Fiala: Energy prices exceed our worst expectations

President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) agreed on Tuesday that the development of energy prices had exceeded their worst expectations, Fiala said after a meeting with the head of state.

According to them, action at the European and national levels is needed to ensure energy for Czech companies and citizens at acceptable prices. The government is expected to address the so-called savings tariff on Wednesday.

“We talked about setting a savings tariff, what the government has already done, and what can be done in the future. We will try to initiate a European-wide solution, which would be the most effective. I will be discussing this with Chancellor Olaf Scholz during his visit to Prague early next week, as well as with other representatives of European states,” Fiala said.

Electricity and gas prices on the market have recently set new records. This is related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed.

The so-called savings tariff, which is supposed to help households with high energy prices, is on the government’s plan on Wednesday. Homes would get help through an electricity contract.

Part of the contribution will be paid this year; the other amount will be delivered early next year from the 2023 budget. The state is to allocate 40 billion crowns for the energy-saving tariff, while the government has earmarked 66 billion crowns to help people and companies with energy prices. The main task of ministers will be to determine the specific amount of assistance for individual distribution tariffs. The amounts are missing in the draft submitted to the government.

The cabinet is also expected to discuss the adjustment of housing allowances due to rising prices. The Ministry of Industry and the Energy Regulatory Authority will submit estimates of average increases for the last quarter of this year and next year. The estimated price increases should be reflected in the so-called normative costs, which calculate the number of benefits.

They also dealt with Mlejnek

According to the prime minister, Zeman and Fiala also confirmed on Tuesday that there is an agreement between the government and the president on the primary direction and foreign policy positions—including support for Ukraine and condemnation of Russian aggression.

Other topics of the meeting included the situation of the head of the civilian intelligence agency, Petr Mlejnek, who is facing criticism over his contacts with businessman Michal Redl, who is accused of the Dozimetr corruption case. At the same time, Zeman said he respects the government’s position, according to Fiala. “He has listened to my information and the reasons why the government decided not to find grounds for dismissal,” the prime minister said.