Insight Central Europe News

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Poland: Striking miners threaten to extend sit-in

Talks have been suspended with striking miners at Poland's Budryk colliery. A group of miners have been staging a sit-in at the mine over Christmas and warn if negotiations fail they will continue their protest underground. The miners are demanding pay raises.

Slovenia unconcerned by Belgrade’s threat over Kosovo

Slovenia, which is about to take over the EU presidency, says it's not concerned by Serbia's threat to oppose any attempt by Kosovo to declare independence. Slovene foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel said he does not think Serbia wants "a future outside the EU." A Serb parliamentary resolution this week said Serbia will reconsider its relations with countries that might recognize Kosovo's independence.

Hungarian economy to show “modest growth” in 2008

In Hungary the economic research institute, GKI, says growth is expected to remain modest in 2008 compared to other countries in central and eastern Europe. Hungary's economy is expected to grow by 3.5 percent next year while real wages will increase by 1 percent. GKI forecasts a continued rapid increase in exports and an almost similar rise in imports.

Czech coalition unites over pension reform

In the Czech Republic all three parties in the centre-right government have promised to support a pension reform bill in the lower house. The draft, proposed by the Civic Democrats outlines radical changes to the current pay-as-you-go system, including a higher retirement age for both men and women and a longer period of mandatory insurance. The Greens and Christian Democrats have both promised to support the bill in the first reading.

Slovak hunters have a close encounter with a hungry bear

Two Slovak hunters have had a close encounter with a hungry bear. The two were hunting wild boar when they were knocked to the ground by the 150 kilogram brown bear. A third hunter was able to shoot the bear. Locals say bears are waking early from their winter hibernation because of inadequate food supplies.