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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, 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. Now a member of NATO, the Czech Republic has moved toward integration in world markets, a development that poses both opportunities and risks. In December 2002, the Czech Republic was invited to join the European Union (EU). It is expected that the Czech Republic will accede to the EU 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: 40%
permanent crops: 3.04%
other: 56.96% (1998 est.)
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
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, 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
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
10,256,760 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.7% (male 828,273; female 786,617)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 3,605,766; female 3,603,058)
65 years and over: 14% (male 551,852; female 881,194) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.07% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
9.08 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
10.76 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
5.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.95 years
female: 78.65 years (2002 est.)
male: 71.46 years
Total fertility rate:
1.18 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.04% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,200 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 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)
atheist 39.8%, Roman Catholic 39.2%, Protestant 4.6%, Orthodox 3%, other 13.4%
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 after two inconclusive elections in January 2003 and three rounds of balloting on 28 February 2003
head of government: Prime Minister Vladimir SPIDLA (since 12 July 2002), Deputy Prime Ministers Pavel RYCHETSKY (since 22 July 1998), Cyril SVOBODA (since July 2002), Stanislav GROSS (since July 2002), Petr MARES (since July 2002)
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); 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 14, CSSD 11, US 9, KSCM 3, independents 18; 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 25-26 October and 1-2 November 2002 (next to be held NA November 2004); 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 [Cyril SVOBODA, chairman]; Civic Democratic Alliance or ODA [Michael ZANTOVSKY, chairman]; Civic Democratic Party or ODS [Vaclav KLAUS, 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 [Jan SULA, chairman]; Czech Social Democratic Party or CSSD [Milos ZEMAN, chairman]; Democratic Union or DEU [Ratibor MAJZLIK, chairman]; Freedom Union or US [Petr MARES, chairman]; Quad Coalition [Karel KUHNL, chairman] (includes KDU-CSL, US, ODA, DEU)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions [Richard FALBR]
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) 363-6315
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Craig R. STAPLETON
embassy: Trziste 15, 118 #01 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:
Basically 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 2000-02 was led by exports to the EU, especially Germany, and foreign investment, while domestic demand is reviving. Uncomfortably high fiscal and current account deficits could be future problems. Unemployment is gradually declining as job creation continues in the rebounding economy. Inflation is moderate. 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.
purchasing power parity - $155.9 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.6% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $15,300 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 41%
services: 56% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 22% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
25 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
5.203 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 5%, industry 35%, services 60% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
8.5% (2002 est.)
revenues: $16.7 billion
expenditures: $18 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
metallurgy, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, glass, armaments
Industrial production growth rate:
3.5% (2002)
Electricity - production:
69.589 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 78%
hydro: 3%
other: 1% (2000)
nuclear: 19%
Electricity - consumption:
54.701 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
18.74 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
8.725 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry
$38 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment 44%, intermediate manufactures 25%, chemicals 7%, raw materials and fuel 7% (2000)
Exports - partners:
Germany 35.4%, Slovakia 7.3%, UK 5.5%, Austria 5.3%, Poland 5.2%, (2001)
$41.7 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment 40%, intermediate manufactures 21%, raw materials and fuels 13%, chemicals 11% (2000)
Imports - partners:
Germany 32.9%, Slovakia 6.4%, Russia 6.0%, Italy 5.8%, Austria 4.6% (2001)
Debt - external:
$24.6 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
Czech koruna (CZK)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
koruny per US dollar - 36.325 (January 2002), 38.035 (2001), 38.598 (2000), 34.569 (1999), 32.281 (1998), 31.698 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Czech Republic
Telephones - main lines in use:
3.869 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.346 million (2000)
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: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):
more than 300 (2000)
Internet users:
2.69 million (2001)
Transportation Czech Republic
total: 9,444 km
standard gauge: 9,350 km 1.435-m gauge (2,843 km electrified; 1,929 km double-track)
narrow gauge: 94 km 0.760-m gauge (2000 est.)
total: 55,432 km
paved: 55,432 km (including 499 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
303 km
note: (the Labe (Elbe) is the principal river) (2000)
natural gas 3,550 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Decin, Prague, Usti nad Labem
121 (2001)
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 (2002)
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 (2002)
2 (2002)
Military Czech Republic
Military branches:
Army, Air and Air Defense Forces, Territorial Defense Force
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,637,128 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,012,779 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 69,393 (2002 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 German claims for restitution of property confiscated in connection with their expulsion after World War II; Austria has minor dispute with Czech Republic over the Temelin nuclear power plant and post-World War II treatment of German-speaking minorities
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 19 March 2003