Europe :: Czech Republic

Introduction ::Czech Republic

    At the close of World War I, the Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, having rejected a federal system, the new country's predominantly Czech leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the increasingly strident demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Slovaks, the Sudeten Germans, and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). On the eve of World War II, Nazi Germany occupied the Czech part of the country and Slovakia became an independent state allied with Germany. After the war, a reunited but truncated Czechoslovakia (less Ruthenia) fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize communist rule and create "socialism with a human face," ushering in a period of repression known as "normalization." The peaceful "Velvet Revolution" swept the Communist Party from power at the end of 1989 and inaugurated a return to democratic rule and a market economy. On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a nonviolent "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

Geography ::Czech Republic

    Central Europe, between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria
    49 45 N, 15 30 E
    total: 78,867 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 116
    land: 77,247 sq km
    water: 1,620 sq km
    slightly smaller than South Carolina
    total: 1,989 km
    border countries: Austria 362 km, Germany 815 km, Poland 615 km, Slovakia 197 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
    Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country
    lowest point: Labe (Elbe) River 115 m
    highest point: Snezka 1,602 m
    hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber
    arable land: 40.12%
    permanent crops: 0.96%
    other: 58.92% (2011)
    385.3 sq km (2007)
    13.15 cu km (2011)
    total: 1.7 cu km/yr (41%/56%/2%)
    per capita: 164.7 cu m/yr (2009)
    air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava present health risks; acid rain damaging forests; efforts to bring industry up to EU code should improve domestic pollution
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe

People and Society ::Czech Republic

Government ::Czech Republic

    conventional long form: Czech Republic
    conventional short form: Czech Republic
    local long form: Ceska republika
    local short form: Cesko
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Prague
    geographic coordinates: 50 05 N, 14 28 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city* (hlavni mesto); Jihocesky (South Bohemia), Jihomoravsky (South Moravia), Karlovarsky (Karlovy Vary), Kralovehradecky (Hradec Kralove), Liberecky (Liberec), Moravskoslezsky (Moravia-Silesia), Olomoucky (Olomouc), Pardubicky (Pardubice), Plzensky (Pilsen), Praha (Prague)*, Stredocesky (Central Bohemia), Ustecky (Usti), Vysocina (Highlands), Zlinsky (Zlin)
    1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia); note - although 1 January is the day the Czech Republic came into being, the Czechs commemorate 28 October 1918, the day the former Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as their independence day
    Czechoslovak Founding Day, 28 October (1918)
    ratified 16 December 1992, effective 1 January 1993; amended several times
    in 2014, a new civil code will replace the existing civil law system, which is based on former Austro-Hungarian civil codes and socialist theory and has been amended 40 times since the Communist regime fell in 1989
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Milos ZEMAN (since 8 March 2013)
    head of government: Prime Minister Jiri RUSNOK (since 10 July 2013); Deputy Prime Ministers Jan FISCHER and Martin PECINA (both since 10 July 2013); note - Jiri RUSNOK appointed head of a caretaker government following the resignation of Petr NECAS
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: constitutional amendment passed in 2012 introduced presidential election by popular vote instead of by Parliament; president elected for a five-year term (may not serve more than two consecutive terms); elections last held on 11-12 January 2013 with a runoff on 25-26 January 2013 (next to be held in January 2018); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: Milos ZEMAN elected president; percent of popular vote - Milos ZEMAN 54.8%, Karel SCHWARZENBERG 45.2%
    bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Poslanecka Snemovna (200 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held in two rounds on 12-13 and 19-20 October 2012 (next to be held in October 2014); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 28-29 May 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CSSD 48, ODS 15, KDU-CSL 4, TOP 09 4, North Bohemians 2, KSCM 2, Green 1, Ostravak 1, Pirate 1, independent 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - CSSD 22.1%, ODS 20.2%, TOP 09 16.7%, KSCM 11.3%, VV 10.9%, other 18.8%; seats by party - CSSD 54, ODS 49, TOP 09 41, KSCM 26, VV 11, unaffiliated 19
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (organized into Civil Law and Commercial Division, and Criminal Division each with a court chief justice, vice justice, and several judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 15 justices); Supreme Administrative Court (consists of 28 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the Chamber of Deputies and appointed by the president; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate; judges appointed for 10-year, renewable terms; Supreme Administrative Court judges selected by the president of the Court; judge term NA
    subordinate courts: High Court; superior, regional, and district courts
    Association of Independent Candidates-European Democrats or SNK-ED [Zdenka MARKOVA]
    Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party or KDU-CSL [Pavel BELOBRADEK]
    Civic Democratic Party or ODS [Petr NECAS]
    Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or KSCM [Vojtech FILIP]
    Czech Pirate Party [Ivan BARTOS]
    Czech Social Democratic Party or CSSD [Bohuslav SOBOTKA]
    Green Party [Ondrej LISKA]
    Liberal Democrats or LIDEM [Karolina PEAKE]
    North Bohemians
    Ostravak Movement
    Public Affairs or VV [Radek JOHN]
    Tradice Odpovednost Prosperita 09 or TOP 09 [Karel SCHWARZENBERG]
    Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions or CMKOS [Jaroslav ZAVADIL]
    Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Petr GANDALOVIC
    chancery: 3900 Spring of Freedom Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 274-9100
    FAX: [1] (202) 966-8540
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Norman EISEN
    embassy: Trziste 15, 118 01 Prague 1 - Mala Strana
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [420] 257 022 000
    FAX: [420] 257 022 809
    two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side
    note: is identical to the flag of the former Czechoslovakia
    double-tailed lion
    name: "Kde domov muj?" (Where is My Home?)

    lyrics/music: Josef Kajetan TYL/Frantisek Jan SKROUP
    note: adopted 1993; the anthem is a verse from the former Czechoslovak anthem originally written as part of the opera "Fidlovacka"

Economy ::Czech Republic

    The Czech Republic is a stable and prosperous market economy closely integrated with the EU, especially since the country's EU accession in 2004. While the conservative, inward-looking Czech financial system has remained relatively healthy, the small, open, export-driven Czech economy remains sensitive to changes in the economic performance of its main export markets, especially Germany. When Western Europe and Germany fell into recession in late 2008, demand for Czech goods plunged, leading to double digit drops in industrial production and exports. As a result, real GDP fell 4.7% in 2009, with most of the decline occurring during the first quarter. Real GDP, however, slowly recovered with positive quarter-on-quarter growth starting in the second half of 2009 and continuing throughout 2011. In 2012, however, the economy fell into a recession due to a slump in external demand. The auto industry remains the largest single industry, and, together with its upstream suppliers, accounts for nearly 24% of Czech manufacturing. The Czech Republic produced more than a million cars for the first time in 2010, over 80% of which were exported. Foreign and domestic businesses alike voice concerns about corruption especially in public procurement. Other long term challenges include dealing with a rapidly aging population, funding an unsustainable pension and health care system, and diversifying away from manufacturing and toward a more high-tech, services-based, knowledge economy.
    $291.7 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    $295.4 billion (2011 est.)
    $289.9 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $196.1 billion (2012 est.)
    -1.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    1.9% (2011 est.)
    2.5% (2010 est.)
    $27,600 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    $28,100 (2011 est.)
    $27,600 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    21% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    21.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    20.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 49.6%
    government consumption: 20.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 23.6%
    investment in inventories: -0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 78%
    imports of goods and services: -72.7%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 2.3%
    industry: 38%
    services: 59.7% (2012 est.)
    wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry
    motor vehicles, metallurgy, machinery and equipment, glass, armaments
    0.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    5.404 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    agriculture: 3.1%
    industry: 38.6%
    services: 58.3% (2009)
    6.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    8.5% (2011 est.)
    9% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.5%
    highest 10%: NA% (2009)
    31 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    25.4 (1996)
    revenues: $80.87 billion
    expenditures: $89.39 billion (2012 est.)
    41.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    -4.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    45.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    41.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    3.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    1.9% (2011 est.)
    0.75% (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    0.75% (31 December 2010)
    note: this is the two-week repo, the main rate CNB uses
    5.41% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    5.72% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $122.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    $107.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $151.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    $141.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $138.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    $129.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $53.2 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    $73.1 billion (31 December 2010)
    $70.26 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$3.596 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    -$6.348 billion (2011 est.)
    $131.7 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    $136.3 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and transport equipment, raw materials and fuel, chemicals
    Germany 31.8%, Slovakia 9.1%, Poland 6.1%, France 5.1%, UK 4.9%, Austria 4.7% (2012)
    $124.2 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    $131.2 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and transport equipment, raw materials and fuels, chemicals
    Germany 29.5%, Poland 7.7%, Slovakia 7.4%, China 6.3%, Netherlands 5.8%, Russia 5.3%, Austria 4.3% (2012)
    $44.88 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    $40.29 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $98.95 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    $95.05 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $136.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    $125.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $16.67 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    $15.47 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    koruny (CZK) per US dollar -
    19.578 (2012 est.)
    17.696 (2011 est.)
    19.098 (2010 est.)
    19.063 (2009)
    17.064 (2008)

Energy ::Czech Republic

Communications ::Czech Republic

    2.289 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    13 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    general assessment: privatization and modernization of the Czech telecommunication system got a late start but is advancing steadily; virtually all exchanges now digital; existing copper subscriber systems enhanced with Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) equipment to accommodate Internet and other digital signals; trunk systems include fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay
    domestic: access to the fixed-line telephone network expanded throughout the 1990s but the number of fixed line connections has been dropping since then; mobile telephone usage increased sharply beginning in the mid-1990s and the number of cellular telephone subscriptions now greatly exceeds the population
    international: country code - 420; satellite earth stations - 6 (2 Intersputnik - Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions, 1 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 1 Globalstar) (2011)
    roughly 130 TV broadcasters operating some 350 channels with 4 publicly operated and the remainder in private hands; 16 TV stations have national coverage with 4 being publicly operated; cable and satellite TV subscription services are available; 63 radio broadcasters are registered operating roughly 80 radio stations with 15 stations publicly operated; 10 radio stations provide national coverage with the remainder local or regional (2008)
    4.148 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    6.681 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 40

Transportation ::Czech Republic

    128 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    total: 41
    over 3,047 m: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
    914 to 1,523 m: 2
    under 914 m: 16 (2013)
    total: 87
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 25
    under 914 m:
    61 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 7,160 km; oil 536 km; refined products 94 km (2013)
    total: 9,469 km
    country comparison to the world: 22
    standard gauge: 9,449 km 1.435-m gauge (3,165 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 20 km 0.750-m gauge (2008)
    total: 130,671 km (includes urban roads)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    paved: 130,671 km (includes 730 km of expressways) (2010)
    664 km (principally on Elbe, Vltava, Oder, and other navigable rivers, lakes, and canals) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    river port(s): Prague (Vltava); Decin, Usti nad Labem (Elbe)

Military ::Czech Republic

Transnational Issues ::Czech Republic

    while threats of international legal action never materialized in 2007, 915,220 Austrians, with the support of the popular Freedom Party, signed a petition in January 2008, demanding that Austria block the Czech Republic's accession to the EU unless Prague closes its controversial Soviet-style nuclear plant in Temelin, bordering Austria
    stateless persons: 1,502 (2012)
    transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and minor transit point for Latin American cocaine to Western Europe; producer of synthetic drugs for local and regional markets; susceptible to money laundering related to drug trafficking, organized crime; significant consumer of ecstasy (2008)