Insight Central Europe News

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Prague and Washington agree on radar bases – NATO backs US missile shield

A United States missile defence shield in Central Europe came a step closer this week as Washington reached agreement with Prague for a radar base in the Czech Republic. At the same time NATO gave its backing to the system. Polish and US officials are still negotiating plans for missile bases in Poland but agreement seems likely. A NATO summit in Bucharest concluded the missile defence shield would contribute to the region's security. However Russia remains strongly opposed to the system.

Hungary’s Socialists to face first “minority” challenge on health reform

Hungary's Socialist party is likely to face its first test as a minority government in a vote on health reform. The Free Democrats, who are planning to quit the coalition on April 3oth, said they will not support a reform bill unless it allows private health insurance. In a statement the party said the Socialist proposal currently excludes private investors. Without the Free Democrats the long debated health reform bill will have difficulty being passed.

Czechs come out under quota on carbon emissions

Carbon dioxide emissions in the Czech Republic came out under the quota limit last year, allowing the sale of carbon credits worth around 216 million dollars. The quota allocated by the European Commission was 77.7 million tons with industry managing to produce some 10 percent less. CO2 emissions in the Czech Republic have been falling in recent years.

Austria and Slovakia in joint bid for new EU research institute

Austria and Slovakia have made a joint bid to host the new European Institute for Innovation and Technology. Signing the application this week Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico described the bid as "a fantastic chance for both countries". The institute is expected to employ around 60 people. The two capitals, Vienna and Bratislava are just 60 kilometres apart. Hungary and Poland are also bidding to host the institute which has a budget of more than 300 million euros for the next five years.

Poles petition their PM to tackle human rights in Tibet

A petition containing 77,000 thousand signatures has been handed to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. It calls on him to head an international observer mission to address human rights abuses in Tibet. The petition's organisers said they believed Mr Tusk could initiate and head such a mission because Polish society has, quote, "learned to value freedom" and could help fight rights abuses in Tibet.

Plans for major Slovenian gambling complex may collapse

Plans for a major gambling centre in Slovenia's Goriska region may not go ahead. Slovene media reports the controversial entertainment and casino centre fell through after the partners in the joint venture failed to agree on a management structure. Slovenia's Hit group and a US Casino operator had planned to invest 750 million euros in the project.