Insight Central Europe News

Czech capital on high alert after "specific threat" to security

The Czech capital Prague spent a week on high alert after authorities there claimed to have received information about a specific terrorist threat. Police armed with sub-machine guns patrolled dozens of locations in Prague, including the city's unique Jewish quarter, visited by millions of tourists each year. A Czech newspaper claimed the measures were introduced because one of four suspected terrorists arrested recently in Norway had links to an Albanian drug dealer who once ran his operation from Prague. The man denied any knowledge of an alleged terrorist plot.

Ferenc Gyurcsany calls vote of confidence; Fidesz calls rally

After a strong defeat in local elections, Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has called a vote of confidence in his government for Friday. This weekend's elections, in which the opposition Fidesz party won 18 of the 19 counties and most of the country's 23 biggest cities, followed two weeks of protests that were sparked off by the prime minister's admission that his government had lied to the public. But Mr Gyurcsany's call for a confidence vote is viewed as a symbolic gesture as his Socialists and the smaller coalition partners, the Free Democrats, have 210 seats in the 386-seat parliament. On Tuesday, Fidesz leader Viktor Orban warned that a mass rally would be staged at the end of the week if the current government fails to step down.

Embattled Kaczynski fights on in Poland

Political instability appears to be becoming the norm in Central Europe - Poland's opposition increased the pressure on the conservative government to quit, after an aide to prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was caught on film asking an opposition MP what she wanted in return for switching sides. The Polish crisis began last week when Mr Kaczynski's governing Law and Justice Party ditched its leftist partner Self-Defence in a row over the 2007 budget. The opposition is now trying to force early elections.

Minority Czech cabinet faces crucial confidence test

Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek's minority cabinet faces a vote of confidence on Tuesday, with most observers predicting failure and a return to the weeks of horse-trading that followed June's inconclusive parliamentary elections. The Czechs could also face early polls, most likely in the spring of 2007. A caretaker government may be installed to lead the country until then.

Slovak PM visits troops in Afghanistan

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico visited a contingent of Slovak troops in Afghanistan this week, amid reports of a worsening security situation in the country. Mr Fico said after returning to Bratislava that Slovakia would comply with NATO's request to move its 57-member engineering corps from the capital Kabul to the south of the country.

NATO defence chiefs meet in Slovenia

And Afghanistan topped the agenda of a meeting of NATO defence chiefs in Slovenia this week. Defence ministers from the 19 NATO countries, meeting in the Slovene coastal resort of Portoroz, announced the alliance would extend its mission to cover the whole of Afghanistan.