Insight Central Europe News

Poland sending 1,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan

oland announced on Thursday it would send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It was the first response to an urgent NATO appeal for reinforcements to help combat Taliban resistance in the south of the country. Polish officials agreed with NATO that most troops would be stationed in the east of Afghanistan. The alliance's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, welcomed Poland's decision, saying the Polish soldiers would serve as a reserve force supporting operations across the country. Poland currently has around 100 troops in Afghanistan.

Slovenian government discusses border dispute with Croatia

Slovenia's government has held an urgent meeting of party leaders to discuss deteriorating relations with Croatia over their disputed border. During the week Slovenia sent 50 police to occupy a disputed section of the border on the Mur River, after Croatia began construction of a dam there. Slovenia has also protested to Zagreb about the arrest of Slovenian journalists in the disputed area.

Poland would require concessions if it hosts US base

Poland would demand a bilateral pact and improved air defences as part of any deal to host elements of a United States ballistic missile defence system, the country's foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski said. Mr Sikorski said Poland had to be persuaded that the benefits of hosting any such missile-defence site outweighed potential risks such as becoming more of a target.

Schengen zone enlargement put back at least year

The ten, mostly ex-communist countries which joined the European Union two years ago face a delay of at least a year before borders with the bloc's 15 other states are opened. The European Commission said the Schengen zone could not be enlarged until at least October 2008 - a year later than originally planned - because of technical and legal problems. The Czech Republic and other new EU members have criticised the decision.

Disagreements over reported attack on Hungarian woman in Slovakia

The Slovak government said the beating of an ethnic Hungarian - which sparked diplomatic tension between Budapest and Bratislava - was a fabrication. However, the head of Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian party SMK said that police had pressured the female student, identified only as Hedviga M, into admitting to fabricate the story.

Euro adoption in 2010 unrealistic, says Czech PM

The Czech Republic's new prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, said the country's plan to adopt the common European currency in 2010 was unrealistic. Economists say the country may be ready to join the Eurozone in 2012 or 2013.

Football legend Ferenc Puskas, 79, taken into intensive care

The legendary Hungarian soccer player Ferenc Puskas has been taken into intensive care. Puskas, who is now 79, has been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for six years. He scored an incredible 83 goals in 84 international games, in what was a golden era for Hungarian football.