Written by: Anita Lišková
INSURANCE: Stats up on supplementary pension insurance
Despite never-ending disputes about the concept of pension reform, Czechs aren’t sitting idle and awaiting old age, and supplementary pension insurance has become a matter of course in the Czech Republic. In the second quarter the number of subscribers was up by nearly 187,000 over the first quarter of this year, bringing the total to 2.7 million, and 25% of Czechs are now saving for their retirement. State contributions in the same period amounted to CZK 727 million, the highest total in the system’s eight-year history. As implied by records at the finance ministry, the sum of all deposited assets, including state contributions, reached CZK 82.7 billion. The deposits of individual subscribers, which together now total nearly CZK 65 billion, are managed by twelve pension funds.
INTERNET: First step to e-government
After a thirty-day trial period, the Ministry of Informatics has launched its Public Administration Portal for the public – www.portal.gov.cz. The free services the site offers include complete lists of municipalities, state and local authorities, databases of laws of the Czech Republic, EU guidelines and regulations, and various kinds of advice. The use of electronic signatures is assumed for the future. According to the ministry, this internet service, whose operation will cost CZK 40 million per year, will simplify administration, facilitate communications between citizens and public authorities, and increase institutional transparency and trust. “This spring I promised that by the end of the year the Czech Republic will be one of the countries offering this basic eGovernment service,” says the minister, Vladimír Mlynář. “In later stages the site will be expanded and adapted to the latest needs of users,” he adds.
OPINION: Which institutions do we trust?
According to research conducted by the Center for Public Opinion Research at the Academy of Sciences, Czech citizens see television as the most trustworthy institution. Today 66% of Czechs trust television, and the media has long held this great trust. Czechs also have very high trust in mayors and the president of the republic, both enjoying about 60% support. Somewhat fewer but still over half of the citizens trust the army and the police, and over the long term confidence in these institutions is steadily rising. The prime minister is trusted by only one-third of the citizenry, and about the same percentage expressed confidence in church leaders. Trust in political parties is traditionally weak – although their trustworthiness in the eyes of Czechs has risen by 10% since last year, this still means that only one out of five people trust them.