Insight Central Europe News

24-09-2004

Slovenia has threatened to complain to the European Union over arrests at a disputed part of the country's border with Croatia. Croatian border police recently arrested twelve Slovenians, including two police officers, for failing to show their documents. All were released after a few hours, but after the incident a political row broke out, with Slovenia threatening to block Croatia's bid to join the EU. The biggest border issue between the two countries is the unresolved maritime border.

Ivan Gasparovic has become the first Slovak president to deliver an address to the United Nations General Assembly. He travelled to New York City to seek support for Slovakia's bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the two-year term 2006-2007. During his visit he laid flowers at the site of the World Trade Center twin towers.

An Austrian financial expert on terrorism says reports that recent terror attacks in Russia were partly financed by foreign donations have underlined the need for an international agency to monitor such activities. Friedrich Schneider from Linz University says Austria should be concerned about the fact that it was mentioned as one of the countries from which funds had been channelled to support terrorist acts.

The Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski is to visit Moscow in the coming days to sign an agreement with Russia on lowering barriers to imports of Polish goods. Poland imports gas and oil from Russia, but has complained of difficulties in exporting food products to Russian markets.

The Czech Cabinet has approved a draft state budget for 2005 with a projected deficit of around 3 billion US dollars. Thanks to a last minute reduction of the budget deficit by 10 billion crowns the proposal falls only just short of the criteria set by the European Commission's convergence programme. The budget still has to be agreed in detail and approved by parliament, where the government holds a slim majority.

The Hungarian fencer, Pal Szekeres has won a bronze in the individual sabre competition in the Paralympics. What makes him unusual is that he is the only ever Paralympic athlete also to have won a medal in the Olympics. He suffered serious injuries in a car accident in 1991, three years after winning a bronze in Seoul, but since then has continued to compete at international level in a wheelchair.

24-09-2004