Insight Central Europe News

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Visegrad Four - Presidents meet in Hungary

The heads of state of the Visegrad Four - Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic held a two-day summit in the Hungarian town of Keszthely last week. The summit focused on achievements of the Visegrad 4 since joining the EU in 2004 and on their upcoming accession to the Schengen border control regime. The four presidents last met in a chateau near Prague in September last year.

Poland's right wing Catholic priest may miss out on EU funds

Sources at the European Commission say a Polish priest who has criticised the EU and made anti-Semitic remarks may be denied EU funding for his private university. It was revealed last month that Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, who owns the far-right Radio Maryja, had successfully applied for 15 million euros in grants. However last week European Commission sources said new terms for granting EU regional development funds are likely to exclude Father Rydzyk's private university.

Slovakia confirms Benes Decrees - Hungary protests

The Slovak parliament last week passed a resolution declaring the post World War 2 Benes Decrees as unchallengable. The decrees are controversial because they expelled ethnic Germans and Hungarians living in the then Czechoslovakia, creating a new wave of refugees. In a response the Hungarian government said it rejects the principle of collective guilt and believes the Slovak vote runs counter to European Union principles. The Czech government passed a similar resolution in 2002.

Slovenia suffers devastating floods

The death toll from flooding in Slovenia last week stands at six. The floods damaged hundreds of houses and swept away bridges and cars in the north of the country. Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who toured the region, said damage was estimated at 200 million euros. He said the government would seek assistance from the EU for the first time since Slovenia joined in 2004.

Hungarian PM has a few complaints for Austria

Hungary has complained that Austria is treating it like a second class member of the European Union. In an interview with the Vienna newspaper Der Standard Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said a range of issues, from border patrols to pollution of Hungarian rivers, were damaging relations. He also took aim at Austrian plans to continue border patrols after Hungary joins the Schengen zone, saying "should we do the same, should we just stop Austrians at the border?"

New border crossings between Poland and Czech Republic

Six new border crossings to the Czech Republic have been opened in the southwest of Poland. The crossings, built under an agreement between both countries, will be accessible to citizens of countries with whom Poland has visa- free travel agreements.