Insight Central Europe News

24-10-2003

Tough new asylum laws have been approved in Austria. The Government says the legislation is aimed at trying to speed up the asylum process, but the United Nations says they could be the most restrictive in the European Union

Slovene authorities have released a former Kosovo rebel leader wanted by Serbia-Montenegro. Lt. Gen. Agim Ceku was arrested on an international warrant issued by Serbia-Montenegro on Wednesday. Belgrade's authorities accuse him of war crimes. However Slovene authorities later released him saying the arrest warrant was invalid.

Polish rail workers have threatened to hold a general strike on Nov. 13 - to demand more funding for state railroads from the government. The strike plan follows repeated protests by Polish coal miners. They're calling on the government to drop plans to reform the industry and axe thousands of jobs.

Slovakia's president has vetoed the draft of the government's new pension reform. Rudolf Schuster rejected the legislation on legal grounds. To overrule the presidential veto, the government must collect an absolute majority of votes in parliament.

In Hungary, remembrance of the 1956 revolution was marked with discord. For the first time since the fall of communism, Parliament, held no festive session, and the political parties organized separate events of their own.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has said the break-up of Czechoslovakia was a positive development that improved relations between Czechs and Slovaks. Speaking during a trip to Prague, the Czech born diplomat said relations between Czechs and Slovaks are better than before.

24-10-2003