Insight Central Europe News

EU agrees sanctions on Belarus, Czechs push for tough measures

The European Union agreed this week to impose sanctions on the leadership of Belarus, including President Alexander Lukashenko, one week after presidential elections it claimed were seriously flawed. The move was taken after Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda launched a diplomatic campaign for sanctions. A Czech reporter for the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes said he was beaten up by the Belarussian secret police following a public demonstration in Minsk.

Budapest mayor orders giant PM election poster to be pulled down

Two weeks before the first round of general elections in Hungary, an opposition-run Budapest district has ordered the removal of a huge election poster of Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Hungary's biggest ever election poster, covering 1,700 square metres, shows Mr Gyurcsany's face and the words "Yes. Ferenc Gyurcsany. For Hungary. For you." The mayor of Budapest's Zuglo district said the poster must come down within 10 days.

Polish MPs vote to set up banking probe

Polish MPs voted to set up a parliamentary commission to probe the activities of the central bank since the fall of Communism in 1989, and to investigate privatisations in the banking sector. The 251 MPs who voted in favour belong to a now defunct parliamentary coalition set up last month by the governing conservatives of Law and Justice, the far-right League of Polish Families and the populist Samoobrona parties.

Slovenian reform minister resigns in privatisation dispute

A Slovenian minister supervising economic and social reforms resigned in disagreement over the privatisation of the country's largest bank. Slovenia's centre-right government said in a statement that the Minister, Joze P. Damijan, had resigned "for personal reasons," Mr Damijan was appointed as part of a government effort to modernize the country's tax system, introducing a flat value-added tax (VAT) and removing the existing payroll tax.

Slovakia becomes first state to ratify UN anti-nuclear terrorism treaty

And Slovakia has become the first country to ratify and become party to a treaty for cooperation in fighting terrorism involving the use of nuclear devices, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005. To date, 100 States have signed onto the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which strengthens the global legal framework to combat the threat, requires the extradition or prosecution of those implicated and encourages the exchange of information and other inter-state cooperation.