Chamber of Deputies, 5th election term, 2006-2010
Committee on Economic Affairs
The Committee on Economic Affairs was established on 1st July 1992 as a part of the Czech National Council. During the First Republic (1918–1938) and in the post-war period until 1992, the Committee as we know it today did not exist (except for a short period from 1948 to 1954), with more narrowly specialised committees having been established instead. The agenda of today’s Committee on Economic Affairs was divided among several sector-specific committees, especially the Committee on National Economy, Committee on Industry and Trade, Committee on Transport (or Technology and Transport), Committee on Trades and Commerce or Committee on Supplies, and later the Committee on Industry, Committee on Economic Policy, Committee on Economy and Services, Committee on Commerce and Communications, Committee on Industry and Construction or the Committee on Business, Services and Transport, etc.
After the dissolution of the Czechoslovak Federative Republic (as of 1st January 1993), the Committee on Economic Affairs became a body of the Chamber of Deputies and has been established each electoral term ever since. The Committee played one of the most important roles in the country’s economic transformation in the 1990s, discussing acts governing business, investment, protection of economic competition, as well as various industry-specific acts, which especially in the areas of transport and power engineering transformed these entire industries. The Committee has also discussed major economic acts adopted after 2000, such as the Excise Tax Act (2003), the Investment Incentives Act (2003), and the Public Procurement Act (2006). Most of the acts adopted after 1998 aimed at harmonising the Czech legal system with EU law.
Current Agenda – 5th Electoral Term of the Chamber of Deputies
The Committee focuses on the economic area, with the exception of financial issues coming under the Committee on the Budget. In terms of sectors, the Committee’s competence includes especially power engineering, transport, industry, commerce, communications, tourism, and consumer protection. The bills discussed by the Committee are primarily in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Committee adopts a resolution on the bill, recommending its adoption to the Chamber of Deputies. The Deputies may propose amendments which, if agreed upon by the Committee, are presented to the plenum for approval along with the resolution.
Monitoring the Government
The Committee exercises comprehensive monitoring of the executive, discussing conceptual documents submitted by the ministries or requested by the Committee itself from the authorities, as well as the assigned chapters of the state budget. The Committee further discusses candidates for the Supervisory Board of the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure, whose members are then elected by the Chamber of Deputies in accordance with a special act.
Foreign Relations and Other Activities
The Committee maintains contacts with partner committees abroad. It frequently organises or co-organises conferences, seminars or hearings on current issues and legislative plans, especially in the areas of power engineering and transport.
The Committee meetings are essentially open to the public, but the Committee may decide that a part of the meeting or even the entire meeting will be closed to the public. Committee meetings are convened and conducted by the Chairperson of the Committee or an authorised Deputy Chairperson. The Chairperson is obliged to convene a meeting upon the decision of the Chamber of Deputies, or upon a request of at least two-fifths of all the members of the Committee. The Committee discusses items on which it resolves or which are assigned to it by the Chamber of Deputies. The Committee has a quorum if at least one-third of its members are present; in order for it to be able to adopt a resolution, a simple majority of all members present is required. Deputies who are not members of the Committee may attend its meetings but serving in an advisory capacity.