Insight Central Europe News

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Alleged attacks on ethnic Hungarians dominate Ferenc Madl's visit to Serbia

Atrocities against ethnic Hungarians living in the Serbian province of Vojvodina featured high on talks Hungarian President Ferenc Mádl had in Belgrade this week. Both federal President Svetozar Marovic and Serb President Boris Tadic promised resolute action to curb such incidents, as well as a thorough investigation of anti-ethnic violence. An early test of that promise was when in the town of Subotica, just hours before the Hungarian President's visit there, someone painted the word "death" in red and in Cyrillic letters on the wall and stabbed a knife in the door of a house owned by a Serb Hungarian who was the first to talk publicly about his beating up a few months ago. This time, the police indeed arrived at the scene fast and the official communiqué, for the first time, described the incident as one specifically directed against an ethnic Hungarian in Vojvodina.

Finnish President criticises Austria for its opposition to Turkey's aspirations for EU membership

The former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari has criticised Austrian opposition to Turkey's ambitions to join the European Union. Speaking in Vienna as the head of the "Independent Turkey Commission", Mr Ahtisaari said the current Turkish government had an impressive reform record and had passed dozens of laws on human rights and the protection of minorities. Austria is one the European countries most opposed to Turkey beginning membership talks.

Polish MPs call on cabinet not to close reparations issue with Germany too hastily

In Poland, several MPs behind a parliamentary resolution requiring the government to seek war reparations from Germany have strongly criticized the cabinet's decision to 'close once and for all' the reparations issue.

US introduces immigration screenings at Warsaw airport

The United States has introduced preliminary immigration screening at Warsaw Airport for Poles travelling to the US. The aim of the scheme is to solve the problem of Poles being refused entry to the US after having crossed the Atlantic.

Member of Qatar's royal family charged with sex abuse in Prague

A member of Qatar's royal family has been arrested in Prague on charges of sexually abusing underage girls. Two young women suspected of providing the Qatari royal with girls aged between 12 and 15 have also been arrested. The accused, who has been a businessman in the Czech Republic for the last ten years, does not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Italian Enel likely to acquire state shares in Slovak Electric

Slovakia's privatization commission has selected the Italian company Enel as the best bidder to acquire the 66 percent-stake in the power producer Slovak Electric. Enel is bidding the highest price, 840 million Euros for the majority stake in the company. Economy Minister Pavol Rusko is set to evaluate the commission's recommendation, before it announces its decision next week. Czech state company CEZ and Russia's RAO UES have been ranked on the following positions on the privatization commission's list.