Insight Central Europe News

Poland says schedule for Iraq troop withdrawal is underway

The Polish government says its schedule for withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq has already begun. Defence Minister Bogdan Klich told TVN24 television the inventory of equipment has been prepared and that the US would help Poland withdraw its forces by the end of October 2008. Mr Klich also said Poland was ready to send some 350 soldiers on the EU's humanitarian mission to Chad.

Hungary makes little progress on integrating Roma into schools

A survey of teachers in Hungary has revealed little progress in integrating Roma children into classrooms. Forty teachers from 45 schools were interviewed with one sociologist saying the "picture is shocking." Schools taking part in the government's Roma integration programme qualify for extra funding but it was revealed that many wealthier parents remove their children from the schools as soon as Roma children join the classes.

Slovak minister: Bratislava airport privatization “worst possible” solution

Slovakia's transport minister Lubomir Vazny has again ruled out any privatisation of Bratislava Airport. He told the SITA newsagency privatisation would be the "worst possible solution" for the future development of the airport. Vienna International Airport has been trying to take over Bratislava's airport but an early in 2007 was thwarted by the government in Bratislava.

EU President Slovenia: delicate diplomacy between EU, Croatia and Italy

Slovenia is facing the first major diplomatic challenge of its EU Presidency after the Croatian navy intercepted an Italian fishing boat in a controversial protection zone in its territorial waters. Croatia alleges Italian fishing boats are depleting fish stocks. The European Union has warned Zagreb that enforcing the zone could harm its bid to join the EU and Slovenia has also opposed the zone.

Czech artists may be jailed over nuclear blast prank

A group of Czech artists who allegedly hacked into a national television weather broadcast to show a fake nuclear blast could face three-year jail terms if convicted. A state prosecutor says the six members of the group have been charged with spreading false information. The Prague-based Ztohoven group is alleged to have tampered with equipment so that viewers saw a flash of bright light and a mushroom cloud while watching a live picture of mountains.

Hungary’s MAV Cargo shunted into Austrian ownership

The Austrian National Railway has finalised its purchase of MAV Cargo, the Hungarian rail freight company. The director of Rail Cargo Austria, Ferdinand Schmid, says the 400 million euro acquisition has "great strategic importance" for Austria. He also rejects criticism in some sections of the media that the price was too high, saying the acquisition included 9,000 freight wagons with a 20 year life-span.