Insight Central Europe News

Lech Kaczynski wins Polish presidential elections

Conservative Lech Kaczynski will be Poland's new president, after winning Sunday's second round run-off against the liberal Donald Tusk. The traditionalist Kaczynski appealed mainly to the elderly, poor, and less educated Poles with promises to fight corruption and support the welfare state. Mr Kaczynski said Poland will become an active player in EU affairs and may hold a referendum on adopting the euro in 2010.

Hungary offers bird flu vaccine

As fears over bird flu continue, Hungary has said that other countries, including the United States, Russia and Britain, have expressed interest in an experimental vaccine developed in the country. It said that half a million vaccines could be produced every week, and that production could be raised if necessary. Hungary is continuing to disinfect all trucks coming into the country from Romania, and Poland has ordered all poultry to be kept indoors to keep it away from migratory birds. The Czech Republic has banned all poultry and bird exhibitions. In Slovakia virologists accused the government of dragging its feet in preparing for a possible pandemic.

Serbia snubs Slovene president over Kosovo comments

Serbia and Montenegro cancelled a visit by Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek on Thursday. The decision came after he touched a nerve by saying the Serbian province of Kosovo ought to be independent. Drnovsek was the first leader of any former Yugoslav republic to publicly back demands of the Kosovo Albanian majority for a state of their own in the southern province, which Serbia says it cannot secede.

Future ambassador wants better US image in Austria

The woman expected to be appointed as the next US Ambassador to Austria says she will work to improve the image of the United States in Austria. Speaking at Senate hearings in Washington Susanne McCaw said she expects to build ties with the Austrian people, including the country's Muslim and student populations. Her appointment still needs to be approved by the Senate.

Ceska Sporitelna bank predicts adoption of Euro as late as 2013

Ceska Sporitelna, one of the largest banks in the Czech Republic, has issued a report which foresees the country will not be able to adopt the Euro before 2013. It has also predicted a 15 percent depreciation of the crown in the run-up to the switch. The government's current target for euro adoption is 2009.