Insight Central Europe News

Warsaw and Washington start talks on missile bases

Poland and the United States are about to begin formal negotiations on plans for part of US missile defence system to be based on Poland. A US embassy spokesman Andrew Schilling, said the initial talks will be focus on the legal status of any US base and its personnel. Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has indicated willingness to host the base but has said any deal must increase Poland's security. Washington wants to place 10 missiles in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic.

Fico says US base plans "create much nervousness"

Slovakia's Prime Minister, Robert Fico, says the United States has made a "grave mistake" by not consulting over its plans to deploy a missile shield in central Europe. Mr Fico told the Austrian newspaper Die Presse the decision to build the missile bases "will create much nervousness." he said the issue had not been properly discussed with the European Union, Russia and NATO.

Hungary rejects Austrian mediation offer over Raba pollution

Hungary says it has run out of patience with Austria over alleged pollution of the Raba river by an Austrian tannery. Hungary's environment minister, Gabor Fodor, last week rejected a proposal from Austria that the EU mediate in the dispute. Mr Fodor had earlier asked Austria to revoke the operating license of the tannery. Austria claims the Raba suffered pollution before the tannery began operation in 2000 and that the pollution had not worsened.

Czech foreign minister wants Austria to control nuclear protesters

The Czech foreign minister Karl Schwarzenberg wants to meet his Austrian counterpart over the continued blockades of border crossings by Austrian anti-nuclear protesters. Speaking in Prague last week Mr Schwarzenberg said he would also raise the issue at a meeting of EU foreign ministers. Austrian anti-nuclear activists regularly block border crossings into the Czech Republic as a protest against the nearby Temelin nuclear power station. The Czech foreign ministry alleges Austrian authorities are failing to bring the protesters under control.

Slovenia: Conservatives boycott honour for ex-President Kucan

A ceremony to honour former Slovene President Milan Kucan was boycotted by conservative politicians in the capital Ljubljana last week. Mr Kucan was given honorary citizenship of the city by the left leaning mayor Zoran Jankovic against the wishes of the SDS party. City councillors from the SDS and members of the center right Slovene government showed their disapproval by staying away from the ceremony honouring Mr Kucan.