News of Radio Prague

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Schuessel - Benes decrees still effective and incompatible with EU law

The Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said on Friday that the controversial Benes decrees were still legally effective and incompatible with EU law. Mr Schuessel said historians had proved the legal validity of the decrees. He also said that all political parties in Austria agreed the decrees were in conflict with EU law. In recent months the post-war presidential decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of some 2.5 million Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II, have become the subject of heated discussion among Austrian, German, and Hungarian politicians.

Verheugen - Benes decrees have no impact on Czech Republic's EU accession

Mr Schuessel's comments came after the European Union's commissioner for enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, said in Prague that the Benes decrees were no longer legally effective, adding that property restitution was not a European issue, but the Czech Republic's internal matter. Mr Verheugen also stressed that the debate over the decrees will have no impact on the Czech Republic's accession to the EU.

Kukan expresses Slovakia's support concerning Benes decrees

The Slovak foreign minister, Eduard Kukan, assured his Czech counterpart, Jan Kavan, on Friday that Slovakia shares the Czech Republic's position concerning the Benes decrees. Mr Kukan said he sees all critical remarks about the decrees as attempts to slow down European integration. The Czech and Slovak ministers told reporters that the cooperation of the Visegrad countries, which was recently badly affected by Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban's criticism of the Benes decrees, is meaningful and will continue. Slovakia offers assistance during NATO summit preparations

The Slovak foreign minister, Eduard Kukan, has offered technical assistance to the Czech Republic during its preparations for the NATO summit in November this year. Mr Kukan said Bratislava could lend the Czech Republic vehicles, X-ray machines and other security devices. The November summit will be decisive for Slovakia, as the country expects to be invited to join NATO. The Czech foreign minister, Jan Kavan, said he welcomes the offer and that he supports Slovakia's efforts to join the alliance.

Czech Army leaves RFE headquarters

The Czech Army reduced security outside the offices of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty in Prague on Friday. The US-funded radio station was guarded for six months by four armoured personnel carriers and soldiers with assault rifles following the attacks on the United States last September. The Czech police will now guard Radio Free Europe while continuing to restrict traffic and access to the building. Meanwhile, negotiations carry on between Radio Free Europe and Czech government officials about the relocation of the station's offices to a less congested part of the city. Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, which broadcasts to dozens of East European and Asian countries, including Afghanistan, was cited as a possible terrorist target.

Temelin's first reactor to be restarted next week

The Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia is expected to restart operation of its first reactor in mid-next week - almost two months after it was shut down due to technical problems. The plant's staff will finish tests on the first reactor and prepare the second reactor for launching later next week. Meanwhile, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency has carried out an inspection of the plant. The team's leader, David Rex Ek said after the inspection that Temelin's safety system was modern, well maintained and comparable to similar systems in Western Europe.

Weather

Friday night will be overcast with rain in places and isolated fog patches in the morning. Night-time temperatures should range between 8 and 4 degrees Celsius. Saturday and Sunday are expected to be cloudy and rainy, with daytime temperatures ranging from 11 to 15 degrees Celsius.