Facts on the Czech Republic PRAGUE, June 14, 2003 (AFP) - Following is a fact file on the Czech Republic, which voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to joinMessage 1 of 1 , Dec 3 10:25 AMView Source
Facts on the Czech Republic
PRAGUE, June 14, 2003 (AFP) - Following is a fact file on the Czech Republic, which voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to join the European Union.
- POPULATION: 10.3 million.
- SIZE: 78,900 square kilometres (30,450 square miles), 1/5TH the size of Texas.
- CAPITAL: Prague (1.2 million inhabitants).
- RELIGION: Catholic: about 40 percent.
- LANGUAGE: Czech.
Following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the Republic of Czechoslovakia was established incorporating Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and part of sub-Carpathian Ruthenia. The German-speaking part of Bohemia, the Sudetenland, was ceded to Germany on the eve of World War II when the republic was occupied by the Nazis. Liberated by Soviet and US forces in 1945, Czechoslovakia became communist in 1948. The communist regime collapsed in late 1989 in what has become known as the Velvet Revolution headed by playwright turned dissident Vaclav Havel. Nationalism in the Slovak republic led to the break-up of the old federation following votes in the two parliaments in 1992. The break-up was on January 1, 1993.
Vaclav Havel, 66, was the first president of Czechoslovakia after its transition to democracy in 1989 and then became the Czech Republic's head of state when it split from Slovakia in 1993. He was re-elected five years later. He was replaced last February by right-winger Vaclav Klaus. The prime minister is Vladimir Spidla, head of the social democrat CSSD party.
The Czech economy is one of the success stories of eastern Europe. The country is heavily industrialised and most industry has been privatised. The Czech Republic attracts considerable foreign investment and its economy is increasingly linked to that of Germany. Tourism to Prague is a major currency earner.
GDP growth: 3.6 percent in 2001.
GDP: 6,820 euros (5,685 dollars) per capita.
National resources: coal, lignite, iron, bauxite.
Currency: Czech koruna (crown). 1 euro = 33 CZK (November 2003)
Unemployment: 9.3 percent (November 2002)
The Czech Republic was the first former Communist country to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It joined NATO in March 1999 and is among 10 candidate countries scheduled to join the European Union (EU) in mid-2004.