Press Review

09-06-2003 | Dita Asiedu

All papers today carry a photo of a very happy Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, celebrating his people's overwhelming "Yes" vote in this week-end's referendum to join the European Union. But EU fever is also taking hold in the Czech Republic. "Four days to go before the referendum" writes LIDOVE NOVINY which will carry special supplements until Thursday looking at various topics dealing with EU membership. Monday's supplement focuses on the EU and money. MLADA FRONTA DNES also carries a supplement with one hundred questions and answers on the European Union.

LIDOVE NOVINY says the Freedom Union - a junior member of the three-party ruling coalition - has decided to face its plummeting support among the public and to try and find a solution. The TAKT consulting company, which helped the Christian Democratic Movement in Slovakia become the third strongest member of the ruling coalition, is to help the Freedom Union improve its popularity, which has dropped below the five percent threshold necessary for participation in the Chamber of Deputies.

The paper quotes deputy Prime Minister and Freedom Union leader Petr Mares as saying that despite the member base having dropped by some fifteen percent, his party has the potential to win the support of ten percent of voters. The right-of-centre party has three members in the seventeen-member Cabinet and ten deputies in the two-hundred seat Lower House.

The Supreme Administrative Court has only been active since January and is already overwhelmed with numerous unsolved cases writes HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. The biggest burden for the court, which deals mainly with citizens' law suits and complaints against decisions made by state institutions, is foreigners' appeals against asylum rejections. The number of unresolved cases stands at 7,500 and is increasing daily says the court's chairman Josef Baxa. According to the paper, he adds that current law makes the procedure long and tedious, responsible for asylum cases taking months or even years instead of weeks.

Bavaria's Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber says he will only come to Prague if accompanied by Sudeten Germans, writes PRAVO. The paper reports on the Sudeten German Days which were held in Augsburg, Germany, over the weekend. Attended by Mr Stoiber and some 60,000 others, the conference saw much criticism against the Czech Republic and its Benes decrees. The decrees, passed after the Second World War, led to the expulsion of 2.5 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia, their property was confiscated.

Mr Stoiber, who has been invited to an official trip to Prague, said he would only accept the invitation if the visit will include discussion on the Sudeten German question. Despite talks on the abolishment of the decrees having failed with the Czech government several times in the past, the Bavarian leader believes he will receive a warm welcome from Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Freedom Union leader Petr Mares, who has expressed support for issuing compensation to wronged Sudeten Germans, PRAVO writes.

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