Insight Central Europe News

Poles drop key objection to EU treaty

Poland last week withdrew an objection to a treaty to reform European Union institutions, allowing the bloc to proceed with talks on turning a political deal reached last month into a legal text. Warsaw had been demanding that groups of countries should be able to delay any contentious EU decision for up to two years. But it subsequently asked instead that the treaty include a formula allowing a "reasonable time", which Union officials say means a maximum of four months.

Poland holds three days of mourning for bus crash victims

Poles held three days of mourning last week for 26 Polish pilgrims who died in a bus crash in France. Public events such as rock concerts were called off in honour of the victims of the tragedy, which Polish sport and tourism minister, Elzbieta Jakubiak, described as one of the worst disasters to hit the country in decades.

Five hundred die as heat wave hits Hungary

Up to 500 people are estimated to have died across Hungary during a heatwave which gripped central and southeast Europe. Farmers in Hungary, which saw record temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius, demanded compensation after drought and extreme heat ruined 40 percent of the country's maize crop. Meanwhile, the country's voters could be asked whether to introduce siestas, after the Hungarian National Election Committee ruled a referendum on the matter could be held. Backers need to collect 200,000 signatures for such a vote to take place.

Slovenian athlete Ceplak tests positive for banned drug

The Slovenian athlete Jolanda Ceplak has tested positive for the banned substance EPO and has been provisionally suspended by the IAAF. The former European 800 metres champion, who is 30, tested positive in an out-of-competition test in mid-June. Ceplak could face a two-year ban.

Slovak president in hot water over "advertising"

The Slovak president Ivan Gasparovic could be fined a year's salary after breaking the law by wearing a shirt bearing the logo of a car manufacturer at a car race. If the country's parliamentary conflict of interest committee finds Mr Gasparovic guilty of "engaging in advertising" he could be fined around 90,000 euros.

Czech PM announces divorce intention day after party colleague has his son

The prime minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek, announced he was seeking a divorce from his wife the day after a fellow Civic Democrat MP gave birth to Mr Topolanek's son. He said, however, that his wife had not consented to the dissolution of their marriage. The prime minister's comments come just weeks after the head of the Czech opposition said he was divorcing his wife after beginning a relationship with his interpreter.