Gas prices should be capped at the pan-European level. Prices have become detached from economic reality and are currently the main source of inflation. Eva Zamrazilova, Deputy Governor of the Czech National Bank, said this on the Czech TV program Otázky Václav Moravec on Sunday. According to her, gas prices are no longer affected by market conditions but have become an instrument of war for Russia.
Helena Horska, chief economist at Raiffeisenbank and a member of the government’s National Economic Council, has spoken out in favor of a pan-European solution.
However, according to her, price ceilings unfortunately will not work without a common agreement and exception within the European Union. According to Vit Samik, Vice-President of the Czech Moravian Chamber of Trade Unions, energy prices are the main threat to the work of Czech companies.
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“The driver of inflation now is gas prices, which have become detached from reality. Russia uses gas as a weapon of war, and it is not the invisible hand of the market that sets prices.
Zamrazilova said that the EU must come up with a comprehensive solution for Europe to set gas prices.
Year-on-year inflation rose to 17.5 percent in July. In this context, the Deputy Governor warned against the spread of aid to families and companies. According to her and Hurska, the aid should target those who need it most.
“As soon as the aid spreads, we will not stop inflation and restore public finances. Zamrazilova noted that these two things are related,” he said.
Regarding the rise in inflation, Zamrazilova also commented on the situation in the Czech National Bank. Its employees have a so-called inflation clause in the collective agreement, which guarantees them an increase in wages according to the amount of inflation.
“This measure was taken at a time when there was no inflation and there was no increase in employee salaries. The mistake was that it was closed for three years in advance. This will never happen again until the collective agreement is concluded for a period of more than one year,” the deputy governor said. “.
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She added that the salaries of the members of the bank’s board of directors have already been frozen for the third year, and that will continue next year. Last year, the net salaries of the bank’s board of directors ranged from about three to 4.3 million crowns. The average gross salary in the Czech Republic last year was 37,839 kroner.
Following an agreement with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Czech presidency will urgently hold a meeting of the Council of Energy Ministers on extraordinary measures to resolve the energy situation.
According to the statement of Prime Minister Peter Fiala (ODS), it is necessary to move towards capping energy prices. On Friday, the Conservatives called on the government to take swift action both at the national level and at the level of the European Union due to the sharp rise in prices.
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Marianne Jureka (KDU-ČSL) said on PRIMA TV on Sunday that if the EU does not find a common solution regarding the rise in energy prices, the Czech government is ready to come up with its own solution. It may also apply to setting energy prices.
criticize the government
However, such a move would cost tens of billions of crowns, which would not be covered by the planned tax on extraordinary profits or dividends from the exclusive economic zone. Deputy Parliament Speaker Karel Havlicek (ANO) is skeptical about an EU-wide solution.
He pointed out that many countries have already set the prices themselves and that the joint solution may not suit them due to the different sources of energy. He repeated criticism of the government that it should have taken action against energy prices earlier and more intensely. According to him, declaring a state of emergency could be one of the solutions.
Viet Samik also criticized the government on Czech television, saying that government measures against rising energy prices are being implemented slowly and are also insufficient. According to him, the government should support companies, which will lead to the preservation of employment. At the same time, he spoke in favor of increasing salaries and wages.
“The government is supposed to help companies. It can go down, but not because of wages, but because of energy prices. There is already an uncompetitive environment compared to abroad, and Czech companies may lose because they will not get help.”
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