the government adopted a resolution today, based on which it charged the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs to address chairmen of all political parties that have their representatives in the Chamber of Deputies and to decide on establishment of a commission, in which two deputies of the respective parties would be represented; the commission would start to debate concrete details of the pension reform. As we have already announced, the articulated bill of the first stage of the pension reform is prepared at present and we would like to start to discuss together with other political parties in the Chamber of Deputies, including the opposition ones, concrete parameters, concrete details of this articulated bill, so that the first stage of the pension reform could respond to those steps, which we are preparing in the sphere of stabilization of public finances. To improve awareness of the public, concrete and very detailed information is on the web-sites of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, where we describe the individual aspects of the social reform, it means why the reform is necessary; there are the individual presentations of the reform there, examples of net family incomes calculations, and there are also frequently asked questions there; for example what the situation is in case support of families with children, where both the public and journalists can find number of details, there is also concrete description of the first stage of the social reform. There is also the most discussed issue there; I mean the sphere of parental allowance, which is explained there in a very detailed way, so that the Czech public would be informed. There is also information on the second and third stage of the social reform; the government is debating nowadays the first stage but we want to continue with the second and third stage of social reforms. Above all, there is information on the sphere of family policy, on concrete measures that we are preparing and I would like to draw the attention of journalist in particular to the part no. 7 of these websites, where there are exactly specified all the measures, which the Social Democratic Party were willing to take as late as on 13th December of the last year when they thought they could be a governmental party, and which oppose now saying that these measures are asocial ones. I would be glad if you pay your attention to this issue, as well. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Petr Nečas and now I give the floor to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Miloslav Kalousek.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Thank you and I apologize for my prudishness regarding the protocol. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The government debated today in the framework of stabilization of public budgets nine bills concerning the tax sphere. Based on the discussion that has been held during last days, I proposed to the government certain small changes, which were adopted. Most of them are changes of technical character; to mention some of them, which might attract media, I could perhaps mention the fact that in case of introduction of a tool of partly tax-free interests, I do not propose the fixed parameter of 6%, but I propose floating parameter, which could respond to any changes of interest rates in the future. In case of property tax we proposed an amendment, based on discussion with mayors, concerning tax immunity in case of farming land tax; this immunity will not be mandatory, it will be facultative with respect to the situation in the individual municipalities. It means it will depend on the individual municipalities whether they apply immunity on tax-payers regarding farming land within their areas. The other parts of this tax remain without changes. Following the discussion on submitted proposals, the government decided not to apply limits in case of tax flat rates for traders, which were proposed in the bill and so these limits will not be included in the bill, which will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. In the second part of the meeting that concerned taxes, the government did not debate amendments to laws, but three completely new laws of environmental character; I mean the act on taxation of electricity, coal and gas. The government decided not to apply any exemptions in these laws, not even in case of gas and cogeneration units. We will submit to the Chamber of Deputies, in the framework of that package concerning stabilization of public budgets, equal conditions without exemptions for this or that commodity. We postponed until next week the discussion on immunity and tax deductible items; there are a lot of them in case of income tax of natural persons and income tax of legal entities. I offered rather philosophical view of this area today, which is sometimes "fetishized". I would like you to respect the fact that there are three categories of tax deductible items. It is as if a myth exists that a revocation of a tax deductible item would make the system simpler. It is not always true; revocation of certain tax immunity is often counter-productive, because tax immunity itself does not simplify the system. Therefore we divided up that problem into three categories. In the first category there are tax immunities, the revocation of which would simplify the law, but it would complicate life of tax payers and tax administration. It would be counter-productive, in fact and the system would become more complicated. A typical example: if tax immunity regarding the agricultural activities of non-entrepreneurial character up to 20 000 CZK was revoked, the law would be simpler but all those who grow something would have to submit tax returns. I state it as one of many examples of such items in the first category. In the second category there are tax immunities and tax deductible items, the revocation of which would make the system really simpler, but the government would have to resign to the fact that it uses taxes not only as a tool for collecting money but also as a fiscal motivating or de-motivating instrument. It concerns the debate, which has been held during last weeks – whether taxes are only a toll for collecting money or whether they also have the second role, I mean a financial instrument for motivation or de-motivation of certain behaviour. For example support of science and research, tax abatements, housing saving, mortgages, tax abatements relating to children, as the Deputy Prime Minister says correctly. Therefore we always ask whether the government wants through its tax policy to support science or families with children. Does the government want, through the tax policy, to motivate citizens to save money for old age, to enable them to have a chance to deduct mortgages? The result of the discussion is that taxes should have this role; it means that the government does not want to resign to the fact that the tax policy is also a financial instrument, which motivates or de-motivates certain behaviour. A typical example – tax deductible item concerning gifts for zoological gardens; I am not against zoological gardens, but it is a question whether just taxes should be instruments of their support. We could find tens of items like this. It means that there will be discussion especially on that third category at the meeting of the government next week. The government will decide how many items will be cut out. We are convinced that it is a step in the right direction and we do not thing we should proceed precipitously and take into consideration only technical issues. To say it simply, each item is a kind of political affair and it deserves to be debated.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Finance, Mr. Miloslav Kalousek and I give the floor to the Minister of Health, Mr. Tomáš Julínek.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: Thank you, good afternoon. We expect to take the principal reform steps in the sphere of healthcare in particular in 2008 and 2009. Briefly said it concerns defining the public health insurance claims concerning free of charge care and transformation of health insurance companies, so that they could perform their roles properly. For this period it is very important financial stability of this sphere and therefore measures, which were taken today open door to this reform and create stable atmosphere. As we are also facing situation in which there are certain problems with the budget, the Ministry of Health had to accept freeze of payments for persons, whose health insurance is paid by the state. Therefore, it is very important to have stable atmosphere in 2008, to avoid wastage, so that the system would be more effective. For this purpose serve especially regulatory fees, which have been thoroughly discussed in media and for this purpose also serve other indirect measures that are included in the law, which I submitted; nevertheless these measures ensure effective spending of means of the public health insurance, and ensure quiet atmosphere for changes I have mentioned. There was also possibility to explain in more detail certain issues, which had been subjects of questions of certain deputies; for example to give evidence that in my proposal pregnant women are absolved from paying fees in the framework of examinations that concern pregnancy. I also drew attention of my colleagues to the considerable effect of the 5 000 CZK limit, which would guarantee improving situation of many families, e.g. families with seriously ill children who have congenital defects or it would improve situation of seniors who will pay less than they pay nowadays, after adoption of that limit. They often pay 12, 15 or even 18 thousand crowns per year and that five-thousand limit guarantees them that in spite of introduction of fees, they will pay only 5 000 yearly. It means significant improvement of position of persons who are seriously ill and you know that my principal topic is – let us pay small amount of money for standard health care, let us participate in it, and in case something happens to us, when we are seriously ill, it concerns about 200 000 people in this republic, we will have enough money for that, because such care costs often 1million crowns a day. It also concerns children suffering from leukaemia, for example. It is also my response to possible immunity regarding fees for children up to 15 years of age, because the problem is that paediatricians would be disadvantaged in comparison with general practitioners for adult people. Besides, we would be short of some hundreds of million crowns for which it would be possible to cure relevant number of children who need millions of crowns for expensive cytostatic agents. That was simplified information on our debate and I had opportunity to explain certain problems in a more detailed way. Of course in the time between the meeting of the government and the session of the Chamber of Deputies there will be time for further discussion.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank members of the government and now there is time for your questions. Kamil Houska the TV Nova, please.

Kamil Houska, TV Nova: Good afternoon. I would like to ask you, minister if you could say whether you have decided definitely that children will not be absolved from those payments, or whether there is some other limit than those 15 years of age. Thank you.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: There is intermediate time regarding this debate, the issue is still open and my proposal has been accepted as it had been submitted for the present.

Kamil Houska, TV Nova: Does it mean without any limits?

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: There are certain limits in the proposal. When I was talking about explanation in a more detailed way, I drew the attention of my colleagues to provisions that had not been clear to number of deputies. It concerns the fact that children up to three years of age are absolved from paying fees, that it does not concern preventive examinations of children, it does not concern inoculation and children with congenital deceases. These were issues, which I needed to explain in more detailed way, so that it would be clear that families that have seriously ill children or families having several members are not attacked. That is why the proposal remained unchanged.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: In case of seriously ill children it is without age limit even in this proposal.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, please.

Daniela Písařovicová, ČT: I would like to ask all the three ministers, if they could say concretely, as these negotiations are dragging out, whether there will be some debate on these issues next week, whether there were certain moot points, which caused longer debate, whether some of ministers showed any reservations and why.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I will answer this question myself and I do not think it is necessary for other ministers to answer it. These negotiations are not dragging out; these negotiations were scheduled for two weeks. We debated all issues today, in fact apart from those tax deductible items, which will have to be properly prepared for the next week. We will approve the whole package next week. So, these negotiations are not dragging out. That was first thing. Of course in case of all issues there were serious debates and I regard as great success that all that social package and all that health care package were approved in submitted versions and in case of the Minister of Finance we approved all tax changes in the submitted version or based on amendments, which were debated at the meeting of the government. It was not bad that there were long debates on every law.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, please.

Hana Kadečková, Právo daily: I would ask the Deputy Prime Minister Nečas if he could specify something regarding the package of social laws. You say that they were approved in the original version, but still, I would like to hear it explicitly from you. Will not you accommodate requirement for making exemption in case of freeze judges´ salaries and will not you accommodate requirement for extension of possibility to draw funeral benefits to more families? Is the abatement for employers in case of handicapped persons really the only one change? Thank you.

Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Yes.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, please.

Martin Petříček, ČTK: I would like to ask a question. Prolongation of uranium mining was on the agenda today; did you debate this issue?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I have mentioned all the issues that had been debated. Those issues, which I did not mention had been postponed until next week. We did not want you to have to wait so long. Excuse me.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, please.

Jan Korselt, Reuters: I would like to ask Minister Nečas if he could tell us reasons of postponement of the privatization of the minority share in Pražská energetika, which had been submitted by you. Why have not this proposal been approved and what was its character like? And then, I would have a question concerning your Monday's session, as there was no information on it. Could you say how will the minority share package of the ČEZ be sold, or could you inform us on some other details, e.g., which banks will sell it?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I will answer the second question; you do not have information because any information could affect the price and we do not want to affect the price in this matter through media speculation. This is my answer to the question number two. Miloslav Kalousek will add information, if necessary. The answer to your first question is perhaps simpler. The Ministry, after a long discussion, had submitted a proposal, which was not accepted by the government, as the government is of the opinion that the swap operation is possible only in case of those who are interested in these shares and who are owners of shares of the ČEZ. Number of such applicants is limited and therefore negotiations will be held directly with them.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I would like to add information to the second question. I would like you to understand what the transparent sale of shares on the security market means. It means strict observance of legal norms and all the rules of the sale. It does not mean the sale in live broadcasting, because such a sale would not be favourable for state revenues. Sale in live broadcasting would logically advantageous for all players on the security market, who want to make money. We are interested in the only one thing, in the highest possible price of shares for the state, even at the expenses of stopping the sale and finding some other solution for revenues of the State Fund of Transport Infrastructure, in case we do not reach a fair price in the sale. We are not willing to sell it for a low price. I think it is logical and it is in the interest of tax payers. I just remind you that the Ministry of Finance sells on the security market government bonds amounted to tens of billion crowns every year and you have certainly noticed that there was no press conference held and that nobody said that they would be those brokers who would sell them and that they would start to sell on a specified date. I do not think you have such experience. The fact is that the sale of government bonds on the security market is not a subject of interest of media and I am very glad it is like this. But the extent and process of information is governed by the same rules and I ask you to take into consideration that the extent of information is limited by the fact that we have the only one interest – the highest price for the state, for a tax payer and we are ready to wait for the price.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question.

Vladimír Čechlovský, Právo daily: I would like to ask if any proposals, even if partial proposals of deputy Tlustý are included in the government's proposal and if not, why? And my second question – what tax deductible items, which were debated today, are the main candidates for revocation, maintenance or addition at the next meeting of the government. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I will answer the first part of the question and Miloslav Kalousek the second one. I suppose you must have noticed that one of principal requirements of Vlastimil Tlustý, which may be implemented, was met. The second thing is that it is hard to implement partial proposals of Vlastimil Tlustý or rather the Slovakian proposal, as it means in fact to formulate a new Act on Income Tax. It can be implemented only as a whole; I do not know what your idea is regarding partial implementation of that relatively revolutionary law. Miloslav Kalousek will inform you on the tax deductible items.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: If I may to add information to what the Prime Minister has said; it would be possible to implement some parts of the law provided it do not go against his own slogans, which accompany the law. The law has been submitted because it allegedly simplifies its content, but the opposite is true. It complicates the tax system significantly by revocation of tax immunities of the first category; I have already mentioned them. Nearly all people would have to submit tax returns. These tax returns must somebody take over, record, check and they must be administrated. It means that in consequence of this proposal would not be simplification, but on the contrary complication of the tax administration and significant complication of lives of number of tax payers who are absolved from the duty to submit tax returns nowadays. If the law is accompanied by the slogan that it supports the middle class and if you analyse its impact on taxation of families with children, then it is undoubtedly the highest taxation of families with children since 1989. It means higher taxation of families with children not only in comparison with the government reform, which reduce tax burden of these families, but in comparison with the existing state, and it concerns majority of families. If we say that the government wants to use taxes as a tool for motivation or de-motivation, i.e. for support of families with children in this case, then it is a proposal, which would be understandable in case of demographic curve in China, but it is rather inconvenient for the demographic development in the Czech Republic. There are interesting things there, of course. I very like solution of depreciations in the proposal of deputy Tlustý. The proposal in on the Internet, you can easily read it there. The approach of so called pool in three categories – 50 months, 100 months, 200 months – it is certainly a way in the right direction. It is a very interesting proposal and we would like to include it in our legislative in the future. As to the tax deductible items, we will debate them as I have already said. We just categorized them today and we agreed that we want taxes to have a role of fiscal instrument as well, and that they should not become only money-collecting machinery. The government will discuss the individual items after the session of economic ministers and I do not want to anticipate results of the discussion.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question.

Journalist, Slovenský rozhlas:I have two questions to the Prime Minister. The first one – are not you still certain about the majority of votes in the Parliament? Your weekend trip to Vysočina indicates it. So, I wanted to ask you whether the government, the coalition, insist on linkage of the vote of the Act on Stabilization of public Finances with the vote of confidence. And the second question, will this government find courage to take really reform steps?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: We have never said that this package will be linked together with the vote of confidence; you have really wrong information. We just clearly described in the coalition agreement what would happen in case we were not able to draw up the budget. That package of parametric changes is a prerequisite for it, by the way. If we are not able to draw up the reform budget, the coalition agreement clearly describes that mechanism, through which we will try to bring about early elections. It means we will link the vote of confidence to other law, about which a vote will be held that time and we will try not to pass it for the time period of three months. Then we would enable the President to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. It is evident that it is a very complicated mechanism; nevertheless it is the only one, which is possible. We have never wanted to link vote of this package with the vote of confidence. And regarding the second question, I would rather disagree with the opinion that the stabilization package shows less reform character in comparison with measures taken by the government of Mr. Dzurinda, which had not majority in the Slovak parliament either and it had to negotiate the support for that law. It was not always successful in passing a law in the submitted form. In this sense, we are convinced that we will succeed in passing the stabilization package, in drawing up the budget, which will be significantly lower, as far as deficit is concerned, than it was this year and that the government will implement pension reform in the proposed wording, that it will implement further measures in the tax sphere and further steps in the social sphere; in the very conclusion, I would like to say that the Czech economy is in much better condition that the Slovak economy had been before launching Dzurinda´s reforms. We show 6% growth, we have low inflation, we show surplus of the foreign trade and decreasing unemployment rate, which is three times lower than that in the beginning of Dzurinda´s reforms. In this sense reforms cannot be the same as the Slovak ones and they will not be the same.

Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: I would just add that also the Slovak ex-minister professor Radičová stated that even in case of those measures that we propose in the first stage, i.e. pension system reform, health insurance reform, we go further than Slovak reforms.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Excuse me for entering the discussion. I wanted to reject your premise, which was in your question, that we have some problems with stabilization of economy. We have no problems as it has been proved by number of indicators. The Czech Republic is in extraordinary good condition. The most significant risk of the future economic development is huge structural deficit of public budgets. The government had not quite 80 days to submit and approve several tens of amendments, which would lead to closure of scissors that have been opened in the sphere of public budgets. This is our main task, to remove the future economic risk. I do not think that there existed a government in Europe during last twenty years, which had to submit such a complex package of amendments to budgetary legislative, both on the revenue and expenditure side, before expiration of the first 100 days. Yes, it is a big problem of structural deficit reduction, but not problem of stabilization of economy. That was what I wanted to explain.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.

Jitka Zadražilová, Deníky Bohemia: I wanted to ask you, Minister Julínek whether the proposal for regulatory fee relief for children from children's home and people who are without means of subsistence remains in your proposal or whether you abandoned the idea or whether there will be a space for discussion.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: No, it remains in my proposal.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.

Alice Blažková, ČTK: Good afternoon. The Minister of Defence submitted a proposal today for removal of the Director of the Army Intelligence Service. May I ask how it turned out?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: She withdrew it.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.

Jan Korselt, Reuters: I would have additional question regarding the ČEZ. I really apologize, but you mentioned the sale of government bonds; it is just the case when auctions are organized by the central bank under pre-arranged conditions, under pre-arranged mechanism and information is available immediately after the end of the auction. Therefore, I would like to ask if you provide advance information on the mechanism of the sale of the ČEZ. Because certain part of the market could gain unfair advantage because it would have information. Could you say if there will be something you will be informing about before the transaction?

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Nobody had an unfair advantage. The state is just selling. You are using the future tense, but how do you know that we are not selling now? The state is just selling shares on the security market in compliance with valid legal norms through a commission-agent or through commission-agents. The moment the transaction is finished or the moment we stop it because of low price, then we will inform you in detailed way on the procedure, which we are managing nowadays with the only one target – to get the highest price on the market.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, are there any further questions? Please.

Journalist: I would like to ask you, Minister Kalousek, you said that in case of the tax reform there will be no exemptions. As there were number of exemption there, shall I understand that there will be no exemption in those three acts?

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Excuse me, there was an exemption proposed concerning the natural gas. And we were discussing exemptions for solid fuels and for cogeneration units. The result is that there will be exemption neither for gas nor for the cogeneration units. The government will submit it in the following way to the Chamber of Deputies.

Journalist: So, households, which are heated by natural gas, will be obliged, according to today's proposal approved by the government, to pay the tax, too.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: They are not absolved from it, according to this proposal.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: All households will be charged on the lower level of the directive, which is binding for us and they will not be given preferential treatment.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, any further question? It is not so and therefore we thank you for your attendance to the press conference.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Thank you and we wish you to have nice day.

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