Insight Central Europe News

Polish PM Tusk calls for rapid adoption of the Euro

Poland's new prime minister, Donald Tusk, delivered a major policy speech, to parliament on Friday – his first as head of government. He said Poland should prepare for a rapid adoption of the Euro to ensure economic growth remains high. Tusk's Civic Platform party won the October parliamentary election on a campaign of economic liberalisation, lower taxes and rapid privatisation. Addressing parliament he repeated plans to limit the budget deficit and the growth of public debt. Before the speech Tusk signed a coalition agreement with People's Party leader Waldemar Pawlak.

Tension in Slovakia’s coalition as Fico sacks farm minister

Tensions in Slovakia's ruling coalition increased on Friday with Prime Minister Robert Fico sacking his agriculture minister following accusations of corruption. Fico told one of his junior coalition partners, the centre-left Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, or HZDS, that Miroslav Jurena had to go after land deals in his department cost the state tens of millions of dollars. Deputy HZDS Chairman, Milan Urbani said he expected his party to stay in the ruling coalition however others have said the party could pull out.

Hungary – purchasing power and GDP move up the OECD scale

Hungary's GDP is moving closer to the OECD average. According to a new report comparing purchasing power Hungary now has a GDP which is 59% of the OECD average, about the same as neighbouring Poland and Slovakia. Hungarians have similar buying power to Koreans, Portuguese and Estonians. The Czech Republic is even closer to the OECD average at 70 percent, while Slovenia is in the same bracket as Israel and Spain.

NATO opens new mass weapons defence centre in Czech Republic

NATO has opened a new center for the defense against weapons of mass destruction in the eastern Czech Republic. The Czech defence ministry says experts from eight NATO countries, Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, are scheduled to work at the center by next year. The facility, called the Joint Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense Center is meant to provide training and education and help draft new strategies for the alliance.

Slovenia offers support for Turkey’s EU bid

Slovene Prime Minister Janez Jansa visited Ankara last week for talks on Turkey's bid to join the European Union. Jansa, whose country takes over the six-month presidency of the EU in January, met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey's President Abdullah Gul. Jansa said he was convinced Turkey would make all efforts to fulfill European Union membership standards. He promised to help Turkey but warned the path to membership was full of "hardships".

Central and Eastern Europe economic growth double that of "older" EU

The Vienna based Institute for International Economics says the economies of the ten new EU member states of Central and Eastern Europe are growing at twice the rate of the old EU members. In a report released last week the institute said growth in 2007 will be somewhat lower than last year but would average around 6%. The average for the 15 older EU member states was a little under 3%.