Insight Central Europe News

Poland recalls ambassadors over links to Intelligence Services

Poland's foreign minister, Anna Fotyga, is recalling several ambassadors for talks in Warsaw after their names were included on the list of former Military Intelligence Services. Among those recalled is Kazimierz Romanski, the Polish ambassador to Kuwait, who has been accused of links to a section of the Intelligence Services involved in illegal acquisition of funds from arms sales to finance covert operations. The Polish ambassador to Kuwait also serves as the NATO representative there. In response to the recall the Alliance said it considers the decision to be an internal Polish matter and that Poland would continue representing NATO interests in Kuwait.

Czechs defiant after Russia reaction to US base

The Czech Republic will not be intimidated by Russia over plans to locate part of a US missile defence system on its territory, the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, said in Warsaw this week. Mr Schwarzenberg was reacting to a statement made by a senior military official in Moscow, who said if US bases were built in the Czech Republic and Poland, the Russian army would aim missiles at them. Under the American plan, Poland would host interceptor missiles, while the Czech Republic would be home to a radar base.

Hungarians incensed over Austrian incinerator

A number of communities in Western Hungary are protesting against plans by Austria to build a large incinerator near the border between the two countries. Austria's BEGAS Kraftwerk wants to build a high-capacity waste incinerator just a short distance from the Hungarian town of Szentgotthard. The president of the Vas County assembly Ferenc Kovacs said he would suspend all ties with the eastern Austrian province of Burgenland. Earlier the city changed the national flag for a black one at a monument symbolising friendly relations between Hungary and Austria.

Central European leaders meet Ban Ki Moon in Vienna

Austria's foreign minister Ursula Plassnik hosted representatives from Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Vienna on Thursday. The meeting of what's known as the “regional partnership” also included the new UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the head of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei and the UN's chief negotiator for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari. The talks included Iran's nuclear program, the future of Kosovo and the conflict in the Middle East.

In the shadow of Krsko: Slovene village demands to be moved

The fifty residents of the tiny Slovene village of Vrbine are demanding resettlement. The village is located next to the Krsko nuclear power station. After a meeting of residents last week spokeswoman Ana Pajic said they were fed up with the continuous devaluation of their properties She said residents would embark on a program of "civil disobedience" if they were not given new houses well away from the reactor. Residents of Vrbine say they were promised resettlement 30 years ago when the Krsko reactor was built.

Slovakia offers treatment for Libyan HIV children

Slovakia is to offer medical treatment to more than 400 Libyan children allegedly infected with HIV Aids in 1999. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he made the offer after meeting his Libyan counterpart Ali al-Mahmoudi in Tripoli. Mr Fico said the children would arrive in Slovakia soon for two weeks of medical treatment. The two also discussed the case of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in a high-profile AIDS trial in Libya last year. Fico was quoted as saying he hopes Libya "will make a courteous gesture" in the case.

Skoda says 2006 was a record year

The Czech car maker Skoda announced record results this week with net profit reaching 504 million euros. Skoda's sales rose 8.7 percent with a strong performance in strategically important markets, including Western Europe. A Skoda board member said 2006 was the most successful year in the company's history.