Insight Central Europe News

Poland sticks to veto threat ahead of EU summit on constitution

German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week admitted there was "no end in sight" to a dispute that may undermine attempts to re-launch the European Union constitution. Speaking ahead of an EU summit Mrs Merkel urged the adoption of a "roadmap" for a new constitution but cautioned there was still no solution to Poland's objections. Warsaw is threatening to veto progress on the constitution unless the voting system is changed to one which would allow Poland to retain more of the influence it currently enjoys.

Schengen enlargement on schedule - Frattini

The enlargement of Europe's Schengen zone from 13 to 22 states can go ahead at the end of 2007, "without further delay" according to the EU's justice Commissioner Franco Frattini. Mr Frattini told EU interior ministers the data exchange system linked to opening up border crossings would be completed by the end of August. The system stores information such as fingerprints and photos on around 70 million visa-holders who pass through the EU's borderless travel zone each year. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia are all planning to join the Schengen zone.

Who'll speak for Slovenia - President or Prime Minister?

Slovenia's leaders are in dispute over who will speak at a ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of the country's independence. According to media reports President Janez Drnovsek, who would normally give the key-note address, firstly cancelled his participation and then changed his mind. The organising committee says they've already planned for Prime Minister Janez Jansa to give the speech on June 25th and that there can only be one speech. The committee called on the two to come to an agreement as to who should make the speech.

Brussels says Prague and Budapest "least prepared" for Euro

The European Commission this week said the Czech Republic and Hungary are the least prepared of the new EU member states planning to join the common currency, the Euro. The commission said both states will have budget deficits higher than 3 percent of GDP at the end of 2008.

Central European states co-operate on NATO police

Military police units from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have formed a NATO Multinational Military Police Battalion. The unit will assist NATO's international operations with its main tasks being traffic control, criminal inquiry and the supervision of war prisoners.

A rousing welcome in Budapest for Jordan's Royals

Hungary gave Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania a reception with full military honours when they visited Budapest this week. It was the first visit to Hungary by Jordan's royal couple. President Laszlo Solyom said the visit symbolised efforts to intensify relations and boost economic ties between Hungary and Jordan.