Insight Central Europe News

Polish PM says air-force plane crash is “a huge loss”

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk has described the crash of a Polish military plane with the loss of twenty lives as "a huge loss for the Polish air force." The Spanish built military transport was carrying sixteen passengers and four crew members when it clipped trees while on approach to land in north-west Poland. Mr Tusk traveled to the scene of the accident where he offered condolences to the victim’s families and colleagues. It's Poland's worst military disaster in thirty years.

Slovenia to push EU energy and climate change package

Slovenia, the current holder of the European Union Presidency, says it will begin work on implementing ambitious new laws on energy and climate change by April of 2009. Slovenian Environment Minister Janez Podobnik told a joint news conference with his French, Czech and Swedish counterparts that the aim was to conclude legislation on the measures proposed by the European Commission before the 2009 European assembly elections.

Environment group claims renewed pollution of Raab River

A Hungarian environmental group says the Raab River near the Austrian border has started foaming again after several weeks free of pollution. The PRONAS group says it is possible the foaming originated from a large amount of pollutant released into the river either in Austria or Hungary. A tannery on the Austrian side of the river has been blamed for previous cases of pollution in the Raab.

Slovakia rejects criticism of draft media law

The OSCE is urging the Slovak government to abandon proposed changes to the media law, saying they would curb press freedom. In a letter to the government the human rights and security watchdog said the new laws would severely restrict editorial autonomy. The government of Prime Minister Robert Fico is rejecting the criticism and says the changes are based on standard EU measures.

Czech government to compensate religious groups

The Czech government has offered to compensate all religious organisations for property seized by the former Communist regime. Under the draft law all of the country's churches would receive one-third of their former property now held by the state. The remaining two-thirds will be compensated financially over the next 60 years.