Category Archives: Czech republic

“Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred” Václav Havel

One of my first encounters with Czechoslovakia after stepping off a CSA TU-134 (at that time still Československé aerolinie) at Prague airport in January 1990 was with the hundreds of posters of Václav Havel on the walls. And those posters were everywhere in this city that had liberated itself from communist oppression. The posters read “Truth and Love must prevail over lies and hatred”. Václav Havel wore an Civic Forum (OF) badge on his sweater. A badge I was lucky to get back then, and that I still have.

Real life catches up with idealism pretty fast and Václav Havel himself had to see part of his ideals translate into day to day policies that saw Czechoslovakia break up, the difficulties of reforming a communist economy with its social hardships, not to mention petty politics.

He might have been sometimes less considered in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic because of the effects of reforms on a very backwards Slovakia, but still…My girlfriend’s eyes watered when I read to her the titles flashing on the big screen where the 24 hours news network TA3 was being broadcasted. And for a moment, my voice itself became shaky, because of the attention and affection I have had for Czechs and Slovaks.

Some people disregard personal comfort in the name of big ideas. Everyone might have big ideas, but not all of us are ready to make sacrifices for them. He went countless times to jail, and kept firm in his vision. He worked with other freedom fighters in Central Europe to make this region a better place.

A great man passed away today. I pay my respects, and share my sadness of his departure, with the certainty that others are ready to shoulder the fight for Truth and Love.

„Pravda a láska musí zvítězit nad lží a nenávistí“Image


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Car prices in Europe: evolution and differences between member states: Slovakia prices in free fall, for best deals shop in Hungary

The European Commission has released its car price survey for last year.

The report focuses on pricing differences between EU member countries by comparing price lists of cars in member states, and adapting major equipment differences.

This study has been issued on a regular basis since 1993 and has strongly influenced manufacturers to narrow the price differences of cars between EU member states or face (unwritten) a totally liberalized market.

Major differences occur often in pre-tax prices, since in countries where cars are heavily taxed, competition between manufacturers often drag fully taxed prices down. With the Euro, gaps have been considerably reduced as currency variation could not explain differences any more, and that price variations between countries became more visible to consumers.

Slovenia shines as one of the cheapest markets of the Eurozone after Greece. In the small car, it is the least expensive Eurozone country for 7 models out of 30. When it is more expensive, difference rarely reaches 5% difference with the nearest country.

As for another Euro country, Slovakia, the most important information is that according to the report, prices of new vehicles have dropped more than 17% when average prices in Europe dropped only 2.5%. It is no surprise that the used car market suffered as it did. I recalled on my website some used car professionals talking about sales prices going down one third.

We know that the Czech and Polish markets are highly competitive. The report shows it as the Czech Republic is cheaper than any Euro country for 7 models out of 20 from the small car segment and for 6 models out of 20 for the lower compact segment (Škoda Octavia…). It is to be said that this result is achieved even though the Czech Crown has appreciated against the Euro 3% between January 2010 and January 2011.

But the palm of attractive car prices is Hungary: in the small car segments, it shines as the cheapest country in almost half of the most selling models. In the lower intermediate segment, Hungary is the cheapest market for 5 out of 20 models.

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