Press Releases

13. 9. 2007 11:34

The Government Discussed the State Budget and a Local Referendum

At its meeting yesterday, the Government discussed several important issues, including the following matters.

Item No. 3 – A debate about the Draft Act on the State Budget of the Czech Republic for the Year 2008 was postponed until the next meeting of the Government. The draft act expects CZK 1,036.5 bill. in revenues and CZK 1,107.3 bill. in expenditures. The budget deficit in 2008 will therefore amount to CZK 70.8 bill., which means that the public budget deficit will translate into 2.95% of the GDP. Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said: "The discussion will be concluded by a vote, and the draft budget will very likely be approved next week. During the session, we discussed general issues concerning the main problems of the budget as well as individual details." Minister of Finance Miroslav Kalousek added: "I appreciate that the discussion and the attitude of everyone was rational because it is a known fact that during discussions about the state budget, no ministry is happy about the volume of allocated funds. However, I am satisfied because the Government as a whole is resolved to look for savings and stabilize public budgets. It is a tradition that drafts of the state budget are discussed during at least two sessions of the Government. Any changes that may be made will be of marginal nature. In such a case, we are talking about tens or hundreds of millions."

Item No. 6 Draft act amending the Local Referendum Act, the Act on Municipalities, and the Act on the Capital City of Prague: The amendment, which was discussed by the Cabinet for the first time on 23 May 2007, deals with penalties for a failure to implement a local referendum, among other issues. The prime minister summarized the extensive discussion about the proposed legislation as follows: "We adopted a law that deals with the existing instrument, where the Ministry of Interior could cancel the actions of a municipal assembly, if the same fails to respect a referendum. The main argument was the fact that no such case has occurred in the last 15 years. For this reason, we retained the political responsibility of municipal assemblies in the next election as the decisive parameter with regard to respecting the outcome of a referendum. As to local referenda, in the draft, which will be tabled in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, we changed the participation quorum requirement from 50% to 35%. A referendum is binding if the question asked is supported by at least 25% of the population of a municipality." The Government did not approve an MP's proposal targeting the same issue (Item No. 7).

The cabinet also decided on a change regarding the Brussels-based representative to the European Union. Jan Kohout will be recalled and replaced by Milena Vicenová. Deputy Primer Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said: "We expect that the actual switch will take place by the end of this year, so that the new representative will assume duties one full year before the beginning of the Czech Republic presidency."

Media Department, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic

print article   email   facebook   twitter