Fiala's government approved an update of its program statement

Fiala's government approved an update of its program statement

Violet's government has approved the update of its program

Illustrative photo – Press conference after the government meeting, August 17, 2022, Prague.

Prague – Today, after roughly 14 months, the government approved the update of its program statement. Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) told journalists this after the cabinet meeting. The government mainly justifies the need to change the program statement by the war in Ukraine and its economic consequences. For example, obligations related to finance, energy or education change the most.

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Since it is only a revision of the statement, the government does not plan to ask for the confidence of the House of Representatives again, as it did with the original version, cabinet spokesman Václav Smolka told ČTK. Fial's government is the first to update the statement during the independent Czech Republic. “Our goals and priorities do not change, we will continue to stabilize public finances, focus on the EU and NATO,” said Fiala.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the revision responds to the commitment that the Spolu (ODS, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09) and STAN with the Pirates set in the coalition agreement. “This is a standard fair and necessary process, it is also a response to the fact that conditions across Europe and the challenges we face have changed during the first year of the government,” said Fiala. According to him, the government approached the changes thoroughly and thoughtfully.

In the document, the Cabinet undertakes to prepare adjustments on the income and expenditure side of the state budget with the aim of returning to sustainable public finances in the long term. Ministers have been saying for a long time that they are looking for savings of 70 billion crowns in next year's budget. In the statement, the government also deletes the goal of maintaining the current valorization mechanism of pensions or reducing social insurance on the side of employers by two percentage points.

The government adds a number of innovations to the program statement in the field of energy, emphasizing the need to strive for a diversity of sources and strengthening for the sake of security infrastructure to reduce dependence on Russia. It also promises to amend national energy legislation to respond to the international situation and take into account security and security of energy supply.

In the chapter on education, the government has newly guaranteed that it will keep teachers' salaries at the level of 130 percent of the average gross monthly salary, so far it has been talking about the salaries of teaching staff. For teaching and non-teaching workers, the document now promises to ensure higher salaries and “their increase according to the growth of the average wage”. The revision of the framework education programs should then be completed in 2024 instead of the original end of this year.

The declaration also responds to problems with the availability of medicines, promising to create a system for the application of an active medicine policy, which will make it possible to better prevent sudden shortages drug supply. The cabinet also undertakes to prepare conceptual changes in social benefit systems.

The government also wants to seek the establishment of an international tribunal that will prosecute war crimes in Ukraine. The Czech Republic also wants to participate in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. The commitment to spend two percent of gross domestic product on defense from 2025 is also being pushed forward to next year. In the chapter on justice, the government retreats from its promise to complete the objective of the civil court code, instead it wants to “continue the preparation of the revision of the rules of the civil process”.

The government will target energy security, declared restrictions energy from Russia

According to its updated program statement, the government wants to focus on strengthening the state's energy security. Because of this, he is preparing legislative changes that will enable the creation of community energy or the development of the use of renewable resources. At the same time, it newly declared its intention to limit supplies of energy raw materials from Russia.

The main point of the government statement on energy has not changed. The cabinet sees its future mainly in nuclear energy, which should be combined with decentralized renewable sources. However, compared to the wording of the statement from last January, the government emphasized the points that are devoted to the energy security of the state and the development and use of renewable energy sources.

In connection with the security situation in Europe, the government wants to make more efforts to diversify resources and strengthen infrastructure. At the same time, these activities should aim at the complete reduction of supplies of energy raw materials from Russia. The government also wants to respond to the need to strengthen energy security with legislative amendments. Among the main ones, she included changes to the Energy Act, which should enable the creation of community energy, energy sharing and the further development of all forms of renewable energy sources.

The emphasis on green energy is another result of the amendments to the program statement. For example, the declared support for the use of biogas, the production of biomethane and the development of hydrogen technologies has now been added to it. The government also wants to continue subsidy programs to support renewable resources, which will also be made available to low-income households. Furthermore, the cabinet also wants to focus on improving the management of free capacities for connecting these resources to the network.

As part of its trade policy, the government made a single adjustment in the statement. While last year it promised the creation of a new strategy to support exports and the internationalization of companies by the end of last year, which it did not fulfill, it has now set a deadline of half this year.

The Cabinet has now declared its efforts to develop nuclear power, even in the original statement. It will therefore support the long-term operation of the current nuclear units and the construction of a new source in Dukovany. In addition, they will also prepare documents for decisions on other blocks. The preparation of a deep radioactive waste repository will also continue. Regarding renewable sources, she wants to contribute to the establishment of new photovoltaic devices on at least 100,000 roofs by 2025. The government wants to move away from coal by 2033.

Langšádlová wants to prepare a new law on research instead of a comprehensive amendment

< p>The Minister for Science Helena Langšádlová (TOP 09) set out to prepare a new law on research, development and innovation or to focus on the efficiency of departmental research organizations in a revised program statement available to ČTK. It originally envisaged only a comprehensive amendment to the law.

The cabinet continues to promise an increase in research expenditures, simplification of its financing, or support for the reconciliation of the family and professional life of scientists. It wants to create conditions for greater involvement of private investments in science and research or to improve the conditions for the creation of research start-ups and spin-off companies.

The resort wants to prepare a new law on research, development, innovation and knowledge transfer with the aim reduce the administrative burden, eliminate fragmentation and simplify the overall management system, facilitate the transfer of knowledge into practice, protect the security interests of the state and improve conditions for scientists.

The office also mentions the unification of the rules of national subsidy programs. The cabinet wants to pay special attention to setting up support for so-called excellent research workplaces.

“We will focus on the efficiency of departmental research organizations and open a discussion with providers of institutional support on possible organizational changes with the aim of strengthening the role of research organizations for solving the research needs of the state administration,” the department recently stated. He wants to define newly oriented research priorities resulting from current social challenges.

The cabinet also wants to propose tools to support research, development and innovation in crisis situations. “We will also pay attention to strategically important fields that are lagging behind in the current conditions,” reads the statement.

The statement also mentions support for the transfer of research results into practice and cooperation between scientific workplaces and industry. “We will make transfer support more efficient as a tool for valorizing the results of science, including the commercialization of research results, with the intention of strengthening the cooperation of the academic sphere with companies and public administration,” the office states in the new wording.

Other priorities according to the program include an emphasis on popularizing scientific results and strengthening critical thinking. It also expects to complete the implementation of the 17+ Methodology for evaluating research organizations and the results of completed programs. “We will strengthen the linking of evaluation results with decision-making on the allocation of institutional support,” the department recently announced.

The government wants to seek the creation of a tribunal for prosecuting war crimes in Ukraine

According to the revised program statement, the government wants to strive for the creation of a tribunal for the prosecution of war crimes in Ukraine, which has been discussed many times in the past by Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates). In the chapter on foreign policy, the government's efforts to actively participate in the post-war reconstruction of the country attacked by Russia or to look for legal instruments to use the confiscated assets of persons responsible for the war in Ukraine to finance the repair of war damage have been added.

The individual points of the original program statement in connection with foreign policy have undergone only minor changes. In addition to cooperation in the Visegrad Group, which in addition to the Czech Republic also includes Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, a mention was made of the Slavkov format, which consists of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria. which will prosecute war crimes in Ukraine. He wants to actively participate in the post-war reconstruction of the country, which will not only be a reconstruction, but an overall modernization, with the aim of enabling Ukraine to join the European Union. In doing so, the Czech Republic wants to use the potential of domestic companies and specialists.

“We will look for and use legal instruments to finance the post-war reparation of war damage as much as possible from the confiscated property of the persons responsible for launching and waging war against Ukraine,” the Czech diplomacy further states in the material.

In the section focused on foreign policy, the government continues to promise to develop relations with neighboring states, strategic partners in the EU, talks about cooperation with the United States, Britain, Israel or countries in the Indo-Pacific region, such as India, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan wan. They also want to cooperate within the Three Seas.

According to the government, the Czech Republic must be an active member of the EU and NATO. The Cabinet emphasizes the renewal of the “Havel” foreign policy, including the support of development and transformational cooperation, as well as the emphasis on the support of democracy, human rights and civil society.

In a statement, the Cabinet reiterated the need to review relations with Russia and China. He wants to pay attention to linking humanitarian, transformational, development and economic cooperation. He also talks about returning professionalism to diplomacy and about modernizing and streamlining the functioning of the ministry. The promotion of Czech economic interests and values ​​in the world is also important to him.

The MoE wants to submit a proposal this year for constitutional protection of water or stricter fines for accidents

The Ministry of the Environment wants to submit a proposal for constitutional water protection this year, as well as to tighten fines for environmental damage. It was originally expected last year. In the first half of this year, instead of last year, the department intends to submit a proposal for the constitutional protection of land. In 2023, he also wants to prepare an amendment to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection.

The Ministry is also counting on the declaration of the Křivoklátsko National Park. The original program statement also talked about the declaration of the Soutok National Park, after the update it wants to prepare documents for the declaration of the park and the Ore Mountain Protected Landscape Area in cooperation with the regions and municipalities concerned.

From the program statement, the cabinet removed the submission of an impact study for proposals resulting from the so-called Green Deal for Europe. He replaced it with the wording that he will advocate for environmental and climate protection policies to be systemically implemented based on expertly prepared socio-economic impact studies.

The resort also recently stated that it will ensure the implementation of global and European goals in the protection of biological diversity through updating the national strategy and specific measures. These are to prevent further loss of biodiversity. “We will speed up the restoration of disturbed ecosystems in accordance with European commitments in this area, thereby supporting the services that nature provides to human society,” the authority said.

The coalition continues to mention the preparation of a new Climate Protection Policy, which will take into account the EU's goals until 2030 and set guidelines for achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. The policy is to be prepared together with the update of the State Energy Concept, so that the government will discuss both documents this year. The strategies are to be based on the National Plan for Energy and Climate, the draft of which the Cabinet will also prepare in 2023.

All proceeds from the introduction of the European climate package Fit for 55 are to be effectively used to distance the Czech economy from coal, namely including addressing the social impacts of the given measures. The resort explicitly mentions revenues from the sale of emission allowances, funds from the Modernization Fund, the Innovation Fund and the Social Climate Fund.

Newly, in the program statement, the office also mentions the introduction of online monitoring of water discharged from industrial operations into rivers at the mouths of significant polluters, where there is a risk of a large-scale accident. It also promises a subsidy program for inventorying the mouths of streams and rivers.

The document continues to list water retention in the landscape and the restoration of the natural water regime as a priority. The government promises to support thousands of projects to restore wetlands, ponds, small reservoirs, habitat protection and stream revitalization. The creation of new water reservoirs is to be permitted only exceptionally for the purpose of supplying the population with drinking water.

The cabinet still wants to achieve a reduction in air pollution by, for example, speeding up the preparation for the construction of high-speed lines, completing city bypasses, further supporting the replacement of non-ecological heating in households and limiting granting exemptions from pollutant emission limits.

Regarding waste, the declaration states, among other things, that the coalition will support the introduction of sustainability requirements in public procurement. They will also consider the introduction of other packaging backup systems – for example on PET bottles.