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Czech Republic Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Czechia is governed by a minority coalition comprising the centrist ANO of PM Andrej Babiš and the centre-left CSSD, with the ad-hoc support of the opposition Communist Party (KSCM). The latter's involvement will slow down passage of policies, not least due to a need of compromise with KSCM. This is further exacerbated by internal splits within CSSD as well as interference by President Miloš Zeman in policy-making. However, government collapse and early election are unlikely in 2020 and the ruling ANO leads the popularity rankings at public opinion polls. In March, we dramatically reduced our 2020 growth forecast amid COVID-19 fears. GDP is now expected to increase just 0.2%, down from 2.4% in 2019. We have also slashed our projection for private consumption, industrial output, and exports. Although the Czech National Bank cut interest rates at an extraordinary session on 16 March, more measures will be needed to support companies and individuals following the introduction of social distancing measures to contain the virus’s spread. The COVID-19 impact brings huge uncertainty for the Czech economy, especially if the crisis continues into the third quarter, with the potential to crush tourism and significantly raise unemployment. Czechia is in a comparatively good fiscal position, given that the country’s low public debt (estimated at less than 32% of GDP in 2019). However, the country’s openness (with goods and services exports reaching approximately 76% of 2019 GDP) puts it at high risk if external weakness continues. Government’s policy making will be dominated by response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Apart from regulatory measures restricting business operations, government will also focus on mitigating negative impact on businesses affected by the outbreak. This however means that any structural reforms aimed at simplifying the business environment, increasing the effectiveness of the judicial system, and boosting long-term growth potential will now not be among the government’s priorities.
Last update: March 19, 2020

Operational Outlook

Strike action in Gambia remains rare, with little sign that unions have stepped up activity after the repression of the Yahya Jammeh dictatorship, when any form of organised protest was usually met with brutal treatment. The private sector is relatively small, in any case, and most labour unrest is likely to continue to be characterised by short-lived stoppages carried out by public-sector professionals such as doctors, lecturers, and teachers. Corruption levels have fallen significantly from the kleptocratic Jammeh era, although influence peddling and demands for facilitation payments from senior office holders are starting to reappear. At lower levels, though, there is little evidence of an ingrained culture of graft.

Last update: March 11, 2020

Terrorism

Moderate

The risk of terrorist attacks staged by Islamist militants remains lower than in Western Europe. Isolated motivations and works of lone individuals, including Czech nationals converted to Islam, would be more probable. In November 2013, a Czech national was convicted for a bomb threat against then-finance minister Miroslav Kalousek. In November 2019, a Slovak national – a convert to Islam – was sentenced to prison for 6.5 years for propagating terrorism. He was allegedly planning a terrorist attack in the Slovak town of Prešov. Should an attack occur, government premises, foreign embassies and Jewish quarters in Prague would be at the highest risk.

Last update: March 10, 2020

Crime

The crime rate has declined steadily in recent years, particularly property and violent crimes. Most crimes are likely to consist of petty property offences, with the rates of violent crime remaining low. However, organised crime represents an issue and Czechia will probably continue to serve as a source, transit, and destination country for human, arms, and drug trafficking. Financial crime and counterfeiting remain problematic, although the number of cases has decreased following government crackdowns. Cyber crime is increasingly targeted by law enforcement.

Last update: March 7, 2020

War Risks

Interstate military conflict on Czechia's soil is highly unlikely. The country maintains positive relations with its neighbours overall. Although some bilateral disputes are present (for instance, the country's ties with Austria and Germany tend to flare up over the issue of the Beneš decrees and the nuclear power plant in Temelín), these are highly unlikely to result in an armed conflict. Czechia is an EU and NATO member and belongs to the regional Visegrad Four (V4) organisation alongside Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, mitigating the risk further.

Last update: March 7, 2020

Social Stability

Moderate

The protest risks primarily stem from the ‘Million Moments’ civic group, which has organised a series of anti-government and anti-corruption protests. Although some of these protests tend to attract large participation – over 100,000 people – they have so far remained peaceful and will likely remain so. Far-right groups tend to organise small-scale but frequent rallies against immigration policy and Roma communities, as well as counter-rallies against LGBT+ pride marches. Violence and vandalism during these protests are more likely. Environmental activism tends to focus mainly on the nuclear power plants in Temelín and Dukovany and less frequently against the Czech energy provider ČEZ.

Last update: March 7, 2020

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccines required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The Czech Republic has a continental climate, with hot summers and long, cold, even harsh winters. Temperatures range from 18°C to 26°C in the summer (June to September) and from -3°C to 0°C in the winter (October to March). Temperatures will also vary in mountainous regions where winters are very rainy and snowy. It rains regularly throughout the year.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +420
Police: 158
Fire Dept.: 150
Ambulance: 155

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019