Insight Central Europe News
Poland and Russia agree to disagree over pipeline route
Poland and Russia have failed to find agreement in their dispute over a Russian gas pipeline project, despite a visit to Moscow by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Poland wants Russia to drop plans to build the Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany and instead route it overland through Poland. Speaking after a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, Mr Tusk said "we have amicably agreed that our points of view on this issue are different".
Slovenia’s Foreign Minister will tell Russia Kosovo is a “special case”
Slovenia's Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel has said the European Union will try to convince Russia that independence for Kosovo is a special case and will not set a precedent for breakaway regions in the former Soviet Union. Mr Rupel, whose country holds the EU Presidency, said "it is not possible to compare Kosovo with any other situation". Russia supports Serbia's attempts to prevent Kosovo achieving independence from Belgrade. Mr Rupel is due to hold talks on Kosovo with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Slovak opposition delays EU reform treaty vote
Slovakia’s Parliamentary Chairman Pavol Paska has accused the opposition parties of "extortion tactics" over their failure to support the Treaty of Lisbon in a Parliamentary vote. He said the people of Slovakia and all the citizens of the European Union would be losers. The opposition has been obstructing a parliamentary vote on the treaty in order to pressure the government to change a draft media law. The law has been criticised by press freedom organisations.
Hungary’s trains back on track after 4 day strike
Hungary's trains began running on schedule again on Friday following a four-day national strike. The Railway's union said it had suspended industrial action until February 15th. The union is demanding a pay increase for its members along with a one-off payment from the proceeds of the sale of a freight subsidiary to the Austrian National Railway.
Austria to continue with EU Chad mission despite security problems
Austrian chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer says he sees no reason at the present time to suspend participation in the EU's peace-keeping mission in Chad. Speaking after a meeting of the National Security Council in Vienna he said the security situation had recently improved and it had to be determined when the further deployment of EUFOR troops in Chad could continue. Austria has agreed to contribute 160 troops to the mission.
Former Czech dissident and environment minister Ivan Dejmal dies
Ivan Dejmal, former Czech environment minister and deputy head of the newly-established Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, has died at the age of 61. Dejmal was environment minister from 1991-1992 pushing through a crucial law on nature and landscape protection. In the 1970s Dejmal was persecuted by the communist secret police for his frequent contacts with the dissident community and spent four years in prison.