Insight Central Europe News

US says Central Europe missile defences can be “refined”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe can be refined to suit Russian concerns. Her statement came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of backtracking on missile defense issues. Speaking to reporters on the way to a NATO meeting in Brussels, Rice suggested that some aspects of the plan causing concern to Russia may end up in the final draft. The US hopes to build missile bases in Poland and radar installations in the Czech Republic.

Slovak opposition MPs boycott late-night vote

Slovak opposition MPs walked out of parliament last week in protest against a no-confidence vote being called late at night. The opposition parties, which had called the vote, described it as "an insult" and "degradation of parliament." In the final vote, none of the deputies present supported the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Robert Fico, and all 78 present members of parliament in the governing coalition voted against the proposal.

Poland and Germany heading for better relations - Sikorski

Poland's Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier say they are ready to open a new chapter in Polish-German relations. Speaking after a meeting in Berlin Mr Sikorski said there were better prospects for solving difficult bilateral issues. Relations between Poland and Germany became strained during negotiations over the new EU reform treaty under the previous government of Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

EU tells Croatia Adriatic fishing zone will hurt membership bid

The European Commission is telling Croatia that it will harm its chances of joining the EU if it enforces a protected fishing zone in the Adriatic. The commission says the zone is in breach of an accord with Slovenia and Italy, both members of the EU. Croatia hopes to join the EU in 2010.

OECD says Hungarian economic growth will recover

The OECD says economic growth in Hungary is likely to recover over the next two years. The organisation forecasts growth to rise to 2.6 percent in 2008 and almost 4 percent the following year. However the OECD urged Budapest to implement reforms such as cutting the budget deficit and reducing taxes in order to stimulate the economy.

Austria passes “hooligan-law” ahead of Euro 2008

In one of its last acts before the Christmas break, the Austrian parliament has passed a so-called "Hooligan Law" ahead of next June's EURO 2008 soccer championships, being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland. The legislation is intended to keep known Austrian trouble-makers away from the matches. They will be called upon to report to the police for instructions on how to behave. Failure to appear will result in a fine or possible detention.