Insight Central Europe News

19-12-2003

Poland's internal security agency raised its security alert status for the first time on Thursday. The say the threat of terror attacks in the country had risen since the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Poland has been one of the strongest supporters of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and now controls a military zone there.

Austria is among six of the EU's richest states have called for the capping of the bloc's future budget, which could lead to a cut in aid to its poorer nations. Austria, Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Sweden said the budget should not exceed 1% of the EU's gross national product from 2007 onwards. Their letter came just days after Spain and Poland blocked a deal on the EU's future constitution at Brussels talks.

A Slovene district court has found 12 people guilty of human trafficking and the illegal transport of immigrants out of Eastern Europe. The gang is said to be one of the largest groups of its kind in the region. The group's ringleader is also wanted in neighbouring Croatia and Italy.

The Czech government has decided to begin negotiations over the lease of 14 Anglo-Swedish Gripen fighter planes .in preference to American-made F-16s. The Americans were offering F-16s, but only an older version from the 1980s.

The Slovak government has approved the deployment of 25 more soldiers to Iraq. Most of the troops will provide security for a Slovak military engineering unit. Slovakia already has deployed 82 military engineers concentrating on de-mining operations.

19-12-2003