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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 Communist Party. The latter's involvement poses stability and longevity risks for the government. This is further exacerbated by internal splits within CSSD as well as interference by President Miloš Zeman into policy-making. The government promotes fiscally responsible and investment-friendly policies and is highly unlikely to support the Communists' anti-EU/anti-NATO agenda, maintaining a centrist policy direction with a strongly pro-Western, albeit mildly Eurosceptic trajectory. Structural reforms aimed at simplifying the business environment, increasing the effectiveness of the judicial system, and boosting long-term growth potential will represent the foremost challenges, especially given the weakness of the governing coalition. Although strikes are rare, large and peaceful demonstrations against the president, government and corruption are likely to continue in Prague. Czech GDP growth is projected at 2.5% in 2019 and 2.2% in 2020 (from 2.9% in 2018), but downside risks remain elevated. Factors supporting near-term growth include the solid performance of private consumption, which is benefiting from low unemployment rates and rising wages. Fixed investment is also projected to support growth through 2020, thanks to EU transfers as well as private investment in new technologies and automation. Current economic challenges stem from external uncertainty and domestic labour shortages. Amid higher inflation, the central bank raised interest rates eight times from August 2017 to May 2019 (to 2.0%), also affected by the weaker-than-expected koruna and rising real estate prices. Despite macroprudential measures aimed at stemming new lending, growth in both housing loans and real estate prices has continued to rise rapidly into 2019. The general government budget was in surplus in 2016–18, but fiscal risks could re-emerge as a longer-term challenge given the ageing population.
Last update: November 23, 2019

Operational Outlook

Czechia's strategic location close to some of Europe's largest markets (particularly Germany), EU membership, low labour costs, strong skill base and investment-friendly legislative framework benefit the operational environment. Transport infrastructure is good but was neglected in recent years, and there are now plans to modernise it, particularly ground cargo connections with its neighbours. However, corruption during tender processes will continue to pose obstacles, and red tape and arbitrary bureaucracy are likely in dealings with local government officialdom. Trade unions are generally weak, and long and disruptive labour unrest remains rare, although the tightened labour market slightly raises risks.

Last update: November 23, 2019

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: November 23, 2019

Crime

The crime rate has declined steadily in recent years. In 2018, the police recorded 4.9% fewer crimes than in 2017, and the number of both property and violent crimes decreased. Most crimes are likely to consist of petty property offences, with the rates of violent crime remaining low. However, organised crime is 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. Cybercrime is increasingly targeted by law enforcement.

Last update: November 23, 2019

War Risks

Czechia is highly unlikely to become involved in an interstate military conflict. 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: November 23, 2019

Social Stability

Moderate

The protest risks primarily stem from far-right groups that 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 property damage risks, particularly vandalism, are probable during these protests. Political protests are most probable during national holidays and anniversaries, affecting mainly central Prague, but these are unlikely to be violent. 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: November 23, 2019

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