Insight Central Europe News

04-06-2004

The Polish President, Aleksander Kwasniewski, has said that Poland will hold elections in August if the acting minority government of Marek Belka fails to win parliamentary support. Most Polish political parties agree that an August date would not be desirable because many Poles will be on holiday, but the president said that it was not in his power to delay the poll. The survival of Mr Belka's cabinet depends on delicate negotiations with former supporters of his Democratic Left Alliance.

The new European Union members from Central and Eastern Europe have agreed to tighten controls on the EU's new eastern frontier. At a meeting in the Polish city of Gdansk, interior ministry officials from the region agreed on the need for closer border cooperation to fight organized crime, illegal migration and terror threats. They also agreed to seek the creation of an EU border fund.

The Croatian government has appeased Italy and neighbouring Slovenia by exempting European Union member countries from a new fishing regime in the Adriatic. Zagreb said that the new restrictions had been introduced to improve management of fishing resources. Croatia's deputy Prime Minister, Andrija Hebrang, denied that the government was yielding to EU pressure in the hope of not jeopardizing Croatian ambitions to join the bloc.

The Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and Speaker of theSlovak Parliament Pavol Hrusovsky addressed the final session of the Spring NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bratislava this week. They appealed for closer cooperation between Europe and the United States, and said that democratic countries should not allow terrorists to create divisions between them. During the meeting, the assembly president, Doug Bereuter, said that Ukraine's ambitions to join NATO depended on free and fair presidential elections this autumn.

The Austrian town of Schladming has failed in its bid to host the alpine skiing world championships in 2009. At a meeting of the International Ski Federation in Miami this week, it was decided to stage the event in the French resort of Val D'Isere. But there was better news for the Czech town of Liberec, which will host the 2009 Nordic championships.

04-06-2004

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