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Introduction Czech Republic
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
Central Europe, southeast of Germany
Geographic coordinates:
49 45 N, 15 30 E
Map references:
total: 78,866 sq km
water: 1,590 sq km
land: 77,276 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
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
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: 39.8%
permanent crops: 3.05%
other: 57.15% (2001)
Irrigated land:
240 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
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-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, 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
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
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
10,246,178 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 15% (male 789,987; female 748,476)
15-64 years: 70.9% (male 3,643,574; female 3,622,276)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 557,496; female 884,369) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 38.6 years
male: 36.9 years
female: 40.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.05% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
9.1 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
10.54 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 4.32 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.78 years
male: 72.52 years
female: 79.24 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.18 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
500 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 10 (2001 est.)
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% (1991)
Roman Catholic 39.2%, Protestant 4.6%, Orthodox 3%, other 13.4%, atheist 39.8%
definition: NA
total population: 99.9% (1999 est.)
male: NA
female: NA
Government Czech Republic
Country name:
conventional long form: Czech Republic
conventional short form: Czech Republic
local short form: Ceska Republika
local long form: Ceska Republika
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city* (hlavni mesto); Jihocesky Kraj, Jihomoravsky Kraj, Karlovarsky Kraj, Kralovehradecky Kraj, Liberecky Kraj, Moravskoslezsky Kraj, Olomoucky Kraj, Pardubicky Kraj, Plzensky Kraj, Praha*, Stredocesky Kraj, Ustecky Kraj, Vysocina, Zlinsky Kraj
1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
National holiday:
Czech Founding Day, 28 October (1918)
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
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vaclav KLAUS (since 7 March 2003)
note: the Czech Republic's first president Vaclav HAVEL stepped down from office on 2 February 2003 having served exactly 10 years; parliament finally elected a successor on 28 February 2003 after two inconclusive elections in January 2003
head of government: Prime Minister Stanislav GROSS (since 26 July 2004), Deputy Prime Ministers Zdenek SKROMACH (since 4 August 2004), Martin JAHN (since 4 August 2004), Pavel NEMEC (since 4 August 2004); Milan SIMONOVSKY (since 4 August 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
election results: Vaclav KLAUS elected president on 28 February 2003; Vaclav KLAUS 142 votes, Jan SOKOL 124 votes (third round; combined votes of both chambers of parliament)
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term; last successful election held 28 February 2003 (after earlier elections held 15 and 24 January 2003 were inconclusive; next election to be held NA January 2008); prime minister appointed by the president
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)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - ODS 26, KDU-CSL 15, Open Democracy 15, CSSD 9, Caucus "Independent" 5, US-DEU 1, European Democrats 1, Greens 1, KSCM 1, independents 7; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - CSSD 30.2%, ODS 24.5%, KSCM 18.5%, KDU-CSL & US-DEU coalition 14.3%, other minor 12.5%; seats by party - CSSD 70, ODS 58, KSCM 41, KDU-CSL 21, US-DEU 10
elections: Senate - last held in two rounds 5-6 November and 12-13 November 2004 (next to be held NA November 2006); Chamber of Deputies - last held 14-15 June 2002 (next to be held by NA June 2006)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for a 10-year term
Political parties and leaders:
Christian and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party or KDU-CSL [Miroslav KALOUSEK, chairman]; Civic Democratic Alliance or ODA [Michael ZANTOVSKY, chairman]; Civic Democratic Party or ODS [Mirek TOPOLANEK, chairman]; Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or KSCM [Miroslav GREBENICEK, chairman]; Communist Party of Czechoslovakia or KSC [Miroslav STEPAN, chairman]; Czech National Social Party of CSNS [Jaroslav ROVNY, chairman]; Czech Social Democratic Party or CSSD [Vladimir SPIDLA, chairman]; European Democrats; Freedom Union-Democratic Union or US-DEU [Petr MARES, chairman]; Green Party; Open Democracy
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Bohemian and Moravian Trade Union Confederation [Milan STECH]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Martin PALOUS
chancery: 3900 Spring of Freedom Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 966-8540
telephone: [1] (202) 274-9100
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William J. CABANISS
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 (identical to the flag of the former Czechoslovakia)
Economy Czech Republic
Economy - overview:
One of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states, the Czech Republic has been recovering from recession since mid-1999. Growth in 2000-03 was supported by exports to the EU, primarily to Germany, and a near doubling of foreign direct investment. Domestic demand is playing an ever more important role in underpinning growth as interest rates drop and the availability of credit cards and mortgages increases. High current account deficits - averaging around 5% of GDP in the last several years - could be a persistent problem. Inflation is under control. The EU put the Czech Republic just behind Poland and Hungary in preparations for accession, which will give further impetus and direction to structural reform. Moves to complete banking, telecommunications, and energy privatization will encourage additional foreign investment, while intensified restructuring among large enterprises and banks, and improvements in the financial sector, should strengthen output growth. Nonetheless, revival in the European economies remains essential to stepped-up growth.
purchasing power parity - $161.1 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.9% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $15,700 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.1%
industry: 35.5%
services: 61.4% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
26% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.3%
highest 10%: 22.4% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
25.4 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.1% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
5.25 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 5%, industry 35%, services 60% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
9.9% (2004 est.)
revenues: $33.25 billion
expenditures: $38.88 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Public debt:
29.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry
metallurgy, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, glass, armaments
Industrial production growth rate:
3.3% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
70.04 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 76.1%
hydro: 2.9%
other: 1% (2001)
nuclear: 20%
Electricity - consumption:
55.6 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
18.92 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
9.38 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
7,419 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
175,700 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
26,670 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
192,300 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
17.25 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
160 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
9.892 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
1 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
9.521 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.057 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
$-5.57 billion (2004 est.)
$46.77 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment 44%, intermediate manufactures 25%, chemicals 7%, raw materials and fuel 7% (2000)
Exports - partners:
Germany 37.1%, Slovakia 8%, Austria 6.3%, UK 5.4%, Poland 4.8%, France 4.7%, Italy 4.5%, Netherlands 4.1% (2003)
$50.4 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment 40%, intermediate manufactures 21%, raw materials and fuels 13%, chemicals 11% (2000)
Imports - partners:
Germany 32.6%, Italy 5.3%, China 5.2%, Slovakia 5.2%, France 4.9%, Russia 4.6%, Austria 4.3%, Poland 4.2% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$26.8 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$28 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$108 million; EU structural adjustment funds (2002)
Czech koruna (CZK)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
koruny per US dollar - 28.209 (2003), 32.7385 (2002), 38.0353 (2001), 38.5984 (2000), 34.5692 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Czech Republic
Telephones - main lines in use:
3.626 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
9,708,700 (2003)
Telephone system:
general assessment: privatization and modernization of the Czech telecommunication system got a late start but is advancing steadily; growth in the use of mobile cellular telephones is particularly vigorous
domestic: 86% 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: country code - 420; satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions), 1 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 1 Globalstar
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 31, FM 304, shortwave 17 (2000)
3,159,134 (December 2000)
Television broadcast stations:
150 (plus 1,434 repeaters) (2000)
3,405,834 (December 2000)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
295,677 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
more than 300 (2000)
Internet users:
2.7 million (2003)
Transportation Czech Republic
total: 9,520 km
standard gauge: 9,421 km 1.435-m gauge (2,893 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 99 km 0.760-m gauge (2003)
total: 55,408 km
paved: 55,408 km (including 499 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
664 km (on Elbe, Vlatava, and Oder rivers) (2004)
gas 7,020 km; oil 547 km; refined products 94 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Decin, Prague, Usti nad Labem
120 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 44
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 17 (2003 est.)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 76
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 48 (2003 est.)
2 (2003 est.)
Military Czech Republic
Military branches:
Czech Army: Ground Forces, Air Forces, Special Forces
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,623,386 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,003,748 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 67,195 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1,190.2 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.1% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Czech Republic
Disputes - international:
Liechtenstein's royal family claims restitution for 1,600 sq km of land in the Czech Republic confiscated in 1918; individual Sudeten Germans seek restitution for property confiscated in connection with their expulsion after World War II; Austria has minor dispute with Czech Republic over the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant
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

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004