Insight Central Europe News

Warsaw and Prague likely to cooperate on US missile base response

Poland says it plans to coordinate with the Czech Republic over proposals by the United States to build part of its global missile defence programme in the two states. Polish President Lech Kaczynski said that Warsaw would likely cooperate with Prague and "coordinate action on the matter." Washington has requested formal talks with the two countries on building a radar base in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland. Defence minister, Radoslav Sikorski, told Polish television that safeguarding Poland's security would be the most important factor in the government's decision on whether to allow the rockets to be placed on Polish soil.

World Bank says Central Europe saw strong economic growth in 2006

The new European Union members in Central and Eastern Europe enjoyed strong economic growth last year according to a new report from the World Bank. The Bank looked at eight countries which joined the EU in 2007 - including Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. It said economic growth was fuelled by strong domestic demand, consumption and private investment. But it also predicted a slowdown this year and warned of a tendency towards higher inflation.

Catholic Church asks for understanding on communist collaborators

The Roman Catholic Church in the Czech Republic is calling on the media not to pass judgment on priests who may have collaborated with the former Communist secret police. The Czech Bishops Conference issued a statement on Friday saying clergy were sometimes forced into collaboration. It's estimated at least 150 Catholic priests in the Czech Republic collaborated with the secret police under the former totalitarian regime. Earlier this month Warsaw's Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus resigned over disclosures he spied for the former Polish regime.

Slovakia to sue EU over emission demands

Slovakia says it will sue the European Commission over its demand for a 25 percent cut in the country's carbon dioxide emission. Last week Prime Minister Robert Fico said the Ministry of Justice has been ordered to start legal proceedings because such a big cut in emissions would damage the national economy. Germany said it may also take legal action. The European Commission is demanding that 10 nations change their carbon dioxide emissions for the 2008-2011 period.

English language to become compulsory for Hungarian students

High-school students in Hungary will soon be required to learn English as part of planned education reform. The daily newspaper Magyar Hilap reports that a package of reforms will see compulsory English classes from 2010. It's currently mandatory for Hungarian students to study a foreign language but they can choose languages other than English. The government is also planning to spend 150 billion forints on developing schools' infrastructure.

Slovenia gets bio-diesel plant

Central Europe's largest bio-diesel plant is to be built at Lendava in north-east Slovenia. The Sloveniam refinery Nafta Lendava and the Austrian company CMB Maschinenbau say the plant will open at the beginning of 2008 and will produce around 60 thousand tons of bio diesel annually. Imported rape seed and plant oils will provide the raw materials for the diesel but local media reports say this will gradually be replaced by local production.