Insight Central Europe News

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Slovak government wins confidence vote

The Slovak government won a confidence vote on Friday, paving the way for new prime minister Robert Fico to carry out his agenda of building a welfare state and bringing the country into the euro zone. Mr Fico's leftist Smer party is in coalition with the far right nationalists and the party of former authoritarian ruler Vladimir Meciar. The alliance defeated a bloc headed by the right-wing former prime minister Mikulas Dzurinda in elections in mid June.

Two biggest Czech parties in talks on forming government

The Czech Republic held elections at the start of June but still does not have a new government. The right-wing Civic Democrats had been trying to form a coalition with two smaller parties, though this alliance was one vote short of a majority. The party's leader Mirek Topolanek has now agreed to hold talks with the Social Democrats of outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek, who came second in June's vote.

Hungary's government loses support due to reforms

Hungarian voters, who returned a Socialist-led government to power in April, are disenchanted with recent tax rises, price increases and subsidy cuts aimed at reining in the budget deficit, suggests a Gallup poll carried out last month. Seventy percent of respondents said they believed the government lied before the elections this year about measures needed. Ferenc Gyurcsany's coalition now have 27 percent support, down from 43 percent in April, the poll suggested.

Open doors to Slovenes, European Central Bank tells euro zone states

The European Central Bank has called on the countries in the euro zone to open their doors to workers from Slovenia, now that the state is set to join the currency bloc. The bank's president said on Thursday that the free movement of workers was crucial to the success of monetary union. On January 1 Slovenia will become the 13th country to adopt the euro.

Polish president criticised for call to restore capital punishment

Europe's main human rights watchdog says the support of Polish President Lech Kaczynski for the restoration of the death penalty was an attack on European values. Rene van der Linden, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said Mr Kaczynski's stance would breach Poland's treaty obligations. The president - whose twin brother Jaroslaw is prime minister - has taken no formal steps to reintroduce the death penalty. But junior coalition partner the League of Polish Families says it will push for a referendum on the issue.

Dutch ship carrying asbestos ordered to leave Gdansk by Polish

Poland has ordered a Dutch ship carrying a large cargo of asbestos to leave the country, following months of protests from environmental groups. The owner's of the cruise liner Rotterdam planned to turn the ship in a conference centre and hotel after removing the toxic material at the port city of Gdansk.