Posts Tagged ‘Czech government’

Huawei Warnings May Bring Chinese Retaliation, Czech Leader Says

January 11, 2019
Pro-Chinese Czech President says report puts economy at risk
Western governments debate whether company is security threat
Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

China is preparing a reprisal against the Czech Republic after authorities there issued warnings about Huawei Technologies Co. and risks it poses to the country’s security, President Milos Zeman said.

Czech President Milos Zeman arrives for a summit in Brussels on 25 May, 2017
President Milos Zeman

Zeman, who has named Chinese government-linked officials as advisers and tried to promote his country as a potential investment gateway to Europe for Beijing, was responding to a report from the National Cyber and Information Security Agency issued last month. The report, which advised against using Huawei and ZTE Corp. software and hardware, would undermine the Czech economy, he said.

Signage is displayed atop a ZTE Corp. building in Beijing.

Photographer: Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg

“Some members” of the Czech government have information that China will take “retaliatory steps,” Zeman said late Thursday in an interview on Barrandov TV. He cited investments by Volkswagen AG’s Czech unit, Skoda Auto AS, in China and an agreement with PPF AS with Huawei about building a 5G wireless network as potential targets for reprisals.

Read more: Germany Prioritizes 5G Network Security as It Mulls Huawei Risks

Western governments are worried that Huawei’s systems could be used by Chinese intelligence to gather data. On Friday, Poland arrested a Huawei employee and a former Polish security agent and accused them of spying for China.

Germany is also weighing whether to restrict the role of Huawei in building the country’s future telecom infrastructure. Australia and New Zealand have banned Huawei equipment from participating in planned 5G networks, and the head of British MI6 said last month the government needs to decide whether to ban the company.

Zeman, whose position is largely ceremonial, said the Czech report contained no proof that would justify the warnings and that it had resulted in a “serious” threat for economic interests in China.

Image result for Andrej Babis, pictures

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis Meets Angela Merkel In Berlin

At the same time, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said his government has no information that China is preparing sanctions against Prague because of the report, the CTK news service reported. The premier noted that the cyber security office should explain how it arrived at its conclusions.


Italy’s request to take migrants is “road to hell”: Czech PM

July 15, 2018

Billionaire Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Sunday he saw Italy’s request that EU peers take some of 450 migrants stranded at sea on two Frontex vessels as “a road to hell.”

While France and Malta have already agreed to take 50 each, the Czech government chief held on to his anti-migrant stance which he shares with other leaders in the region including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

© POOL/AFP/File | Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s minority government won a confidence vote this week

“Just like the other EU prime ministers, I got a copy of a letter from Italian Prime Minister (Giuseppe) Conte… in which he asks the EU to take care of some of 450 people now stranded at sea,” Babis tweeted.

“Such an approach is a road to hell,” added the 63-year-old Slovak-born populist, whose minority coalition government won a confidence vote Thursday thanks to backing from the Communist Party.

This approach “only motivates smugglers and increases their income. Our country won’t take any migrants,” Babis added, calling for “a principle of voluntariness.”

“We have to help migrants in the countries from which they come, beyond Europe’s borders, to stop them from setting out on their journey,” said Babis.

Migration is a hot political issue in the Czech Republic, an EU and NATO member of 10.6 million people, where just a handful of refugees have settled since the migrant crisis of 2015.

In an April poll by the Czech Academy of Sciences, 58 percent of Czechs said the country should accept no migrants from war-ravaged regions.

Some 35 percent of its 1,115 respondents said it should accept them temporarily and only three percent were willing to let them stay in the country.


Europe’s Aging Economies Stand to Gain From Influx of People

September 19, 2015

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS — The greatest influx of people into Europe in decades is not just a humanitarian emergency, but also a potential stroke of luck for many countries facing the economic threat of an aging population.

A plunge in birth rates means there will be a dearth of European workers in coming years to support the growing number of retirees. So the arrival of thousands of young — and often well-educated — potential workers stands to boost the long-term economic prospects of the region.

The key is how well they are integrated and how many jobs European countries can offer.

Germany, among the most vocal in welcoming refugees, is also conveniently the country that stands to gain most quickly, as it has a strong labor market with lots of vacancies.

By contrast, weaker economies like Greece and Italy will take years, even decades, to see positive effects as they struggle to create jobs — though they too face the threat of a demographic time bomb.

“Let us not forget, we are an aging continent in demographic decline,” the president of the European Union Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said last month in a speech. “We will be needing talent.”

Before the influx of people began this year, the German statistics office said it expected the country’s population, now 80.8 million, to shrink by a tenth or more by 2060. Germany forecasts its workforce will drop by 6 million in the next 15 years.

Welcoming an estimated 800,000 people from Syria, Iraq and other countries this year will cost Germany about 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) next year in welfare support and language training.

But such upfront costs may be recouped through higher economic growth. Andreas Rees, economist at UniCredit bank, estimates that the flood of new arrivals over the next few years could grow Germany’s economy by an extra 1.7 percent by 2020.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, whose German company makes Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks, made the case this week: “To take into Germany more than 800,000 people who need our help is without a doubt a Herculean task, but in the best case, it can also be the basis for the next German economic miracle.”

Sweden, which last year received 80,000 asylum seekers, second highest in the EU behind Germany, also views the newcomers as a net gain, though up-front costs may be stiff. “Because we have an aging population,” Kristina Persson, minister for Nordic cooperation, said, “we have to replace those who leave the labor market.”

That may not be so easy in other countries. Greece, which is the first EU country of arrival for many people travelling from the Middle East, has an unemployment rate near 25 percent, with about half of young people out of work. It is expected to take a generation to turn the economy around.

And the new arrivals know it, preferring to move on to try to reach Germany and the richer countries of Northern Europe.

Ironically, some of the countries in Europe that are most threatened by a drop in birth rates are working the hardest to keep newcomers out.



Hungary is one such case. It is sealing its borders with barbed wire and firing tear gas and water cannons to keep migrants away.

In Poland, a shift to smaller-size families years ago means fewer workers now support each retiree, a trend expected to worsen dramatically over the next two decades. So far, Poland has agreed to accept 2,000 refugees. It is considering increasing the number slightly, but has rejected an EU request that it take 12,000.

And the Czech government has barely cracked its door open, allowing in just 1,500 migrants, despite a demographic drag on its own economy. In 25 years, the country is expected to go from having four people of working age supporting each person 65 or older, down to two.

Overall, the politics of welcoming refugees and other migrants is influenced more by cultural and political factors than economic ones — even in Germany.

Germany’s economy could benefit from an even greater increase in immigration, experts say, but the government is hesitant. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that foreigners fleeing war or persecution are welcome, but those who have come solely for economic reasons, “must leave our country.”

Some states, including Poland, are worried not only about the immediate costs of welcoming refugees, but are also mindful of popular fears that foreign-born Muslims might not easily blend into society or that terrorists could lurk among them.

A migration expert at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Jean-Christophe Dumont, said that it’s costlier up front to integrate refugees than other categories of immigrants, because they often need language and vocational training as well as treatment for physical injuries or psychological trauma.

However, refugees, if well integrated, ultimately have a positive impact on the economy, Dumont said. One Australian study found that within 15 years, humanitarian migrants contribute more to their new country of residence than they cost it in benefits.

Ulrich Grillo, head of the Federation of German Industries, has said the German government needs to ensure the refugees now arriving are quickly permitted to work. Already, some companies have indicated their willingness to take on some of the newcomers, with Siemens and Deutsche Telekom offering a small number of paid internships.

McDonald’s Germany has said it would help the government provide 20,000 online language courses for asylum-seekers.

Zetsche, Daimler’s CEO, has been among the most bullish about the migrants’ positive impact, saying at the Frankfurt auto show this week that anyone who has managed to surmount the obstacles to make it to Germany from the Middle East or Africa has obviously got what it takes to work for him.

“I believe anybody who leaves their life completely behind will be highly motivated to learn and work here, and to build a new life,” said Zetsche. “We are looking for exactly this type of person at Mercedes, and everywhere in our country.”


Condon reported from New York. David Rising and Geir Moulson in Berlin, Vanessa Gera in Budapest, Karel Janicek in Prague, Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Barry Hatton in Lisbon and Karl Ritter in Stockholm contributed.