Insight Central Europe News

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Czech and Polish Presidents emphasise good relations

Warm relations between Poland and the Czech Republic were emphasised this week during a 3 day visit to Poland by Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Polish President Lech Kaczynski described Klaus as a "tested ally and friend". Later in a meeting with Polish Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz co-operation within the Visegrad group was discussed with Mr Klaus saying the more the four countries could achieve together, the better. The Visegrad group is made up of Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

Polish government survives a stormy week

Poland's government has survived a week of crisis after former deputy prime minister, Andrzej Lepper, decided not to pull his junior party out of the coalition. Lepper was fired by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski after he was linked to a corruption case. Mr Lepper initially threatened to withdraw from the coalition but later said his party would remain in government. He has denied the corruption allegations describing them as a "political provocation".

Czechs lose enthusiasm for EU

Czech citizens' approval of European Union membership fell in the first half of this year. According to an EU survey, the Eurobarometer, only 46 percent of people thought EU membership was a good think compared to 51 percent last year. It's the first time EU approval has fallen below 50 percent in the Czech Republic.

Hungarians and Slovaks join forces for anti power-station petition

In Hungary, mayors, MP's and environmentalists are supporting a petition against the construction in Slovakia of a coal-fired power station. The objectors believe the planned power station will have a negative impact on the neighbouring Tokaj wine region, a world heritage listed site. Participants from both sides of the border say they will send the petition to the Slovak and Hungarian governments and ask for help from the European Union.

Hungary's MOL builds fighting fund against Austria's OMV

Hungary's major energy company, MOL, has taken out credit worth around 2 billion euros in order to defend itself against a take-over by Austria's OMV. A spokesman for MOL confirmed the move following a number of media reports. OMV increased its share-holding in MOL from 10% to 18.6% at the end of June and has not ruled out a complete take-over. On Wednesday OMV chief Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer criticised the Hungarian firm's use of its own funds to buy back its own shares.

Slovenia's Islamic community gets official recognition

Slovenia's Islamic community has signed an agreement with the government which regulates its legal status and activities. The leader of the community, Nedzad Grabus, said the agreement recognises the Islamic community as an integral part of Slovenian society. A number of other religious groups have signed similar agreements.