One tenth of Czechs lives in poverty

Prague, Czech Republic (Michael Caroe Andersen, CC BY-NC)

The new Polish government still works on proposed reforms.

Bulgaria plans constitutional changes.

Armenia will be a parliamentary democracy.

Czech Republic

“Almost 10 percent of Czech households have a problem making ends meet”, Prague Daily Monitor reports. The poll of the Sociology Institute of the Czech Academy shows that these people have income below the poverty level which CZK13.500 a month, the lowest percentage in the EU. This 9.3 per cent having problems with making ends meet is approx. 960,000 people. According to Czech sociologists “making ends meet” indicator better assumes people’s situation than “income poverty level” indicator, because it takes into account not only incomes but also expenditures.

“Only four in ten people with incomes below the poverty level have a problem to make ends meet, while the remaining six can see no problem in this respect, the poll showed. This means that only 4 per cent of Czechs are below poverty level and simultaneously they have a problem making ends meet”, writes Prague Daily Monitor. Czech Republic is the 10th in the EU in terms of people´s assessment of their own poverty.

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Poland

Last week the lower house of Polish parliament started working on amending the 2015 budget. The government of Law and Justice (PiS) wants to increase the deficit by approx. PLN4bn – from PLN46.1bn to PLN50bn. On Thursday Sejm lifted the expenditure rule (that automatically adjusted expenditure if public debt raised) so that the party could start introducing its campaign promises (such as the  PLN500 per each second and subsequent child). Also the government claims the tax income will be lower than expected in 2015. Gazeta Wyborcza reports that the Minister of Development Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki revealed, while presenting on a conference the “2016 opening balance”, that in the long run the budget deficit will be lowered by tax revenues which are supposed to increase. Mr. Morawiecki wants to improve tax collection through methods such as reverse tax on split payments, a better control of suspicious transactions and so on. According to him closing the VAT gap by administrative effort will bring PLN53bn, and closing CIT gap will bring additional PLN46bn.

There is still no information on the final draft of the bill imposing a tax on supermarkets. The government claims the draft will be ready after consulting it with the owners of supermarket by the end of December. At first there had been a plan to impose a progressive turnover tax for foreign-owned supermarkets. But the government decided not to follow Victor Orban’s path (the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on February 2014 the Hungarian tax is discriminatory). So the officials think about imposing the tax on supermarkets larger than 250 sq meters (after a few weeks it was changed into 400 sq meters).

During the weekend thousands of Poles protested against the new government and its policy of ignoring the Constitutional Tribunal ruling. At the same time thousands of people went to streets to show support to Law and Justice.

Bulgaria

“A committee in Bulgaria’s Parliament is set to discuss amendments to the constitution that will pave the way for judicial reform, amid tensions between parties in the ruling coalition”, writes Novinite.com. There is a controversy over a proposal which allows Bulgarian parliament and the country’s Prosecutor’s Office to appoint an equal number of judges and prosecutors to each of the respective colleges of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), a body widely described as a “government of the judiciary”. After the members of parliament amended the draft reform for the second time last week, Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov stepped down. The draft introduced on the last week’s second reading cannot be amended in the third one.

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Armenia

After the national referendum held on December 6th, Armenia will now be a parliamentary democracy. In the referendum people showed they want to transform they country from a presidential to a parliamentary system of government. The Central Election Commission said on December 13th that amendments to the country’s constitution have just been adopted. “After announcing the final results of the referendum all members of the commission voted unanimously for a resolution approving the amendments”, Radio Free Europe informs. “The opposition says the amendment is meant to enable President Serzh Sarkisian to remain in power after his final term as president ends in 2018”.

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What’s up in indexes?

BUX (of Budapest) dropped by 1.50 per cent on Friday, December 11th. It closed at 23125.86 index points. The previous close was at 23477.19 index points. From year-end the index grew by 39.03 per cent.

BET (of Bucharest Stock Exchange) decreased from 7021.41 index points Thursday to 6943.70 index points Friday, dropping by 1.11 per cent. From year-end it lost 1.97 per cent.

PX (of Prague) lost 0.94 per cent – decreasing from 931.45 index points Thursday to 922.71 index points Friday. From year-end it dropped by 2.54 per cent.

After one-day-rise, WIG20 (of Warsaw) dropped by 2.31 per cent. It fell from 1798.86 index points Thursday to 1757.37 index points Friday. From year-end it lost 24.12 per cent.

OMXT (of Tallinn) increased from 900.23 index points Thursday to 900.62 index points Friday. So it’s up 0.04 per cent d/d and 19.28 per cent from year-end.

OMXR (of Riga) was up 0.11 per cent on Friday, increasing from 582.08 index points Thursday to 582.74 index points Friday. From year-end it’s up 42.82 per cent.

OMXV (of Vilnius) fell from 485.21 index points to 483.67 index points, dropping by 0.32 per cent. From year-end it’s up 6.91 per cent.

SAX (of Bratislava) climbed from 295.10 index points Thursday to 295.26 index points Friday. So it’s up 0.05 per cent d/d and 32.81 per cent from year-end.

SOFIX (of Sofia) increased from 432.63 index points to 436.58 index points, being up 0.91 per cent. From year-end it lost 16.38 per cent.

UX (of Kyiv) lost 1.37 per cent on Friday, falling from 704.57 index points to 694.89 index points. And from year-end it dropped by 32.75 per cent.

CROBEX (of Zagreb Stock Exchange) dropped by 0.80 per cent on Friday. It closed at 1659.99 index points. The day before it closed at 1673.30 index points. From YE it dropped by 4.90 per cent.

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