Insight Central Europe News

Poland's conservatives eyeing new majority coalition

Poland's conservative leaders said they were optimistic about creating a new majority coalition, after ending co-operation with a left-wing ally. Following weeks of bickering over the budget and sending troops to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Lech Kaczynski of the Law and Justice party fired his deputy Andrzej Lepper of the leftist Self Defence party on Thursday. But a senior member of Law and Justice said a number of Self Defence deputies were likely to leave the party and work with the conservatives. Such an outcome would allow the country to avoid early elections.

Hungary's opposition takes some heat off embattled prime minister

Hungary's main opposition party cancelled a planned anti-government weekend demonstration, allaying fears week-long protests could escalate. Thousands of protesters - including rioting youths - took to the streets in Hungary after a leaked admission from Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany that he had lied to voters about the perilous state of the economy before elections in April. The cancellation of protests planned for the weekend boosted the prime minister's hopes of weathering the storm unleashed by his comments.

Visegrad Four presidents want no delay in Schengen enlargement

At a summit near Prague, the presidents of the Visegrad Four countries pledged to step up co-operation. The presidents of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary expressed disapproval for a delay of at least a year in the extension of the border-free Schengen area, saying they would push for the original enlargement date of October 2007 to be observed. The four countries' prime ministers are due to hold talks next month.

Prague enlists Czechs in US in campaign to win visa-free status

The Czech Republic has begun a campaign calling on Czechs in the United States to lobby the US government to grant the country visa-free status. Hundreds of thousands of Czechs and people who have connections with the Czech Republic received letters from the country's embassy in Washington calling on them to lobby their congressmen and women on the issue.

Sony to open large TV plant in Slovakia

The Japanese company Sony is to build a large new plant for the production of flat-screen TV sets in Nitra, western Slovakia. The Sony factory will create 3,800 direct jobs and should go into production in August 2007.

Others' problems could boost Poland-Ukraine Euro 2012 bid

Italian soccer corruption and turmoil in Hungary have boosted the chances of a joint bid by Poland and Ukraine to host the 2012 European Football Championships, said the president of Ukraine's football federation, Hrihory Surkis. A Kiev daily quoted a UEFA inspector as saying the Ukraine-Poland bid had "many positive elements".