14. 2. 2014 11:50
Policy Statement of The Government of The Czech Republic
The Czech Government, formed by the common will of the Czech Social Democratic Party, the ANO 2011 Movement and the Christian Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party, presents itself to the Czech public and the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament convinced that it is seeking confidence built on a clearly communicated programme of new government policies.
The Government shall guide the Czech Republic, on the basis of a socially and environmentally oriented market economy, towards prosperity, and shall seek to maintain social cohesion in the country.
The Government shall promote an economic programme for the Czech Republic which is based on the support of entrepreneurship, efficient and transparent government, an efficient labour market, a sustainable pension system, social peace in society, and investment in education, science and research.
The Government shall engage in active social dialogue with social partners as a means of maintaining social peace and shall establish an effective system for the exchange of experience between the Government and social partners.
The Government shall actively strive to create conditions conducive to the adoption of the euro.
The Government shall strive to improve the quality of legislation. Citizens and their families should feel free and content in the Czech Republic and be proud of the country. Traders, entrepreneurs and companies should engage in business safely and freely, pay taxes and provide jobs in the Czech Republic. As a matter of priority, the state shall improve its own operations and, together with the implementation of the Civil Service Act, services for citizens, shall hold taxpayers in esteem, and shall avoid wastage in the redistribution of the taxes they have paid.
2. Government priorities
The Government shall promote the following priorities for the development of the Czech Republic:
- The development of conditions for free enterprise, law enforcement, the kick-starting of sustainable economic growth, the increased competitiveness of the country’s economy, job creation, with an emphasis on vulnerable groups and problem regions, effective assistance to people living in hardship, and the balanced development of regions and municipalities. Efficient use of European funds in the pursuit of these objectives and the intensification of infrastructure construction.
- Effective solutions to all proceedings of the European Union pending and prepared against the Czech Republic, and the maximum efficient exhaustion of funds under programs for the 2007–2013 programming period. The development of effective management and control systems for the 2014-2020 programming period, leading to the establishment of fair conditions and simpler administration for applicants.
- The stock-taking and reconstruction of the state. The rationalisation of the state’s economic management. An audit of each ministry. An audit of state assets, and, where appropriate, the monetisation thereof in an indisputable and transparent manner. A ban on the state from doing business with companies with unclear ownership. The elimination of all forms of waste of public resources. Transparent procurement. The computerisation of invoices in the state sector and the transparent disclosure of expenditure paid from taxpayers’ money, including small-scale contracts. The reinforcement of the public administration management and control system and the extension of the State Audit Office’s powers.
- An uncompromising fight against all forms of corruption, serious economic crime, usury, the abuse of enforcement procedure and unfair insolvency. Support to increase the financial literacy of Czech citizens.
- The development of high-quality, universally accessible public services in education, health, the social system, transport and security. Universal support for education, science, the arts and sport.
- The development of civil society, the activities of non-profit organisations and public participation in decision-making and the administration of public affairs as an essential part of a functioning democratic rule of law. The Government shall submit a draft constitutional law on general referendums, including referendums based on popular initiatives, which will allow citizens to decide directly on major issues related to the functioning of the state.
- Active membership of the European Union and NATO in accordance with the Czech Republic’s interests, action within the United Nations to eliminate risks to international peace, the promotion of equal cooperation between nations and involvement in efforts to counter international terrorism and cyber terrorism.
- The adoption and implementation of a well-functioning, high-quality civil service law. This law must ensure the full depoliticisation of public administration, clearly define criteria for the appointment and remuneration of officials, lay down conditions for career advancement, and guarantee that officials are highly educated.
- Effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in public administration, combined with support for the internet economy. The faster implementation of high-speed internet. The adoption of a strategy to increase digital literacy and develop the e-skills of citizens.
- The strengthening of parliamentary control of the Czech Republic’s intelligence services. The Government shall submit a bill establishing the scope and method for the control of intelligence services by the Czech Parliament. This law shall be based on the principle that all the Czech Republic’s intelligence services must be subject to parliamentary control. The law will introduce a two-tier system of control. Therefore, in addition to the establishment of control bodies within the Chamber of Deputies, the Czech Parliament shall also set up a derived expert control body composed of trusted, security-cleared citizens respected by the public.
In its activities, the Government shall strive for the substantive and temporal fulfilment of these priorities.
3. Ministerial priorities
Government policy shall be based strictly and entirely on the Coalition Agreement between the ČSSD, the ANO 2011 Movement and the KDU–ČSL for the 2013-2017 Electoral Term. Individual ministries shall pursue the following priorities in particular:
3.1 Ministry of Finance
- The Government’s budgeting priorities for 2015 shall mainly focus on identifying operating savings, and on restricting, in particular, the outsourcing of legal services, marketing and consulting. The Government shall introduce the concept of state expertise for the entire field of capital construction under public contracts. In addition, mandatory and quasi-mandatory expenditure under the central government budget shall be reviewed. During its term of office, the Government shall ensure compliance with the Maastricht fiscal criteria, especially the maintenance of the government deficit below 3% of the gross domestic product. The Government shall also focus on the preparation of an amendment to the budgetary rules, i.e. the law according to which the budget is prepared. This amendment shall include a stronger role for the Ministry of Finance in the management of the liquidity of state resources, the amendment of rules on the implementation of funds from the European Union budget entailing the introduction of a stronger role for providers, and the implementation of the Directive on National Budgetary Frameworks.
- The Government shall take the measures necessary to improve the efficiency of tax and customs duty collection, prevent the abuse and circumvention of tax rules (for example, by digitising tax administration, introducing measures aimed at the effective control of revenues reported from retail sales of goods and services, extending the rules on VAT reverse charging, and improving communications between tax authorities, the Customs Administration, the Financial Analytical Service of the Ministry of Finance, the Czech Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office). The Government shall strive to increase the taxation of gambling. The Government shall take the necessary steps concerning proof of the origin of acquired assets and, in this regard, shall take reasonable measures under tax and criminal law. The Government shall seek changes in tax legislation which – while maintaining tax revenue – will reduce the cost of tax administration to the honest taxpayer.
- The Government shall promote the centralisation and control of all state administration accounts in the Treasury. The Ministry of Finance shall streamline the management of state liquidity, in particular by introducing cash pooling. The consistent involvement of all state institutions in the Treasury shall facilitate the active, efficient and transparent management of expenditure centrally. The Government shall disclose data from the Treasury to the public and prepare informative material on the central government budget for citizens.
- All immovable (and, at a later stage, significant movable) state property shall be centrally recorded and managed, resulting in the rationalisation of the portfolio of immovable property and in the optimisation of the use thereof. Purchases of goods and services shall be centralised to the maximum extent possible. The state shall actively assert its property rights (compensation for damage, unjust enrichment, etc.), especially through the Office of Government Representation in Property Affairs, the legal competence of which shall be further strengthened and strictly adhered to.
- The Government shall seek the elimination of duplicate ex-post controls. It shall expand the powers of the Supreme Audit Office and create a new law on an internal management and control system that will reinforce managerial accountability and enhance functional independent auditing. The aim is to for most expenditure to be checked before the payment of invoices.
- The Government shall ensure the more efficient collection of taxes from lotteries and similar games and shall prevent evasion from the operation of illegal lotteries and games on the internet. The Government shall harmonise legislation in the field of online betting and lotteries with European Commission requirements and secure additional tax revenue by taxing lotteries and games on the internet, regardless of whether they are operated by Czech or foreign companies. The Government shall also seek to cut down on slot machines and, in particular, to reduce the number of people dependent on these machines. The Government shall strive to concentrate gambling establishments into more controllable units.
3.2 Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
- The Government shall prepare an amendment to the Pension Insurance Act relating to the regulation of conditions for pension increases as of 2015. The Government shall terminate the rule on the reduced indexation of pensions and shall ensure that, from January 2015, pensions are again increased by the 100% increase in consumer prices and by one-third of the increase in real wages. It shall establish an expert committee to terminate Pillar II and propose changes to the pension system, and to draft a long-term systemic solution to family policy in the Czech Republic. The Government shall prepare a detailed proposal to close retirement savings schemes while respecting the ownership rights of the participants, and shall draw up a comprehensive and coherent summary of specific proposals for changes in the pension system that will establish a long-term stable structure and the proportionality of benefits granted.
- The Government shall create conditions for the contractual and technical establishment of a system for the payment of non-insurance social security benefits and state employment policy benefits, including all ancillary applications, via the infrastructure and information systems at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
- The Government shall prepare a proposal to adjust the minimum wage (an amendment to Government Regulation No 567/2006 on the minimum wage) and raise the minimum wage after consultation with social partners so as to ensure a dignified life for workers devoid of social benefits. The minimum wage shall be sufficiently motivational and should gradually approach 40% of the average wage, taking into account the economic and social contexts.
- The Government shall create a transparent, efficient and fair system for the funding of social services, especially in connection with the transfer of the funding of social services to the regions as of 1 January 2015. The Government shall secure sufficient financial resources from the central government budget for social services, which shall not be lower than in 2014 and shall take into account the rate of inflation. The Government, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, shall address the issue of cross-cutting social and health services.
- The Government shall stabilise and increase the staffing of branches of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic with a view to performing employment policy activities and disbursing non-insurance social benefits, including the necessary social investigations. It shall develop an active employment policy with a focus on particularly vulnerable groups, such as women with children, young people under 30, people approaching retirement age, low-skilled people, people at risk of social exclusion and people with disabilities. It shall also ensure effective checks to combat illegal labour and investigate employment relations (working and wage conditions).
- The Government shall propose a temporary 12-month exemption from social security contributions for those employers who employ persons particularly vulnerable in the labour market. The contributions for these employees shall be covered by the state. Citizens vulnerable in the labour market shall be defined in a way that minimises the possibility of abuse of this measure, and shall include university graduates, persons aged 50 years and older, and parents returning to the job market after maternity leave who, prior to finding employment, are registered as unemployed. Support shall be limited to employers who, fail in the reporting period, do not reduce their number of employees. The amount of such support per employer shall be capped. This support shall be designed to be essentially budget-neutral.
3.3 Ministry of Health
- The Government shall ensure the economic stability, efficiency and transparency of the public health system, health insurance companies (including VZP) and health service providers.
- The Government shall insist on compliance with the principle of solidarity between the healthy and the sick, the non-profit making and the universal availability of quality health care paid for by public funds. It shall create a predictable, stable system, consistent with average costs, for the coverage of all types of health care. The principle of identical payments for an identical scope and comparable quality of care shall apply. The Government shall introduce the regular indexation of payments for the state insured, and shall push for a reduction of VAT on medicines. It shall introduce an equitable model for the redistribution of contributions that takes into account the actual expenditure on costly diagnoses and results in major system savings, especially in the cost of drugs and medical devices. The Government shall promote a transparent and auditable system of public funds, introduce the mandatory disclosure of contracts between health insurance companies and care providers, as well as contracts between public hospitals and their suppliers. The Government shall not reintroduce fees for hospital stays. With effect from 1 January 2015, prescription fees and outpatient treatment fees will be abolished. Only the regulatory fee for the use of emergency services will remain in place. The central government budget will compensate the public health insurance system and, subsequently, care providers for the funding shortage associated with the abolition of regulatory fees.
- The Government shall consistently keep ownership of healthcare facilities and health insurance companies separate and shall prevent the mutual or third-party control thereof.
- The Government shall strengthen state control over the flow of health insurance and the functioning of health insurance companies. It shall ensure state control over the introduction of the DRG system by having the Ministry of Health take over this activity from the National Reference Centre. The Government shall further enhance the effectiveness of the State Institute for Drug Control and its drug policy and pricing in order to ensure better access to medicine for citizens.
- During 2015, the Government shall submit a draft law on public non-profit hospitals to facilitate the more transparent and efficient management thereof. In this respect, it shall foster conditions for the creation of accepted practices in professional medical care.
3.4 Ministry of the Environment
- The Government shall establish conditions for the maximum utilisation of funds under the Operational Programme Environment in the 2007-2013 programming period for meaningful projects that contribute to environmental improvements in the Czech Republic. The Government shall seek to simplify conditions and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy in the utilisation of funds under the Operational Programme Environment in the new 2014-2020 programming period in order to minimise the risks of losses in the use thereof. The Government shall prepare an amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act according to European standards in order to set clear rules and deadlines in the EIA process. The Government shall decide on an effective, uniform and simple system for the regulation of water supply and sewerage systems, for example by setting up a central regulator in this area within the Energy Regulatory Office.
- The Government shall secure adequate funding which, via the New Green Savings scheme, will allow the programme for the insulation of public and private buildings to continue, thus contributing to the development of the construction industry and creating many thousands of jobs. The Government shall prepare for the implementation of a Green Programme in regions with a long-term poor-quality environment (the Moravian-Silesian Region, the Ústí nad Labem Region), drawn up by the state with contributions from towns and municipalities and major businesses. The Government shall also make maximum use of cross-border cooperation and European Union cooperation. The Government shall draft a law reducing the Czech Republic’s dependence on fossil fuels insofar as this is not detrimental to the country’s competitiveness. The Government shall support the continued modernisation of individual furnaces (the “boiler subsidy”). The Government shall not allow further exploration and subsequent mining of gold or the continuation of exploration and subsequent production of shale gas in the Czech Republic.
- By mid-2016, the Government shall prepare an amendment to the Waste Act in order to reduce the share of landfilled waste and increase the recycling of waste, including biological waste, to the level reported by developed European countries. The Government shall encourage waste prevention schemes and establish a system of incentives and fees that will motivate citizens to sort waste.
- By mid-2016, the Government shall prepare a strategy for adapting to climate change in the Czech Republic, including specific projects for water retention in the landscape, the restoration of waterways and floodplains, the consistent protection of groundwater, etc.
- The Government shall maintain the current legislatively guaranteed level of civil rights relating to the environment, and shall advocate more environmental education in schools.
3.5 Ministry of Industry and Trade
- The Government shall restore the system of incentives for foreign and domestic companies, with a key role to be played by CzechInvest, including via its foreign branches, in the organisation of such incentives. The Government shall formulate new incentives to stimulate projects with high added value, with a high proportion of research and development, or strategic services, and to encourage investors to do business and reinvest in the Czech economy over an extended time frame .
- The Government considers goods and service exports to be an important driver of economic growth in the Czech Republic’s open economy. To promote exports, the Government shall make maximum use of economic diplomacy and institutions such as CzechInvest, CzechTrade, the Czech Export Bank, the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation and CzechTourism. In addition to European Union countries, the Government shall support the expansion of exports into priority countries and countries of interest defined in collaboration with the private sector, where Czech companies have the opportunity to apply embedded high added value.
- The Government shall support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, which remain an untapped reserve of growth and employment. One way forward shall be the development and capital strengthening of Českomoravská záruční a rozvojová banka, a.s. (Bohemian-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank), a 100% state- owned bank with the wherewithal to finance and develop small and medium-sized business in particular. The Government shall promote the training of new entrepreneurs and, by simplifying the Public Procurement Act, their access to public contracts. The Government shall take action to minimise the administrative burden faced by businesses.
- The Government believes that the efficient use of European Union funds is a key priority in the support of industry. The Government shall give particular priority to projects that maintain or create jobs, especially in regions hardest hit by unemployment.
- The Government shall support the modernisation of industry in order to reduce its energy consumption. The Government shall arrange for the State Energy Policy and State Mineral Policy to be updated. The Government shall safeguard the country’s energy security, resistance to large-scale malfunctions and disruptions in energy supply, and sustainable energy. In this light, the Government shall strive for the environmental sustainability of energy and seek to maintain high energy supply security while keeping to reasonable prices so that the Czech economy, and especially the manufacturing sector, is competitive. The Government shall also conserve energy resources for future generations and defend the state’s interest in laying down conditions for mineral mining and use. The Government shall promote reduced energy consumption in public and private buildings, with a positive effect on the Czech Republic’s energy balance. It shall therefore encourage their widespread insulation and the use of energy- efficient technologies and appliances. Where economically advantageous for the Czech Republic, the Government shall support the construction of new nuclear units at Temelín and Dukovany which, in the long run, shall replace a significant portion of coal energy as it reaches the end of its life. The Government also believes it is important to ensure that Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant continues to operate after 2025.
3.6 Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
- Education is a cornerstone of Government policy. Therefore, the Government shall prepare a long-term strategy for the development of education and seek support for this strategy across the political spectrum and among professionals. A National Council for Education shall be established as a platform for professional discussion, the formulation of key paths in the development of the education system, and the tackling of current issues in education. All of the following steps shall be accompanied by an emphasis on improving the quality of education at all levels and by better teacher training in cooperation with the education faculties.
- The Government shall provide systemic support for preschool education. Drawing on EU funds and the newly established national fund, the Government shall provide municipalities with the resources required to build adequate capacity for nurseries and primary schools. It shall make the final year of pre-school education mandatory.
- The Government shall change the system for the financing of regional education and shall promote technical and vocational programmes so that the education system better reflects the needs of the labour market. The Government shall substantively and financially stabilise state school-leaving examinations and introduce proficiency examinations for certain specific apprenticeships.
- The Government shall analyse higher-education legislation and then submit proposed amendments. It shall guarantee free higher education in public and state higher-education institutions – tuition and enrolment fees will not be introduced.
- The Government shall introduce effective career rules for teachers with clear incentives linked to their appraisals as of 2015. It shall also seek a gradual increase in funds for the wages of teaching and non-teaching staff and for the modernisation of schools and their equipment.
- The Government shall be committed to the transparent financing of sport, shall set criteria for state aid for international sports events in the Czech Republic and shall draft a law on the promotion of sports.
3.7 Science, Research and Innovation
- The Government shall promote the balanced and effective management of research, development and innovation (RDI) so that the results, as a whole, contribute to the social and economic development of the Czech Republic and are long-term sustainable. New growth sectors of the digital economy, and cultural and creative industries, shall also be taken into account.
- The Government shall take this action primarily by enhancing the quality of RDI management and increasing motivation within the private and public sectors to use RDI results. The Government shall also take into account the important role played by social sciences as a source of knowledge and reflection for the social and economic development of the Czech Republic.
- The Government shall create conditions for a change in the way research institutions and projects are evaluated and funded to reflect their real contribution to the development of the Czech Republic. In particular, it shall reduce the dependence of basic research on targeted funding and shall reduce the advantages enjoyed by scale at the expense of quality.
- The Government shall strive to increase the quality of RDI and improve the contribution made by RDI to the long-term prosperity of the Czech Republic, in particular by improving the activities of the Government Council for Research, Development and Innovation, creating conditions conducive to the mobility of RDI staff and PhD students, and strengthening doctoral disciplines that relate to the needs of the economy in applied fields.
- The Government shall increase systematic support for involvement of Czech research institutions and enterprises in international bilateral projects and European Union projects (including the in the ERA), and shall support applied research, including in the social sciences, e.g. by defining and increasing the number of applied research programmes, by engaging in consistent work with RDI priorities, by promoting functional facilities for technology transfer, and by supporting the application sphere, including the use of appropriate models for the use of venture capital.
3.8 Ministry of Transport
- The Government shall prepare and submit a law on linear structures which will simplify the processing of building permits for linear structures, including environmental impact assessments and conditions regarding the procurement of the land in question. The Government shall analyse existing project preparedness and opportunities to begin construction, and review the status of mortgaged buildings and the potential to continue them, including the financing conditions. The Government shall not restrict the volume of funds channelled into infrastructure, but shall try to use them effectively, especially as regards the utilisation of European Union funds. The Government shall complete segments of infrastructure connected to the TEN–T network. It considers a priority to be the construction of motorways and expressways, such as the R52, R6, R35, R43, R49, D3, D8, D11, the Prague Ring Road and linking roads, facilitating high quality connections with our neighbours. The Government shall consistently establish a system of preliminary, interim and ex-post financial controls relating to the creation of the functional methodical management of individual departments of investor organisations within the Ministry (the Road and Motorway Directorate, the Railway Infrastructure Administration, and the Waterways Directorate).
- The Government shall ensure the orderly, economical and, above all, lawful operation of all systems in the central vehicles register and other transport sector databases. The Government shall introduce tolls for road vehicles only where there are preconditions for a revenue stream based on a thorough analysis. The Government shall set tolls so that transport costs encourage the development of Industry in the Czech Republic and are compatible with surrounding countries. It shall pave the way for the transformation of the Road and Motorway Directorate into a state enterprise so as to ensure that efficient toll collection after 1 January 2017 is fully under the control of the Ministry of Transport.
- The Government shall prepare for the full implementation of Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a single European railway area, which will relieve the national carrier, Czech Railways, of the costs associated with the operation of its own service facilities, but which are also used by competing carriers. The Government shall set rates for the use of such service facilities. The Government shall support the transfer of cargo from road to rail.
- The Government shall ensure that services provided by external contractors are placed under the control of the expert services of the Ministry of Transport. In this way, it shall fulfil, with dignity, the responsibility of one of the largest contracting authorities in the country, creating jobs and reducing unemployment.
- The Government is aware of the importance of having the headquarters of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GSA) in Prague, and of the importance of space-related activities for the further growth of Czech industry’s technological and innovation standards, and shall continue to support the further development of transport telematics and space-related activities in the Czech Republic in close cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), the GSA and the European Union.
3.9 Ministry of Agriculture
- The Government shall create conditions to increase the Czech Republic’s self-sufficiency in basic agricultural commodities by laying down terms conditions under the reformed Common Agricultural Policy and Rural Development Programme which will push forward the development of balanced agriculture and food processing in the Czech Republic. The Government shall increase the competitiveness of Czech agriculture and food processing. It shall strengthen and promote investment in primary production and downstream processing, especially in livestock production, fruit growing, vegetable growing and horticulture, with an emphasis on the production of higher value added and job creation.
- The Government shall focus on improving consumer protection and food safety in the Czech Republic through effective food market surveillance with the primary objective of preventing deceptive practices. The Government shall introduce strict rules for retail chains in order to improve the quality of food sold and to create a broader platform for high-quality Czech food. The Government shall seek to increase consumer awareness of the quality parameters of production, including origin.
- In water management, the increased protection of citizens and land from flooding will be crucial. Therefore, the Government shall introduce additional stages under the Flood Prevention Programme focused on water retention in river basins, and shall take flood control measures mainly in areas that are least protected against flooding. The Government shall protect the quality of arable land and land resources.
- The Government shall take action to change the economic policy of the state forestry enterprise Lesy České republiky, s. p., in order to increase employment in individual regions and strengthen the importance of the small and medium-sized forestry and timber industry.
- The Government shall ensure the completion of decisions at national level under the Common Agricultural Policy in accordance with its programme objectives, and shall set rules for the distribution of agricultural subsidies in the following 2014-2020 period. The Government shall defend the equal status of Czech farmers and food producers within the European Union, and shall ensure the continuity of national support and the reintroduction of green diesel.
3.10 Ministry of Culture
- The Government wishes to channel a share of central government budget expenditure approaching one per cent into culture as a public service, forge a direct link between tourism income and expenditure on the conservation and maintenance of the heritage fund, and make consistent use of European Union funds and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism to repair monuments.
- The Government shall pass a law on culture, a law on a public institution in the arts which eliminates the shortcomings of today’s organisations partly funded from the public purse, depoliticises them and ensures their stable funding. a new law on monuments, and amendments to the Copyright Act and media laws
- The Government shall promote a new model for the presentation of the Czech Republic abroad, based in part on exports of Czech art and Czech culture.
- The Government shall make access to public cultural institutions easier, e.g. by introducing a day of free admission and family discounts, and shall advocate a more effective model for the development of children’s creativity in the form of art activities and cultural experiences.
- The Government shall support the amateur art activities, regional culture and public cultural services provided by non-profit organisations.
3.11 Ministry of Justice
- The Government shall intensify the supervision of bailiffs to prevent abuse of enforcement proceedings and debt recovery, and shall ensure that bailiffs, as representatives of the state, exercise their rights in a way guaranteeing the rights of both the creditor and the debtor. The costs of enforcement and the bailiff’s fee must be consistent with the actual work performed by bailiffs. Enforcement according to the Rules of Enforcement shall be inadmissible in cases where obligations can be enforced in administrative enforcement procedure.
- The Government shall continuously the implementation of the new Civil Code and related legislation in practice, and, based on the results, shall prepare an amendment eliminating the shortcomings, gaps and uncertainties.
- The Government shall be committed to the preparation and implementation of a new Code of Civil Procedure which will significantly accelerate litigation while guaranteeing the right to a fair trial.
- The Government shall promote new legislation on criminal proceedings that guarantees the fair and expeditious hearing of criminal cases, including more effective means of confiscating the proceeds of crime. At the same time, the Government shall protect and improve the process of compensation for victims of crime.
- The Government shall promote a change in the policy on sanctions against perpetrators of less serious crimes, who, more than in the past, should receive punishments unconnected with imprisonment, and shall complete the long planned reform of the prison system in order to minimise the risk of re-offending upon release.
- The Government shall push for a new law on the prosecutor’s office which better safeguards the independence of state prosecutors and their responsibility in criminal investigations, and establishes systemic and organisational elements required to specialise in the combating of serious and financial crime and all forms of organised crime, including corruption.
3.12 Human Rights and Equal Opportunities
- The Government shall seek a high standard of human rights protection. The Government holds the freedom and equality of all persons in terms of their dignity and rights to be not only a formal principle, but also a commitment to create conditions for the dignified and full life of all persons in the Czech Republic, including minorities of all kinds and any disadvantaged or weaker individuals. The Government shall place a comparable emphasis not only on political and civil rights, but also on economic, social and cultural rights.
- The Government considers the fight against social exclusion to be one of its priorities. It shall promote a coherent solution to social housing and the prevention of homelessness, social assistance and outreach work, the provision of social and hardship benefits, inclusive education, the employment policy, the fight against debt, free legal aid and counselling, and the prevention of abuse of the welfare system, e.g. trade in poverty in overpriced hostels.
- The Government shall strive to create a tolerant society. It shall rigorously oppose all forms of violence and manifestations of racial hatred, such as anti-Gypsyism and anti-Semitism. It shall support the development of the Roma culture and identity as a natural part of integration. The Government shall strengthen legal opportunities to put up a defence against discrimination, and shall intensify the Ombudsman’s power to propose the abolition of unconstitutional laws.
- The Government shall strictly apply the principle of equality between women and men. The Government shall focus on the suppression of gender-based violence. It shall strive for the reconciliation of working, private and family life, including the provision of sufficient capacity at preschool facilities and the support of flexible and stable forms of work. It shall also seek to promote the greater representation of women in decision-making positions and equal pay for equal or comparable work. In the protection of human life, as defined by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, the Government shall not interfere with the current legal situation.
3.13 Ministry of Regional Development
- The Government shall complete preparations for the disbursement of funds for the years 2014 to 2020, and in particular it shall complete negotiations on the partnership agreement and coordination of the preparation of operational programmes. The Government shall urgently prepare an amendment to the law on regional development support.
- The Government shall prepare a new law on public procurement to reflect modern procurement trends in the European Union and harmonise requirements for the consistent transparency of procurement procedure with a view to preventing corruption and guaranteeing selection of the optimal supplier.
- The Government shall support the development of tourism and the quality promotion of the Czech Republic as a tourist destination, and shall prepare a law on tourism.
- In spatial planning and building regulations, the Government shall prepare an amendment to the Building Act to simplify and speed up permit procedures. The Government shall push for a new law on social housing that defines the standard for social dwellings and specifies those in a housing emergency who qualify for such housing.
3.14 Ministry of the Interior
- The Government shall stabilise staffing and the economic situation in the security forces. It shall promote the further development of the Czech Police, the Czech Fire Brigade and other units of the integrated rescue system. It shall create the personnel, material, technical and organisational conditions necessary for the preparedness of the integrated rescue system units so that they are always ready for action. The Government shall also address improvements in conditions for teams of volunteer firefighters. The Government shall emphasise the following security areas: the fight against terrorism, extremism, organised crime, corruption and racial intolerance.
- The Government shall reduce the number and complexity of official acts encumbering citizens due to the procedural modelling of agendas. The Government shall adopt a strategic framework for the development of public administration and eGovernment so that their further functioning is more effective and efficient. Citizens must have clear information, and officials must be properly trained.
- The Government shall find a comprehensive solution to tension in socially sensitive areas. It shall place an emphasis on preventive programmes, on close communication with local governments units, and on balancing elements of prevention and repression so as to effectively eliminate the causes of social conflicts.
- It is necessary to strengthen the overall participation of citizens in decision-making on major issues related to the functioning of the state. The Government shall ensure that citizens have control over the financing of political parties, and that they are engaged in public affairs. The Government shall guarantee unobstructed access to all legislation via the project for the electronic collection of laws and international treaties.
- The Government shall ensure the economic stability and transparency of the management of Czech Post and its further development. Citizens must have maximum accessibility to the services of Czech Post. Czech Post branch network optimisation shall be discussed with local authorities (regions, towns and municipalities).
3.15 Ministry of Defence
- The Government’s primary task is to conduct a full analysis of the management of the Ministry of Defence and an audit of individual agendas and the resulting personnel requirements. The viability of outsourcing needs to be reviewed, the sale of redundant assets must be accelerated, and any unnecessary costs and areas of inefficiency should be eradicated.
- In order to comply with the commitments undertaken by the Czech Republic, our defence capabilities need to be developed. This is contingent on the corresponding technological standards within the Czech Army. Depending on economic trends, the Government shall seek adjustments in the financing of the Ministry so as to ensure the necessary development of the armed forces. Tenders and scandals related to acquisition procedures are a long-running problem. It is therefore a Government priority for the relevant steps at the Ministry of Defence to be absolutely transparent, for acquisitions to meet the real needs of the Czech Army, and for the greatest efficiency to be achieved.
- The Government shall focus on developing skills earmarked for emergency clusters within NATO and the European Union, and on establishing skills needed for collective defence under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. An emphasis will be placed on interoperability, deployability, the capabilities of international cooperation and the management of joint operations. The Government shall actively contribute to international the operations of NATO, the European Union and the United Nations with the necessary mandate, if they are in keeping with the defined security and defence interests of the Czech Republic and commitments of the Czech Republic within NATO and the European Union. The Government shall protect Czech airspace with its own resources.
- The Government shall develop dialogue with the domestic defence industry with the aim of creating a cooperative environment and supporting the operations of the Czech defence industry in foreign markets.
- The Ministry of Defence shall submit two basic conceptual documents: the Long-term Defence Outlook up to 2030 and the Concept for the Construction of the Armed Forces.
- The Government shall complete the changes necessary in defence legislation.
3.16 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of the Government of the Czech Republic
- The Government views states and institutions of the European Union as the main guarantors of security, prosperity, democracy and solidarity in Europe today. Therefore, it shall actively strive for a European Union which is politically influential and capable, economically competitive, a defender of democratic values and promoter of social cohesion and human dignity. The aim of our European policy is focus on the core of the European integration and operate in the European area as a comprehensible and credible partner.
- In accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and with an emphasis on the individual responsibility of Member States, the Government shall support the intensification of European integration and cooperation, especially in economic policy and the internal market, social solidarity and employment, energy, transport, financial services, research, development and the environment.
- The stabilisation of the economic and monetary situation in the European Union is a primary concern of the Czech Republic. The Government shall support steps towards the deeper coordination of economic and fiscal policy and towards the restoration of confidence in the European financial sector. It shall revise the existing reticent opinions on monetary integration and financial cooperation. As a sign of its responsible fiscal policy, the Government shall accede to the fiscal pact (the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) and, in view of how closely the Czech and European financial sectors are integrated, the Government shall actively defend its interests in the emerging banking union, including preparations for accession.
- Considering the still untapped potential of the European Union’s internal market, the Government shall push for the elimination of existing obstructions and the prevention of new barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. The Government shall support a European Union open inwards and outwards while maintaining and strengthening social standards. In the Government’s opinion, ambitious trade and investment agreements with third states are an integral part of Europe’s competitiveness and its priority is to complete negotiations on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the European Union and the USA. The Government shall actively participate in the formulation of the European Union’s energy and climate policy so as to maintain the competitiveness of the economy. The Government shall promote a discussion on European and domestic economic reforms through the National Reform Programme as a key strategy document of national economic policy.
- Regarding the European Union’s external operations, the Government shall place an emphasis on the greater efficiency and interconnection of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the strengthening of the Eastern Partnership and the enlargement of the European Union, in particular to embrace the countries of the Western Balkans, upon fulfilment of conditions by the candidate countries. The Government shall continue to support the proportionate participation of the Czech Republic in missions and operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy.
- The Government shall make better use of the possibilities offered by European Union membership. To improve competitiveness and the quality of life in the Czech Republic, it shall draw on EU funds more efficiently, with a particular emphasis on supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged regions, and shall intensify supervision of the use of such funds. The Government shall take systemic measures to strengthen the Czech Republic’s single and active policy within EU institutions. It shall play a more active role in posting Czech citizens to European institutions and shall establish regular dialogue with European institutions. It shall also cooperate more actively with representatives of the Czech Republic in the European Parliament.
- The Government shall increase dialogue with the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Czech Parliament, social partners and civil society in formulating and promoting the interests of the Czech Republic. The Government shall provide a coordinated front to the European Union. Inter-ministerial coordination shall be the responsibility of the Government Office. European policy shall be developed in close cooperation between the Government Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries. The Government shall prepare a concept for Czech operations in the European Union and shall implement a European communication strategy, under which it shall hold intensive dialogue on European issues with experts and citizens of the Czech Republic.
- The Government is aware that the future of Czech Republic depends on the quality of the international environment, the ability Czech Republic to pursue its own interests in international competition, and also its readiness to contribute to others. The Czech Republic has long sought an international structure where problems are addressed multilaterally and that is efficient, stable and fair at the same time. Therefore, at the UN it shall focus on peacekeeping, including readiness to participate in military missions, on disarmament, international development, and human rights, and on the reform of UN institutions. The Government shall also develop strong relations with non-European countries.
- Foreign policy shall be linked to the country’s berth in the middle of Europe, in the European Union and in the Atlantic security framework. Membership of the European Union shall be a key factor in the foreign-policy thinking of the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic’s European and foreign policy are closely linked. Its European and Atlantic orientation are mutually supportive. Therefore, the Government shall strengthen multilateral cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic area, especially through its active NATO membership and its active approach to political, economic and security dialogue between the European Union and the USA.
- The Government shall place a stress on the development of neighbourly relations and continued cooperation within the V4. It shall seek deeper-rooted strategic dialogue with Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Poland and Hungary. It shall continue intensive bilateral and regional cooperation.
- Development cooperation, the promotion of human rights and humanitarian assistance shall be included in the Czech Republic’s foreign policy. The Government shall work on the assumption that human rights include civil and political rights, and economic, social and environmental rights, and that these can be efficiently supported only in conditions of mutual respect and dialogue.
- The Government shall place an emphasis on economic diplomacy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Trade shall draw up a concept in this area, which they shall jointly implement; this concept shall also involve the private sector.
- In the interests of the reliability and comprehensibility of the Czech Republic on the international stage, the Government, as the foreign-policy maker, shall seek to coordinate positions and achieve the broadest possible political consensus and cooperation with the President and the Czech Parliament. The Government shall update the existing Foreign Policy Concept of the Czech Republic and, further to the Civil Service Act, shall prepare a law on foreign service.