CZECH REPUBLIC

MARCH 25, 2009 BY RANG WHAM
   Introduction    Czech Republic Top of Page
Background:
Following the First World War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After World War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia 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 party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "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 Top of Page
Location:
Central Europe, southeast of Germany
Geographic coordinates:
49 45 N, 15 30 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 78,866 sq km
land: 77,276 sq km
water: 1,590 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries:
total: 1,989 km
border countries: Austria 362 km, Germany 815 km, Poland 615 km, Slovakia 197 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
Terrain:
Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Elbe River 115 m
highest point: Snezka 1,602 m
Natural resources:
hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber
Land use:
arable land: 38.82%
permanent crops: 3%
other: 58.18% (2005)
Irrigated land:
240 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
16 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.91 cu km/yr (41%/57%/2%)
per capita: 187 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards:
flooding
Environment - current issues:
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
Environment - international agreements:
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
Geography - note:
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    Czech Republic Top of Page
Population:
10,211,904 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.6% (male 712,045/female 673,657)
15-64 years: 71% (male 3,641,887/female 3,604,044)
65 years and over: 15.5% (male 623,882/female 956,389) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.1 years
male: 38.6 years
female: 41.9 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.094% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
8.89 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
10.69 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.79 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.13 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.81 years
male: 73.54 years
female: 80.28 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.24 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,500 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 10 (2001 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Czech(s)
adjective: Czech
Ethnic groups:
Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)
Religions:
Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)
Languages:
Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8% (2001 census)
Literacy:
definition: NA
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
4.4% of GDP (2004)
   Government    Czech Republic Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Czech Republic
conventional short form: Czech Republic
local long form: Ceska Republika
local short form: Cesko
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
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
Administrative divisions:
13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city* (hlavni mesto); Jihocesky (South Bohemia), Jihomoravsky (South Moravia), Karlovarsky, Kralovehradecky, Liberecky, Moravskoslezsky (Moravia-Silesia), Olomoucky, Pardubicky, Plzensky (Pilsen), Praha (Prague)*, Stredocesky (Central Bohemia), Ustecky, Vysocina, Zlinsky
Independence:
1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
National holiday:
Czech Founding Day, 28 October (1918)
Constitution:
ratified 16 December 1992, effective 1 January 1993; amended 1997, 2000, 2001 (twice), 2002
Legal system:
civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; legal code modified to bring it in line with Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) obligations and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vaclav KLAUS (since 7 March 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister Mirek TOPOLANEK (since 9 January 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Petr NECAS (since 9 January 2007), Martin BURSIK (since 9 January 2007), and Vlasta PARKANOVA (since 23 January 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last successful election held 15 February 2008 (after earlier elections held 8 and 9 February 2008 were inconclusive; next election to be held in 2013); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Vaclav KLAUS reelected president on 15 February 2008; Vaclav KLAUS 141 votes, Jan SVEJNAR 111 votes (third round; combined votes of both chambers of parliament)
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members are 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 are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held in two rounds 17-18 and 24-25 October 2008 (next to be held by October 2010); Chamber of Deputies - last held 2-3 June 2006 (next to be held by June 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ODS 36, CSSD 29, KDU-CSL 7, Open Democracy Club 6, others 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - ODS 35.4%, CSSD 32.3%, KSCM 12.8%, KDU-CSL 7.2%, Greens 6.3%, other 6%; seats by party - ODS 81, CSSD 74, KSCM 26, KDU-CSL 13, Greens 6; note - seats by party as of December 2008 - ODS 79, CSSD 71, KSCM 26, KDU-CSL 13, Greens 4, unaffiliated 7 (former CSSD, ODS, and Green Party members)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for a 10-year term
Political parties and leaders:
Association of Independent Candidates-European Democrats or SNK-ED [Helmut DOHNALEK]; Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party or KDU-CSL [Jiri CUNEK]; Civic Democratic Party or ODS [Mirek TOPOLANEK]; Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or KSCM [Vojtech FILIP]; Czech Social Democratic Party or CSSD [Jiri PAROUBEK]; Free Citizens' Party or SSO [Petr MACH]; Green Party [Martin BURSIK]; Independent Democrats (NEZDEM) [Vladimir ZELEZNY]; Party of Open Society (SOS) [Pavel NOVACEK]; Path of Change [Jiri LOBKOWITZ]; Union of Freedom-Democratic Union or US-DEU [Jan CERNY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions or CMKOS [Milan STECH]
International organization participation:
ACCT (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Petr KOLAR
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
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard W. GRABER
embassy: Trziste 15, 118 01 Prague 1
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [420] 257 022 000
FAX: [420] 257 022 809
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side
note: identical to the flag of the former Czechoslovakia
   Economy    Czech Republic Top of Page
Economy - overview:
The Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. Maintaining an open investment climate has been a key element of the Czech Republic's transition from a communist, centrally planned economy to a functioning market economy. As a member of the European Union, with an advantageous location in the center of Europe, a relatively low cost structure, and a well-qualified labor force, the Czech Republic is an attractive destination for foreign investment. Prior to its EU accession in 2004, the Czech government harmonized its laws and regulations with those of the European Union. The government plans to meet the criteria for joining the eurozone around 2012. The small, open, export-driven Czech economy grew by over 6% annually from 2005-2007 and the strong growth continued throughout the first three quarters of 2008. Despite the global financial crisis, the conservative Czech financial system has remained relatively healthy. The rate of Czech economic growth, however, began to fall in the fourth quarter of 2008, mainly due to a significant drop in demand for Czech exports in Western Europe. This trend is expected to continue, with many analysts predicting Czech economy to contract slightly in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$266.3 billion (2008 est.)
$257.3 billion (2007)
$242.7 billion (2006)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$217.2 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.9% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$26,100 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.6%
industry: 38.7%
services: 58.7% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
5.37 million (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 40.2%
services: 56.2% (2007)
Unemployment rate:
6% (2008)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.3%
highest 10%: 22.4% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
26 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed):
27.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $94.96 billion
expenditures: $99.46 billion (2008 est.)
Public debt:
29.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (2008)
Central bank discount rate:
1.25% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5.79% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$84.43 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$58.77 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$103.9 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$73.42 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry
Industries:
motor vehicles, metallurgy, machinery and equipment, glass, armaments
Industrial production growth rate:
7% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:
82.88 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
61.52 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports:
26.36 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
10.2 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
13,530 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
207,400 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports:
27,360 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:
224,600 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
15 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production:
172 million cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
8.622 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
402 million cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
8.628 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.964 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance:
-$6.46 billion (2008 est.)
Exports:
$145.8 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment 52%, raw materials and fuel 9%, chemicals 5% (2003)
Exports - partners:
Germany 30.7%, Slovakia 8.7%, Poland 5.9%, France 5.4%, UK 5.1%, Italy 4.9%, Austria 4.6% (2007)
Imports:
$141.4 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment 46%, raw materials and fuels 15%, chemicals 10% (2003)
Imports - partners:
Germany 31.8%, Netherlands 6.7%, Slovakia 6.4%, Poland 6.3%, Austria 5.1%, China 5.1%, Russia 4.5%, Italy 4.4%, France 4.1% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$37 billion (31 December 2008)
Debt - external:
$88.74 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$107.6 billion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$7.721 billion (2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
koruny (CZK) per US dollar - 17.064 (2008), 20.53 (2007), 22.596 (2006), 23.957 (2005), 25.7 (2004)
   Communications    Czech Republic Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
2.888 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
13.075 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: privatization and modernization of the Czech telecommunication system got a late start but is advancing steadily; 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
domestic: 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
international: country code - 420; satellite earth stations - 6 (2 Intersputnik - Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions, 1 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 1 Globalstar) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 31, FM 304, shortwave 17 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
71 (2008)
Internet country code:
.cz
Internet hosts:
2.434 million (2008)
Internet users:
4.4 million (2007)
   Transportation    Czech Republic Top of Page
Airports:
122 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 45
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 18 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 77
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 26
under 914 m: 50 (2007)
Heliports:
1 (2007)
Pipelines:
gas 7,010 km; oil 547 km; refined products 94 km (2008)
Railways:
total: 9,597 km
standard gauge: 9,597 km 1.435-m gauge (3,041 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:
total: 128,512 km
paved: 128,512 km (includes 657 km of expressways) (2007)
Waterways:
664 km (principally on Elbe, Vltava, Oder, and other navigable rivers, lakes, and canals) (2008)
Merchant marine:
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Decin, Prague, Usti nad Labem
   Military    Czech Republic Top of Page
Military branches:
Army of the Czech Republic (ACR): Joint Forces Command (includes Land Forces and Air Forces), Support and Training Forces Command (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
18-28 years of age for voluntary and 19-28 for compulsory military service (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,522,383
females age 16-49: 2,425,095 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,095,038
females age 16-49: 2,011,531 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 60,150
female: 57,157 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.46% of GDP (2007 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Czech Republic Top of Page
Disputes - international:
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
Illicit drugs:
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)

This page was last updated on 9 April 2009


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