Insight Central Europe News

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EU Presidency says "no progress" on Poland - Russia deadlock

The Finnish presidency of the European Union says it has made no progress in talks with Poland aimed at breaking a deadlock threatening the EU's plans for a strategic partnership with Russia. Warsaw is using its EU veto power to block the talks with Russia as a protest against a Russian ban on imports of some Polish products. Finland's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen met his Polish counterpart, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in Warsaw but said they were unable to reach a solution. He told Finnish broadcaster YLE he had "placed all the elements for a solution on the table." Poland said it will reply soon to Vanhanen's proposals.

Slovak economy races ahead

The Slovak economy grew by a record-breaking 9.8 percent in the third quarter of this year driven by increased production in automobile and electrical industries. The figures, released by the Slovak Central Bank, exceed analyst's expectations and makes Slovakia the fastest growing economy in Central Europe. The bank says it expects GDP to continue growing at a similar pace at least until the first half of next year. Vladimir Vano from Trend Analyses said Slovakia is benefiting from eight years of pro-reform government.

Slovenia wants Slovenes abroad represented in Parliament

The right wing NSi party in Slovenia is moving to give the Slovenian minorities living in neighbouring countries representation in the Slovene Parliament. NSi, or New Slovenia, a member of the governing coalition, is asking for a constitutional amendment which will create an extra four seats in parliament with two of them representing Slovenes living in Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. The amendment will require the support of opposition parties if it is to be passed into law.

Czech Senate extends deadline on claiming art looted in the holocaust

The Czech Senate voted last week to remove a deadline for claims for the return of artwork seized from Jews during the Nazi occupation. The deadline was due to expire on December 31st and its removal will allow further claims by victims of the holocaust and their heirs. About 20 thousand art works originally belonging to Czech Jews have been found in galleries and castles in the Czech Republic. Only about 500 have so far been returned to their original owners.

Hungary mourns soccer legend Ferenc Puskas

Tributes have been pouring in for the great Hungarian soccer player Ferenc Puskas who died in Budapest on Friday. He was 79. A national hero to Hungarians, he was one of soccer's all-time greats, winning league titles with Hungarian club Honved and with Spanish giants Real Madrid, with whom he also won three European Cups. He was the inspiration behind the "Magical Magyars", the Hungarian national side that sensationally beat England 6-3 in 1953, the first foreign side to win at Wembley.