Insight Central Europe News

Slovakia ratifies EU reform treaty

Slovakia's parliament has ratified the EU's reform treaty, otherwise known as the Treaty of Lisbon. The vote followed weeks of delay during which some opposition parties threatened to boycott the ratification in protest at a new media law. The treaty was eventually passed when one small opposition party dropped its objections, giving Prime Minister Robert Fico the required majority.

Polish PM says his country will never tolerate anti-Semitism

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, on a visit to Israel, has said his country will never tolerate anti-Semitism. Speaking in Tel Aviv Mr Tusk said there is "a common duty to fight against such things". Mr Tusk later visited the holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and took part in a ceremony honouring six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the holocaust. Talks on compensation for Jewish property confiscated under communism in Poland were held during the three day visit.

Hungary’s PM urges politicians to join protest against extreme-right

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has urged the leaders of parliamentary parties to attend anti-Fascist demonstrations in Budapest. In a letter, the Prime Minister said politicians should stand up against the "ideologies of the extreme right". There have been a number of demonstrations by far-right and neo-Nazi groups in Budapest in recent months. Counter demonstrations have also been held.

Slovenia and Croatia – tensions reach the top

Relations between neighbours Slovenia and Croatia appeared to worsen this week with the heads-of-state of both countries exchanging critical statements. Early in the week Croatian President Stipe Mesic criticised Slovenia's policies on the long running border dispute with Croatia and accused Ljubljana of trying to block Croatia's EU membership. In response the Slovenian President Danilo Türk described the comments as "inappropriate for a head of state".

Czech’s offer “reciprocal inspections” to Russia

The Czech Foreign Ministry says it is prepared to open talks with Russia on reciprocal inspection missions at military bases in the two countries. The offer comes in response to Moscow’s demand for a permanent Russian military presence at a planned US radar base in the Czech Republic, which would be part of the US missile defense shield. A Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said there was no support for the idea of a permanent Russian military presence in the country.

Austrian resistance fighters get special payment

Austrians who were members of the resistance movement during the Nazi era are to receive a one-off payment of 1,000 euros each. The money, known as the "remembrance grant" has been confirmed by the lower house of parliament, the Nationalrat. It will go to around 3,300 surviving members of the resistance who fought against National Socialism. Social Affairs Minister Erwin Buchinger described the grant as a sign of "respect and recognition". The only party not to support the payment was the far right Freedom Party.