Euroregion Elbe/Labe

Weekly review no. 12

National park railway runs for another 10 years - Děčín builds maternity hospital - To the Christmas market in the Czech Republic - Ústí district loses residents - Czech Republic's economy is shrinking significantly

15.12.2023

National Park Railway will run for another 10 years

The operation of the cross-border national park railway in Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland is secured for the next ten years. The Upper Elbe Transport Association (VVO) has agreed to an extension of the contract with the Czech Railways České dráhy (ČD). The Ústí district had previously commissioned České dráhy to operate for another 10 years. The National Park Railway was put back into operation at the beginning of July 2014 after an interruption of almost 70 years. The prerequisite was the closure of the gap between Sebnitz and Dolní Poustevna, which had been fought over for decades. Since then, the railway has run as the Czech line U28 from Děčín via Bad Schandau and Sebnitz to Dolní Poustevna and via Šluknov to Rumburk.

Děčín is building a maternity hospital

The hospital in Děčín will have a new maternity clinic by 2026. The Ústí district hospital association, Krajská zdravotní, is building a new clinic for 477 million crowns (around 20 million euros), which is said to combine obstetrics and gynecology in equal measure. In addition to the latest technology, parents should enjoy maximum privacy. At the same time, the new building of the intensive care clinic and the emergency room is nearing completion. The first patients are scheduled to move into the new building in April 2024.

The maternity clinic in Děčín not only serves the residents of the town, which has almost 50,000 inhabitants, but also surrounding towns such as Česká Kamenice, Benešov nad Ploučnicí and Jílové, as well as Bohemian Switzerland and the entire Schwenauer tip. There is a hospital in Rumburk, but a maternity ward was closed years ago. At that time the hospital still belonged to the city of Rumburk. The Krajská zdravotní has now integrated it into its network, but a maternity ward is not yet planned again. In the event of a birth, parents have to drive an hour or more on the way to the hospital, which can be an adventure on the mountain roads in winter. A Saxon-Czech memorandum from 2019, which was intended to enable Czech patients in the border area in particular to receive cost-neutral treatment in nearby Saxon hospitals, has so far had no result.

To the Christmas market in the Czech Republic

Engelsflug beim Adventsmarkt Úštěk
Angel flight at the Úštěk Advent market (© Město Úštěk)

The Christmas markets in North Bohemia are becoming more and more attractive. With a new concept, Děčín has moved its multi-week Christmas market to the foot of the castle, creating an atmosphere with Christmas flair. The markets in Litoměřice and Teplice have also gained a Christmas atmosphere. The markets, which only take place on one or two days, are particularly worthwhile to visit. Several of these are taking place on the third weekend of Advent: the legendary Advent market in Úštěk, the Christmas market on the Castle Square in Teplice and the Castle Market in Děčín. We have put together a selection of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the Saxon-Czech border area for you.

Ústí district loses residents

According to the latest data, almost 11 million people live in the Czech Republic. As the statistics office ČSÚ reports, the country gained 54,700 inhabitants in the third quarter. There are now 10.88 million inhabitants living in the Czech Republic. As a result of the Covid pandemic and the high number of deaths, the population numbers fell for the first time in a long time. However, the situation changed suddenly after Russia invaded Ukraine. At times, 600,000 refugees came to the Czech Republic, where there was already a strong Ukrainian minority. The latest increases in population numbers are not due to a surplus of births, but rather to immigration. The number of births, however, was lower than the number of deaths.

While all regions of the Czech Republic are growing, the Ústí district remains the only one that is struggling with declining population numbers. The population here has fallen for the third year in a row. The district lost 2,113 residents in the third quarter. 810,224 people currently live in the district. Only the Litoměřice district bucked the trend in population growth.

The Czech Republic's economy is shrinking significantly

The Czech economy is in the middle of a recession. In the third quarter, gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.7% on an annual basis. Compared to the second quarter, GDP fell by half a percent. The background for the weak development is the continued weak consumption of private households and declining inventories. However, weak investment activity, especially in the private sector, and weak exports, otherwise an important pillar of economic growth in the Czech Republic, also had a negative impact. Only the investment activities of public budgets provided positive impulses, but were unable to reverse the decline in economic output, especially since the state imposed an austerity package. Analysts now assume that economic output will also decline for the year as a whole. The gross domestic product is therefore moving further away from the value it already had in 2019, before the Covid pandemic. The Czech Republic is the only country in Europe that has not yet reached the pre-Corona level. Read the analysis on Radio Prague .

The prospects for 2024 are not very rosy either. The government's austerity package will not provide any stimulus and private households continue to suffer from strong inflation, which is eating up real income and savings. Savings are made primarily on short- and medium-life consumer goods. Inflation has recently fallen further, but at 7.3 percent in November it was still significantly higher than in Germany. And it remains to be seen whether inflation will actually fall more significantly in 2024. Because further price increases are already pending. The food trade has announced further price increases despite the reduction in VAT. Depending on the region, water prices will increase by up to a quarter at the beginning of the year and restaurateurs are also pushing through further price increases.

(This is an automatic translation by Google Translator.)

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