Policy Statement of the Government of the Czech Republic

7. 1. 202212:52

Policy Statement of the Government

On 6 January 2022, the government of Petr Fiala approved the final version of the Policy Statement of the Government of the Czech Republic.

Contents

Preamble
Public finance
Industry and trade
Social and family policy
Health care
Education and sport
Science, research and innovation
Culture
Foreign policy
European affairs
Defence
Internal security and public administration
Digitisation
Regional and local development
Transport
Agriculture
Environment
Justice and law
Legislation

Preamble

The new government of the Czech Republic is approaching the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament to ask for confidence at a time which, without exaggeration, is one of the most difficult and challenging periods in our modern history. It will have to swiftly deal with a number of negative phenomena that are mostly of external nature, although a significant number of future challenges were caused by a number of unfortunate decisions of the previous government. These are high inflation, the COVID-19 epidemic and the energy crisis.

Besides tackling these current challenges, the new government wants to work hard on a number of long-term topics and projects. It will strive to fulfil its programme, which the five coalition political parties consider necessary for the Czech Republic to be competitive amongst other developed countries and to be able to ensure its safe existence and an ever-increasing standard of living for its citizens in the long term.

The Czech Republic will face a number of challenges, opportunities and decisions in the coming months and years. These will be brought by the changing global economy and the policy developments within the EU and throughout Europe. It is crucial for the Czech Republic to be able to make right and timely decisions. The incoming government is aware of this as well.

The following policy statement is a carefully prepared summary of the key steps based on our coalition programme that the new governing coalition wants to implement over the next four years. These are specific solutions to meet several vital objectives.

We want a State that does not run on debt.

We want a State that is smart, efficient and economical.

We want a State that is part of the democratic Europe and knows that the values of freedom and democracy must be actively promoted and defended.

We want Czech families to have a place to live and our children to have a good education that can prepare them for the ever-changing modern world.

We want people of working age to have a clear idea about their retirement and to know that their old age will be dignified.

We want small and medium-sized enterprises to be the backbone of our economy and the State to support them where necessary.

We want innovation, science and research to be capable of significantly improving the Czech economy on the international field.

We want our agriculture to be environmentally friendly and our forests, land and water to cope with climate change as best they can.

We are aware that these plans are quite ambitious. However, we are positive that we need to start fulfilling them as soon as possible. Our country cannot afford any further delays. That is why we have chosen a policy of openness and transparency from the outset. We do not want to, we must not and we will not lie to our citizens. Even if it might be uncomfortable. We want to be a government that will face its challenges.

We are a coalition government of five parties that represents a wide group of people. We want to be a government that defends the interests of all Czech citizens.

The government’s priorities for change in the future are as follows:

Stabilisation of public finances

Our country needs a responsible budgetary policy that stops wasting taxpayers’ money, finds savings and sets the long-term direction of public finances, and ensures a reasonable public economic management as soon as possible. The path to stability lies in the reform of State spending and efficient management, not in increasing the tax burden.

Focus on EU and NATO

The Czech Republic must be an active member of the European Union and NATO, defending the interests of its citizens. Our foreign policy will be unquestionably oriented towards Euro-Atlantic relationships with an emphasis on a stable partnership with democracies around the world and on the protection of human rights and democracy.

Pension reform

The prosperity of our country lies in its citizens. Therefore, everyone deserves to know they will be safe in old age. We will prepare a reform that takes merit into account and also promotes intergenerational solidarity in families. The reform of the pension system will be based on a society-wide consensus to ensure a long-term perspective.

Education

The future of our country depends on the education of our children. The education system must utilise the potential of great teachers, create space for the development of knowledge, skills and competencies of pupils and students, and it must do so in a modern environment using up-to-date content. The education system must be able to help the weakest as well as support the talent.

Free market support

Promoting small and medium-sized enterprises and targeting subsidies and aid towards actual needs are the way to ensure the prosperity of our country. We will support creative and innovative approaches with the potential for growth and healthy competition. Public aid must not aim at increasing the profits and influence of large companies.

Environment

Climate change is unquestionable. This government is committed to finding solutions that will reduce human impact on climate change. We will look for realistic solutions that will actually help protect the environment, water, soil, forests. All this well aware of the responsibility for our country’s prosperity.

Housing

We do not ignore the problems of our citizens. And lately, housing is one of those problems. We will offer solutions to help both owner-occupied and rented housing, including social housing. The most important step is a fundamental acceleration of building permit proceedings.

Digitisation

Unification and digitisation of State processes mark the path to a friendlier, more efficient and cheaper State administration. We will make our State work effectively through modern technologies. Digitisation ensures a more convenient contact between citizens and the State, and the automation of processes will lead to a more effective fight against corruption.

Science and research

Our country is full of clever, educated and innovative people. Our science and research have a great reputation around the world. Science and research will have our unquestionable support, because we see them as an opportunity to push the Czech Republic up the ranks of the most successful countries.

Modern government

Public administration must be modern, lean and flexible. We will prepare it for the challenges of the 21st century and bring in the best talent to provide top services for our citizens. We will work to ensure that civil servants make better use of data, make data accessible, and that their work is always focused on the citizen.

Responsibility to voters and political culture

We will pursue an improvement in political culture. We will select honest, competent and trustworthy individuals who will defend the interests of the Czech Republic and will not have a conflict of interests. We will set up more predictable meetings of the Chamber of Deputies. We will make sure the citizens can see how the government is implementing the programme – online. We will work constructively with each other and with the opposition.

Public finance

Preamble

The recovery of public finances and the restoration of citizens’ confidence in a just and fair State are the two key challenges for the Czech government in the field of the economy.

The extraordinary economic growth that the country has experienced in recent years has not been used by past governments to implement the necessary reforms. Therefore, the Czech Republic now faces a number of difficult challenges. From tackling the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing social and economic recovery, to the related issues of the global economy, which, due to previous governments’ bad policies, affect our citizens to a much greater extent, for example through rising inflation, rising energy prices or unresolved structural problems in public finances; all of these became apparent even before the outbreak of the global pandemic. 

Therefore, in the interest of sound economic management, we will not allow any further unnecessary indebtedness and we will prepare measures to enable a continuous reduction of budget deficits. Our goal is to not allow budget savings to negatively impact the situation of citizens who depend on State support. Therefore, the government’s motto for the area of public finances is “save on the State, not on the people”. It is time for the citizen, as a taxpayer, to become a partner for the State. The task of the State administration is to support business and create favourable conditions for those who finance the country and create job opportunities.

State action must be predictable for citizens and businesses, so laws and their amendments must be passed well in advance of their effective date. Therefore, we will target to pass the fundamental changes resulting from the policy statement in the middle of the government’s mandate.  Effective date of 1 January 2024 will provide sufficient space for properly drawing up these changes and discussing them with individual economic sectors.

Finance

Sound public finance

Employee and business support

Supporting family budgets

Municipal and regional budgets

For a better future

Finance – transparency

Industry and trade

Preamble

The Czech Republic faces major challenges represented by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented energy crisis. At the same time, it has to deal with major global technological and environmental changes and the necessary transformation of its economy.

We will carefully choose the most suitable tools not only to maintain, but also to further improve the competitiveness of Czech industry. We will reduce the burden on companies and sole traders and support the activities of producers in order to increase the share of final products in their total production. We will continue to actively promote the interests of the Czech Republic in the EU and implement a targeted pro-export policy. We will also prioritise the development of nuclear energy and renewables, with an emphasis on energy security, self-sufficiency, climate objectives and affordable energy supplies.

The Czech Republic must also become one of the innovation leaders and further develop the potential of digital and new technologies for its benefit. That is why we will focus on quality education, support for research and development, the introduction of innovation and the necessary transition to a sustainable and digital economy. We will focus on supporting the digital transformation of companies and new technologies in the business sphere.

Industry

Mining and raw materials

Energy

Nuclear energy

Support for business

Supporting the development of the digital economy

Support for export and internationalisation of companies

Social and family policy

Preamble

The Czech Republic is facing a difficult situation; the society, economy and public budgets are recovering from the effects of the never-ending coronavirus pandemic, inflation and, moreover, the current energy crisis. The successful path out of this crisis can only be found by socially cohesive society of educated, responsible and active people, which is also a prerequisite for the long-term sustainable development of society. Such society is based on functioning stable families, participating civil society and local communities, decent work and affordable social care and social services of adequate quality.

We will implement the necessary measures, reforms and changes in a socially sensitive way, taking into account the most vulnerable members of society, with an emphasis on family support and a long-term stable pension system, active employment policy and balanced protection of employees’ and employers’ rights. We will also emphasise the availability of social services, support in securing affordable housing and the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The level of society and the State is reflected in how they care for their most vulnerable members.

Family policy and employment

Social services and social benefits

Pension system

Health care

Preamble

We will promote the area of “public health” programmes to support prevention and healthy nutrition. Prevention is the most effective approach to preventing disease, improving the quality of life and supporting the health of our citizens. It is the support of this hitherto neglected area that aims to equalise the quality of health of Czech seniors with the developed countries of the European Union.

We consider quality and affordable health care for all without regional differences to be one of the pillars of a modern and successful State. To ensure this, it is necessary to provide the necessary support to the health system in the form of transparent, predictable and adequate financial security. Therefore, we plan to finance it at least on a two-year basis.

We will focus on strengthening the education of doctors, young scientists and researchers. We will simplify the preparation for attestation of competence and control its quality. We will empower the role of trainers, which is absolutely crucial.

We must learn to live with COVID-19. We will not keep indefinitely limiting health care for other patients. COVID-19 must simply become another serious disease that the health care can address and prevent its serious course. During the pandemic, it became clear that citizens were confused by the views of various “media experts”. Therefore, in cooperation with the Czech Medical Association of Jan Evangelista Purkyně (CMA JEP), we will create a generally respected and understandable expert authority that will formulate expert opinions. We draw inspiration from the German Robert Koch Institute, which worked excellently not only during the pandemic. The cooperation with CMA JEP will be based on the establishment of the National Institute for Pandemic Management by the end of January 2022, which will provide expert and independent support for the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Health.

Financing, economics and the role of health insurance companies

Quality and availability of health care 

Medical education 

Prevention and nutrition – improving the health of the population 

Education and sport

Preamble

The future of any developed country is closely linked to its quality of education. Therefore, our education system must be able to respond to the challenges it faces and it must have schools that can prepare our children and young people for life in 21st century. The key document in this regard is the Education Policy Strategy of the Czech Republic until 2030+, which was prepared in cooperation with the professional public and based on an agreement across the political spectrum. Our coalition government faces the crucial task of bringing this strategic document to life in such a form that affects the everyday operation of every educational institution in the Czech Republic.

The government has an important task of obtaining more funding for education so that public expenditure on education and school services in relation to GDP corresponds to at least the OECD average level. This will ensure an increase in the quality of education in nursery, primary, primary arts, secondary and higher vocational schools, higher education institutions, conservatories and in institutions that provide lifelong learning. Education, basic and applied research and the application of its results in society contribute to addressing global and local challenges in the areas of health and quality of life, historical and cultural heritage, sustainable development, technical progress, security, rights and equality in society. The Czech Republic must respond to these current challenges and the demographic development and it must be a confident and competitive country. The coalition government sees the key to achieving this in emphasising education and research.

Support for schools and pedagogical workers

Quality of education

Higher education institutions, research and development

Sports

Science, research and innovation

Preamble

Science, research, development and innovation are one of the key investments in our country’s future, prosperity and competitiveness, the quality of life of all its inhabitants and a cohesive and resilient society. Scientific knowledge, as well as research and innovation activities, are a prerequisite for building an economy with higher added value, for the cultural and spiritual development of society, as well as for the overall modernisation of public administration and the implementation of data-based public policies. They are also a prerequisite for successful and sustainable solutions to current societal challenges and for our ability to respond adequately and flexibly to emerging megatrends, including digital and green transitions.

The Czech Republic must aim to become one of the European leaders in the field of excellence, science, research and innovation, across the whole spectrum of fields. Through science and research, we will strengthen critical thinking and the ability to understand the world in a broader context and contribute to a shared perception of the reality around us.

Modern, coordinated and transparent management system

People in science, research, development and innovation

Financing of research, development and innovation

Technology transfer

Publicity of science, research, development and innovation

Culture

Preamble

Culture co-creates values of society and brings beauty to our lives. Culture unites us, because it strengthens the cohesion of society. It is the glue that holds the nation together, and the bridge between us, our ancestors and future generations. It also has an economic dimension. With the help of sensible State policy, it can generate significant financial resources, employ many people and improve the image of our country abroad. Therefore, our goal is to strengthen the place of culture in Czech society.

We want to achieve this not only by improving the financing of the entire cultural area, but also by preparing legislation that will correspond to the state of culture, monument care and media in the 21st century. We will focus on updating copyright law, supporting regional culture and promoting Czech culture abroad. We will place extra emphasis on improving the transparency and stability of public service media, because the independence of the media is a prerequisite for a resilient democracy. For the same reason, we will highlight important historical anniversaries and strengthen memory institutions focusing on totalitarian regimes.

Culture financing

From contemporary culture to cultural heritage

Culture and education

Copyright for the 21st century

Free and transparent public service media

Foreign policy

Preamble

The Czech Republic’s foreign policy will be based on anchoring it position in the European Union and NATO and on good relations with all neighbouring states. The Czech Republic must be an active member of the European Union and NATO, defending the interests of its citizens. We will emphasise stable partnerships with democratic countries around the world, the protection of human rights and democracy, and the global promotion of Czech economic interests and European values.

We consider our membership in the European Union to be of crucial importance and benefit for the Czech Republic, and we are ready to successfully host the presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2022. Maintaining the free movement of people, services, goods and capital and the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality is essential for us in the European Union. We also want to base our active EU membership on traditionally good relations with our neighbours.

Foreign affairs

European affairs

Preamble

We consider our membership in the European Union to be of crucial importance and benefit for the Czech Republic. We are ready to successfully host the presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2022 and return the Czech Republic its reputation of a reliable and respected partner.  We strive for a democratic, unbureaucratic, socially just and trade-open EU that emphasises respect for civil liberties. We will actively seek to increase integration towards the completion of the single internal market, with an emphasis on the free movement of people, services, goods, capital and data, the effective protection of external borders and a strong transatlantic link. For these long-term priorities, we will actively seek support from EU Member States with similar interests.

Coordination of European policies

Defence

Preamble

Defending the country is the basic role of the State. Without security there is no stability and without stability there is no prosperity. Given the deterioration of the security environment, investment in the defence of our country is necessary. The defence of the Czech Republic is based on its NATO membership. We will work to ensure that our country has a strong army for the collective defence of its territory and its national interests. We must be a valid and respected ally within the North Atlantic Alliance who fulfils its obligations, especially in the area of defence financing and building of military capability. We will work to ensure that NATO continues to maintain, in addition to its military capacity, the political cohesion and ability to unite the West against external threats. We will further develop and strengthen the transatlantic link. The European Union’s ambitions in the field of defence must not be in competition with the North Atlantic Alliance, but rather in accord.

We will take care not only of the development and modernisation of Czech armed forces, but also of the domestic defence and security industry. We will promote greater investment in research and development and the preparedness of our population for crisis situations. We will not allow non-democratic states access to key Czech infrastructure.

Modern, operational and stable army

A prepared State

Prepared citizens

Internal security and public administration

Preamble

The Ministry of the Interior will not only be a ministry of security, but also of an efficient, modern and professional public administration.

Public administration must be available both in the territory and through digital services. Territorial self-government also forms an important part of public administration. It is necessary to ensure the conditions for its proper performance and to protect self-government from unjustified or disproportionate effects of new legal regulations.

We will continue increasing the availability and clarity of sources of law.

Elections

Public administration

Security

Digitisation

Preamble

Unification and digitisation of State processes mark the path to a friendlier, more efficient and cheaper State administration. We will make our State work effectively through modern technologies. 

Digitisation ensures a more convenient contact between citizens and the State, and the automation of processes will lead to a more effective operation of the State as a whole. There will continue to be a paper-based option for seniors and persons with special needs.

Digital services

Transparency

Cybersecurity

Connectivity and network development

Regional and local development

Preamble

The growing differences between Czech regions represent a major challenge to our whole society. The place where a citizen lives must not fundamentally affect that person’s quality of education, access to healthcare, transport services and digital connectivity. We will prevent the further expansion of the regional gap and address the issues leading to the depopulation of the countryside and the border area. We will create adequate conditions for successful and meaningful use of European funds; during our EU Presidency, we will actively promote cohesion policy as an effective tool for the development of regions in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe.

The government will address the availability of housing for citizens in the areas of owner-occupied and rental housing, including social housing. The key focus at the moment is the fundamental acceleration of building permit proceedings in cooperation with local governments while maintaining the protection of other interests.

Regional development

Housing, the Building Act and spatial planning

Public procurement

Tourism

Transport

Preamble

One of the State’s key tasks is to complete the missing transport infrastructure and ensure its operation. Safe and functional transport connections are one of the basic conditions for the further development of our country and its regions. We will also focus on further improving public transport, which must be affordable, easily accessible and offer a convenient alternative to individual means of transport.

We will create a plan for investments in transport, ensure a stable budget for the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure and increase control over the efficiency of funds spent on transport construction.

We are also aware that the development of transport is also based on the use of modern technologies, intelligent transport systems and the digitisation of transport agendas, which will lead to the overall streamlining and de-bureaucratisation of public administration.

Infrastructure

Motorways and 1st class roads

Rail

Waterways

Aviation

Public transport

Security

Legislation, administration and digitisation of transport

Transport strategy

Agriculture

Preamble

We will more effectively support small, medium, start-up and organic farmers, in particular with the help of European funds. We will review the Czech Republic’s position on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. We will pay increased attention to the protection of soil against its degradation and occupation in order to support biodiversity and water retention in the landscape. The government will focus on methods to introduce precision agriculture, integrated production, reducing the use of fertilisers and pesticides, and increasing the use of organic fertilisers in agriculture. Our goal will be to increase the efficiency and contribution of research and the dissemination of innovation for the needs of primary agricultural production. We will continue to improve the quality of agricultural education with a view to modernising and robotising the sector.

We will focus on supporting the shortening of sales chains with regard to quality and regional production. Production of selected commodities will be supported to ensure adequate food security. We will focus on organic production and improve the conditions in animal husbandry.

The forest restoration and reforestation strategy will stimulate the development of solutions for strengthening the ecosystem function of forests, also with regard to the restoration of forests after the bark beetle calamity. We will contribute to better availability of drinking and non-drinking water and support a stable water management infrastructure.

We will simplify subsidy programmes and reduce the administrative burden.

Agriculture

Food industry

Water management

Forestry

Environment

Preamble

The protection of the environment, natural resources, landscape, nature, biodiversity and climate will be a key priority of the government; it will be promoted in close cooperation between the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Industry and Trade, Transport and Regional Development and in consultation with the social partners.

The Czech Republic will be a constructive partner in global efforts to protect the climate. The government will work to mitigate the effects of climate change and contribute to achieving EU climate neutrality by 2050. The Green Deal is an opportunity to significantly modernise the Czech economy, increase the quality of life and improve our environment by investing in sustainable development, clean and renewable resources and the circular economy. When negotiating specific measures in the EU, the government will take into account their social impacts and specific conditions of the Czech Republic. By the first half of 2022, we will prepare impact studies for individual draft measures and we will initiate the same with the European Commission.

At the national level, we will focus in particular on effective support for mitigation and adaptation measures to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, the return of water to the landscape, the protection of biodiversity or the transition to a circular economy.

Water and climate change adaptation

Nature and landscape protection

Climate protection

Waste

Air and clean mobility

Support activities

Justice and law

Preamble

We will prepare new procedural codes, which are a prerequisite for modernising, speeding up and improving the quality of judicial proceedings. We will put forward measures that will bring about changes in the position of senior public prosecutors. We will support a consensual solution to parental conflicts; children must never become victims of disputes between parents. We will present measures to help deal effectively with financial difficulties and debt so that the emphasis is put on prevention and second chances. As part of the digitisation of State administration and the use of modern technologies, we will make it easier to establish and register limited liability companies in the Commercial Register.

Legislation

Preamble

Good legislation and smart State management are essential prerequisites for the prosperity of our country. The State must not put spanners in the works of its people and companies but, on the contrary, it must create an environment that encourages their creativity, drive and entrepreneurship.

Cutting the red tape, good legislation and smart State management

Conservative changes to the Constitution