Final Word from Wednesday, October 13, 2021

One day before the Czech parliamentary elections, Volkswagen's Škoda Auto threatened to halt production of cars in the CR. It was an act of war. Škoda could just as easily have waited until one day after the elections. Instead, it chose hostility. Then it came on Mon. with hat in hand to ask PM Andrej Babiš and Industry Min. Karel Havlíček for a handout in the form of reactivation of the Antivirus jobs program. Not so much for itself, said Havlíček, but for its suppliers. What he didn't say, but what he certainly knows, is that VW is squeezing its suppliers by canceling or sharply cutting firm contracts: "You want to do business with us in the future, don't you?" Now it wants to repair the collateral damage of its own actions by squeezing the Czech government into paying employment subsidies under a covid program designed for something else entirely. Babiš is in a tight spot, because he knows he can't just tell VW to go fly a kite. VW of course also knows this. What would Petr Fiala do? [ Czech Republic benefits Kurzarbeit ]

Glossary of difficult words

hat/cap in hand - humbly asking for a favor;

handout - a quantity of financial or other material aid given to a person or organization;

to squeeze someone - to pressure someone in order to obtain something from him or her; to have a damaging or restricting effect on someone;

to go fly a kite - to go away.

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