Prague, March 19 (RFE/RL) -- Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus says he will shut down the country's Privatization Ministry in
June, following parliamentary elections.
Speaking to an international forum of banking and financial leaders
at RFe/RL's Prague headquarters today, Klaus said: "We don't think
there will be a need for the Ministry of Privatization after the
first half of 1996."
Klaus said the "transformation privatization" in the country is now
complete and that there are only some "residual" cases where
state shares in firms need to be transfered to the private sector.
Klaus also said that despite the upcoming elections, his cabinet
did N-O-T intend to "inflate the economy" by funding unnecessary
social programs. He said the prognosis for the Czech economy was
"growth and prosperity" and that, with a balanced budget, "populist
gestures" were N-O-T necessary.
He said the Czech Republic's unemployment rate of 3.1 percent, one
of the lowest in the world, was one of the most worrying economic
indicators for the Czech republic. He said that while the "social
side" of the low rate was positive in the immediate term, the tight
labor market made it difficult for new businesses.
Klaus said he considers the country's annual inflation rate of 8.6
percent to be very high because "our eyes are turned to Western
Europe and not to the post Communist world," where such a rate would
be considered relatively low.
Klaus also said the Central European Free Trade Area (CEFTA) intends
to invite all three Baltic states into the group as observers this