Insight Central Europe News

New Polish PM wins confidence vote

Poland's new prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, won a confidence vote in his cabinet on Wednesday. In his opening speech to parliament he promised to reduce dependence on Russian energy supplies, saying Poland should develop nuclear power. Mr Kaczynski, whose twin brother Lech is the country's president, replaced fellow Law and Justice party member Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz as prime minister.

Slovenian foreign minister shows support to Serbia over Kosovo, EU

Slovenia's foreign minister, Dimitrij Rupel, said that Serbia deserved compensation for the loss of Kosovo, as Western countries push for agreement by the end of the year on some form of independence for the province. Mr Rupel said Belgrade should be offered some kind of conditional membership of the EU. He was speaking in Brussels on July 17 as EU diplomats discussed a plan key to restarting talks with Serbia on ties with the Union.

Italian police free over 100 Poles from forced labour camp

Italian police on Tuesday freed over 100 Poles living "like slaves" in forced labour camps; those who refused were reportedly raped, tortured with metal batons, attacked by dogs and threatened by armed guards. Authorities in both countries said at least four workers had apparently committed suicide in the camps in the southern region of Puglia, though those deaths were being investigated as suspicious.

Fico considers regulation of energy prices

Slovakia's new prime minister, Robert Fico, said on Wednesday his government was looking for ways to control rising energy prices to help ease the burden on citizens. Mr Fico said price regulations were one possible solution. He pointed to two energy companies in particular, saying it was unacceptable that one of them - gas distributor SPP - made large profits by setting prices which did not correspond to Slovaks' real income.

Hungary in hot water with EU over tobacco advertising

The European Commission has told Hungary to fix its laws on tobacco advertising or face legal action before the European Court of Justice. The Commission said Budapest had incorrectly implemented an EU tobacco advertising law by allowing exemptions for rules that ban sponsorship, specifically mentioning Formula One motor-racing. Hungary - reprimanded along with Italy - has been given two months to comply with the Commission's request.

Czech police head suspends self from driving after speeding incident

The Czech Republic's chief of police Vladislav Husak has volunteered to not get behind the wheel for three months after a newspaper reported that he had driven at 190 km an hour, breaking the speed limit. Under a new Czech transport law he should lose his licence. Mr Husak said he regretted speeding and would give around 400 dollars to charity.