Insight Central Europe News

Poland wins concession as EU leaders strike deal on treaty

Poland won a last-minute concession on voting rights as European Union leaders struck a final agreement on Friday on a treaty to reform the bloc's institutions. Warsaw secured a guarantee that small groups of countries would be able to delay EU decisions they do not like; that was seen as a victory for the Polish government on the eve of Sunday's early parliamentary election. The EU leaders also agreed to give Poland a permanent advocate-general's position at the European Court of Justice.

Number of Poles registered to vote abroad triples

More than 175,000 Poles registered to vote abroad in Sunday's snap general election, well over three times as many as for the last poll two years ago. The number given by Poland's national election committee is still only a small proportion of the two million Poles believed to have emigrated to western Europe in search of work since the country joined the European Union in 2004. All three main parties have campaigned in the UK and Ireland, with the emigrant vote being seen as a significant factor in the elections.

Slovenians go to polls to elect new president

A presidential election in Slovenia on Sunday is being seen as a good indicator of the political mood in the country before a parliamentary election due in late 2008. Leading the polls ahead of the vote was the conservative Lojze Peterle; as prime minister he led Slovenia to independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. The new Slovenian president will lead the country during its presidency of the European Union in the first half of next year.

Slovak government approves doubling of presence in Afghanistan

The Slovak government has approved a proposal to double its military presence in Afghanistan. Slovakia will send almost 60 soldiers and doctors to the country next year to supplement a multi-task team of the same size which is involved in airport and road reconstruction projects. The Slovak team was based in Kabul but was transferred to the more violent southern region of Kandahar in May.

Hungary's ruling Socialists approve anti-corruption measures

Hungary's ruling Socialists approved a package of anti-corruption measures prepared by the prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany. The package will prevent MPs from holding jobs as mayors or city councilors after 2011; it also includes audits of MPs expenses and civil servants' wealth and imposes rules on financing party youth organisations and affiliated groups.

PM suggests hosting US anti-missile shield could help protect Poland from Russian threat

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said hosting a US anti-missile shield could help protect Poland, and cited a possible threat from Russia. Warsaw has previously insisted the shield is not linked to Russia, which is strongly opposed to the US plan to build parts of its global anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Mr Kaczynski said Poland was in a permanent state of threat; he said Moscow had not accepted the changes since 1989 and still considered Poland to be part of its sphere of influence.

Controversial Czech building project forced out of centre of Prague

The most controversial building project in modern Czech history has evidently come undone. The Czech National Library planned to build a new green and violet building near the centre of Prague. However, city councillors insist the futuristic design, nicknamed the Blob, would not be appropriate near the historical centre and say it can only be built in an outlying part of the Czech capital.

Hungarian first division footballers arrested over drug possession

Two Hungarian first division football players have been arrested in an investigation into drug possession. The players and two other people were detained on Monday as police followed up the arrests in June of two men found with one kilogramme of amphetamines in their car. One of the two players' clubs said no action would be taken against him because of the presumption of innocence principle.