Insight Central Europe News

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Dispute over anti-missile bases escalates

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week launched a scathing attack on the United States over its plans for anti-missile bases in Central Europe. Speaking in Moscow Mr Putin accused the US of starting a new arms race. He said the US is filling Eastern Europe with new weapons. Putin and other Russian officials have rejected U.S. assurances that the planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic pose no danger to Russia.

Czech PM Topolanek says bases a "test" for Europe

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek weighed into the missiles debate this week saying the bases will test Europe's willingness to defend itself. Speaking to journalists in Prague, Mr Topolanek said Europe can survive without a radar, but, quote "without a will to defend itself, this civilization is lost." The US is planning a radar base in the Czech Republic, linked to missile bases in Poland.

Hungarians call for Austria goods boycott over river pollution

A dispute between Austria and Hungary over pollution of the Raab River escalated this week with activists in Hungary calling for a boycott of Austrian products. The call follows a report from Greenpeace which claims the river, which straddles the border between Austria and Hungary, has over ten times the official limit of phosphate emissions. Hungary blames the pollution on a leather tannery on the Austrian side of the border. Hungary accuses Austrian authorities of "delaying tactics" in dealing with the problem.

Slovakia to enter Schengen as planned in early 2008 - PM Fico

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico says his country will join Europe's Schengen zone, as planned, at the beginning of 2008. Schengen allows passport-free travel within those EU countries who have met its strict security requirement. Speaking after last week's cabinet meeting Mr Fico said entry to the Schengen system is an issue to show "whether we are equal in the European Union." Under the agreement Slovakia is required to secure the EU's outer Schengen border with Ukraine.

Slovenes and Czechs "similar" on EU constitution - Rupel

Slovenia's foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel says both Slovenia and the Czech Republic have similar views on the future of the European constitutional treaty. Speaking after a meeting in Ljubljana with his Czech counterpart, Karl Schwarzenberg, Mr Rupel said both were interested in seeing a solution on the disputed treaty "as soon as possible." Slovenia takes over the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2008.