Insight Central Europe News

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Polish President supports US missile defence despite Russian threats

Poland's President Lech Kaczynski says his country should host parts of a planned US missile defence system despite threats from Russia. Mr Kacynski told journalists the shield is crucial to Poland's security. On Thursday Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated his threat to aim missiles at the installations if they went ahead.

Hungary to contribute to Kosovo stability mission

Hungary is to contribute to the European Union's stability mission in Kosovo. Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz said thirty experts will take part in the 2,000 strong mission which is due to deploy almost immediately. She said Hungary may increase its commitment at a later date.

EU President Slovenia says keep politics out of the Olympics

Slovenia's Sports Minister, Milan Zver, is urging Europe's athletes to avoid raising human rights and sensitive political issues during the Beijing Olympics. Speaking in Brussels Mr Zver said it's up to politicians to raise human rights concerns but the Beijing games should be spared the controversy. Slovenia currently holds the rotating EU Presidency.

Slovakia’s Smer party welcomed back into EU parliamentary group

The left-wing party of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been re-admitted to the European Parliament's Socialist group after earlier being expelled. The Smer party was rejected because of its coalition with a nationalist party which has used harsh rhetoric against Slovak minorities. Smer was allowed back in after giving reassurances on its commitment to minority rights.

Czechs want popularly elected President

In the Czech Republic a poll conducted by the CVVM agency indicates that the majority of Czechs favor direct presidential elections. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they would prefer the president to be elected by the people, 18 percent said the decision-making should remain in the hands of lawmakers.

Austrian coalition dispute deepens

Austria's coalition parties appear to be hardening their positions in their dispute over allegations of abuse-of-office and cover-ups in the interior ministry. The Social Democrats say a parliamentary investigation into the allegations remains a possibility. However the conservative People's Party, which controls the interior ministry, is calling on its coalition partner to stop what it calls a "campaign" against it and get on with the government's work.