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Czech Republic



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Introduction

Background: After World War II, 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 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. Now a member of NATO, the Czech Republic has moved toward integration in world markets, a development that poses both opportunities and risks.

Geography

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: 1,881 km
  border countries: Austria 362 km, Germany 646 km, Poland 658 km, Slovakia 215 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: 41%
  permanent crops: 2%
  permanent pastures: 11%
  forests and woodland: 34%
  other: 12% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 240 sq km (1993 est.)

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

Environment - international agreements
  party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
  signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

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

Population: 10,272,179 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 16% (male 866,754; female 823,795)
  15-64 years: 70% (male 3,579,454; female 3,577,919)
  65 years and over: 14% (male 547,462; female 876,795) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.08% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 9.1 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 10.87 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 74.51 years
  male: 71.01 years
  female: 78.22 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.18 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Czech(s)
  adjective: Czech

Ethnic groups: Czech 81.2%, Moravian 13.2%, Slovak 3.1%, Polish 0.6%, German 0.5%, Silesian 0.4%, Roma 0.3%, Hungarian 0.2%, other 0.5% (March 1991)

Religions: atheist 39.8%, Roman Catholic 39.2%, Protestant 4.6%, Orthodox 3%, other 13.4%

Languages: Czech

Literacy
  definition: NA
  total population: 99.9% (1999 est.)
  male: NA%
  female: NA%

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: Czech Republic
  conventional short form: Czech Republic
  local long form: Ceska Republika
  local short form: Ceska Republika

Data code: EZ

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Prague

Administrative divisions: 73 districts (okresi, singular - okres) and 4 municipalities* (mesta, singular - mesto); Benesov, Beroun, Blansko, Breclav, Brno*, Brno-Venkov, Bruntal, Ceske Budejovice, Ceska Lipa, Cesky Krumlov, Cheb, Chomutov, Chrudim, Decin, Domazlice, Frydek-Mistek, Havlickuv Brod, Hodonin, Hradec Kralove, Jablonec nad Nisou, Jesenik, Jicin, Jihlava, Jindrichuv Hradec, Karlovy Vary, Karvina, Kladno, Klatovy, Kolin, Kromeriz, Kutna Hora, Liberec, Litomerice, Louny, Melnik, Mlada Boleslav, Most, Nachod, Novy Jicin, Nymburk, Olomouc, Opava, Ostrava*, Pardubice, Pelhrimov, Pisek, Plzen*, Plzen-Jih, Plzen-Sever, Prachatice, Praha*, Praha-Vychod, Praha Zapad, Prerov, Pribram, Prostejov, Rakovnik, Rokycany, Rychnov nad Kneznou, Semily, Sokolov, Strakonice, Sumperk, Svitavy, Tabor, Tachov, Teplice, Trebic, Trutnov, Uherske Hradiste, Usti nad Labem, Usti nad Orlici, Vsetin, Vyskov, Zdar nad Sazavou, Zlin, Znojmo

Independence: 1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics)

National holiday: National Liberation Day, 8 May; Founding of the Republic, 28 October

Constitution: ratified 16 December 1992; effective 1 January 1993

Legal system: civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; 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 HAVEL (since 2 February 1993)
  head of government: Prime Minister Milos ZEMAN (since 17 July 1998); Deputy Prime Ministers Vladimir SPIDLA (since 17 July 1998), Pavel RYCHETSKY (since 17 July 1998), Pavel MERTLIK (since 17 July 1998), Jan KAZAN (since 8 December 1999)
  cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
  elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term; election last held 20 January 1998 (next to be held NA January 2003); prime minister appointed by the president
  election results: Vaclav HAVEL reelected president; Vaclav HAVEL received 47 of 81 votes in the Senate and 99 out of 200 votes in the Chamber of Deputies (second round of voting)

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve staggered two-, four-, and six-year terms) 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 13-14 and 20-21 November 1998 (next to be held NA November 2000 - to replace/reelect 20 senators serving two-year terms); Chamber of Deputies - last held 19-20 June 1998 (next to be held by NA June 2002)
  election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CSSD 23, ODS 25, KDU-CSL 16, KCSM 4, ODA 7, US 4, DEU 1, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CSSD 74, ODS 63, KDU-CSL 20, US 19, KCSM 24

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for life; Constitutional Court, chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for life

Political parties and leaders: Assembly for the Republic or SPR-RSC [Miroslav SLADEK, chairman]; Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party or KDU-CSL [Jan KASAL, chairman]; Civic Democratic Alliance or ODA [Daniel KROUPA, chairman]; Civic Democratic Party or ODS [Vaclav KLAUS, chairman]; Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or KSCM [Miroslav GREBENICEK, chairman]; Czech Social Democrats or CSSD [Milos ZEMAN, chairman]; Democratic Union or DEU [Ratibor MAJZLIK, chairman]; Freedom Union or US [Karel KUEHUL, acting chairman]; Quad Coalition [Richard FALBR, chairman] (includes KDU-CSL, US, ODA, DEU)

Political pressure groups and leaders: "Thanks, Now Go"; Impulse 99; Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions

International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UPU, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Alexsandr VONDRA
  chancery: 3900 Spring of Freedom Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 363-6315
  FAX: [1] (202) 966-8540
  consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador John SHATTUCK
  embassy: Trziste 15, 11801 Prague 1
  mailing address: use embassy street address
  telephone: [420] (2) 5753-0663
  FAX: [420] (2) 5753-0583

Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side (almost identical to the flag of the former Czechoslovakia)

Economy

Economy - overview: Political and financial crises in 1997 shattered the Czech Republic's image as one of the most stable and prosperous of post-Communist states. Delays in enterprise restructuring and failure to develop a well-functioning capital market played major roles in Czech economic troubles, which culminated in a currency crisis in May. The currency was forced out of its fluctuation band as investors worried that the current account deficit, which reached nearly 8% of GDP in 1996, would become unsustainable. After expending $3 billion in vain to support the currency, the central bank let it float. The growing current account imbalance reflected a surge in domestic demand and poor export performance, as wage increases outpaced productivity. The government was forced to introduce two austerity packages later in the spring which cut government spending by 2.5% of GDP. Growth dropped to 0.3% in 1997, -2.3% in 1998, and -0.5% in 1999. The basic transition problem continues to be too much direct and indirect government influence on the privatized economy. The government established a restructuring agency in 1999 and launched a revitalization program - to spur the sale of firms to foreign companies. Key priorities include accelerating legislative convergence with EU norms, restructuring enterprises, and privatizing banks and utilities. The economy, fueled by increased export growth and investment, is expected to recover in 2000.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $120.8 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -0.5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $11,700 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 5%
  industry: 42%
  services: 53% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: 4.6%
  highest 10%: 23.5% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 5.203 million (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: industry 32%, agriculture 5.6%, construction 8.7%, transport and communications 6.9%, services 46.8% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 9% (1999 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $16.4 billion
  expenditures: $17.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)

Industries: fuels, ferrous metallurgy, machinery and equipment, coal, motor vehicles, glass, armaments

Industrial production growth rate: -4% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 61.466 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 75.54%
  hydro: 2.55%
  nuclear: 20.37%
  other: 1.54% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 54.733 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 10.8 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 8.37 billion kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, cattle, poultry; forest products

Exports: $26.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 41%, other manufactured goods 40%, chemicals 8%, raw materials and fuel 7% (1998)

Exports - partners: Germany 42%, Slovakia 8%, Austria 6%, Poland 6%, France 4% (1999)

Imports: $29 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 39%, other manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 12%, raw materials and fuels 10%, food 5% (1998)

Imports - partners: Germany 34%, Slovakia 6%, Russia 6%, Austria 6%, France 5% (1999)

Debt - external: $24.3 billion (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $351.6 million (1995)

Currency: 1 koruna (Kc) = 100 haleru

Exchange rates: koruny (Kcs) per US$1 - 35.630 (December 1999), 34.569 (1999), 32.281 (1998), 31.698 (1997), 27.145 (1996), 26.541 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 3,741,492 (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 965,476 (1998)

Telephone system
  domestic: 70% of exchanges now digital; existing copper subscriber systems now being 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: satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions), 1 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat

Radio broadcast stations: AM 21, FM 199, shortwave 1 (1999)

Radios: 3,173,856 (December 1999)

Television broadcast stations: 102 (of which 35 are low power stations), plus about 500 repeaters (1988)

Televisions: 3,428,817 (December 1999)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 35 (1999)

Transportation

Railways
  total: 9,435 km
  standard gauge: 9,341 km 1.435-m standard gauge (2,946 km electrified at three voltages; 1,868 km double track)
  narrow gauge: 94 km 0.760-m narrow gauge (1998)

Highways
  total: 127,693 km
  paved: 127,693 km (including 498 km of expressways)
  unpaved: 0 km (1998 est.)

Waterways: 677 km; the Elbe (Labe) is the principal river

Pipelines: natural gas 53,000 km (1998)

Ports and harbors: Decin, Prague, Usti nad Labem

Airports: 114 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 43
  over 3,047 m: 2
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
  914 to 1,523 m: 1
  under 914 m: 16 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 71
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
  914 to 1,523 m: 28
  under 914 m: 42 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Army, Air and Air Defense Forces, Civil Defense, Railroad Units

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 2,669,505 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 2,035,194 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 70,674 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.2 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.9% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: Liechtenstein claims restitution for 1,600 sq km of land in the Czech Republic confiscated from its royal family in 1918; the Czech Republic insists that restitution does not go back before February 1948, when the communists seized power; individual Sudeten German claims for restitution of property confiscated in connection with their expulsion after World War II; agreement with Slovakia signed 24 November 1998 resolves issues of redistribution of former Czechoslovak federal land - approval by both parliaments is expected in 2000

Illicit drugs: major transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and minor transit point for Latin American cocaine to Western Europe; domestic consumption - especially of locally produced synthetic drugs - on the rise

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