Final Word from Monday, August 2, 2004

Stanislav Gross took a solid step toward gaining credibility in the economic field on Fri. by nominating CEO Martin Jahn of CzechInvest as deputy premier for economics. Jahn won't have a ministry under him but will have the premier's ear on such issues as reform of bankruptcy and the commercial registry, and capping social taxes. Jahn is leapfrogging his current boss, Industry Minister Milan Urban, and is squeezing out Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the current deputy minister. This will anger some people. More important, though, are the implications Jahn's appointment could have for privatization. There's reason to fear that Gross will try to use the goodwill produced by Jahn's appointment to put a happy face on an ugly privatization process. Jahn is eminently employable in the private sector and would do better to walk away at the first sign of trouble.


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