Insight Central Europe News

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Hungary protests over US visa legislation

Hungary has sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, protesting against new legislation that continues to impose visa requirements for travel to the United States. Hungary's Ambassador to Washington Andras Simonyi said Hungarian citizens, who have been fighting alongside American soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the Balkans, feel like second-class citizens for not being openly welcomed to the U.S. U.S. lawmakers had sought to ease constraints on citizens from new European Union members but last-minute changes to the bill impose stricter requirements on a number of countries.

Poland and US "optimistic" after talks on anti-missile bases

Poland and the United States last week moved closer to agreement on a US anti-missile shield on Polish soil. After a day of negotiations both sides said they were likely to reach an agreement, which they said would be a "contribution to European and transatlantic security". The plan has drawn strong criticism from Russia, which sees it as a threat to its national security. Radar bases associated with the missile shield are planned for the Czech Republic.

16 heads of state attend summit in Brno, Czech Republic

The presidents of 16 European countries met at Brno in the south of the Czech Republic on Friday. The annual gathering brings together presidents from central, southern and Eastern Europe. Before the meeting Czech President Vaclav Klaus said the future status of Kosovo would be on the agenda. He described US plans for anti-missile bases in Central Europe as a "possible" topic for discussion.

Slovakia fears Kosovo "precedent" for Hungarian minority - Kubis

Slovakia's Foreign Minister Jan Kubis says he fears supervised independence for Kosovo, as proposed by a U.N. Security Council resolution, could encourage ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia to demand autonomy. Mr Kubis told Sme newspaper any resolution on Kosovo should make it clear the solution does not set a precedent in international law. Around 10% of Slovakia's population is made up of ethnic Hungarians.

Slovenia to divide into regions "within two years"

Slovenia will be divided into a number of regions with their own administrations within two years, according to a legislative package approved by the cabinet last week. The minister for regional development, Ivan Zagar, said the aim was to decentralise administration and accelerate development.