Vol. 1, No. 10, 14 April 1997
SLOVAK OFFICIAL ON NATO EXPANSION. Deputy Foreign
Minister Jozef Sestak told Slovak TV yesterday that regional
tensions could arise between Slovakia and its three former
communist neighbors (Poland, Hungary, and the Czech
Republic) unless all four join NATO at the same time. Sestak
last week headed a delegation to talks with NATO in Brussels
over Slovakia's membership aspirations. Sestak said the key
issues at the talks were whether Slovakia could boost the
alliance's defense capability, whether it shared the same
values as NATO members, and whether it was carrying out
reforms as fast as its neighbors. Slovakia will hold a
referendum on NATO membership next month. Opposition
leaders accuse the government of planning the referendum in
a bid to cover up Slovakia's failure to be included in the first
wave of new members.
HUNGARIAN WELFARE MINISTER ORDERS
INVESTIGATION INTO HEALTH INSURANCE SECTOR.
Mihaly Kokeny has ordered an investigation into the country's
health insurance sector following a row this weekend over
whether Agnes Cser should be removed as head of the Health
Insurance Fund, Hungarian media reported. Peter Simsa,
deputy chairman of the Health Insurance Authority, has
accused Cser of causing billions of forints in losses, but Cser
says she uncovered those losses last summer. Simsa also says
Cser has largely ignored decisions taken by the authority and
has caused damage through her activities and statements.
Some interest groups reportedly want to get rid of Cser
because she has started to investigate several cases over the
use of public funds.
ROMANIA SIGNS CEFTA AGREEMENT. Minister of Trade
and Industry Calin Popescu Tariceanu has signed the Central
European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) on his country's
behalf, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 12 April. The
signing ceremony was attended by Tariceanu's counterparts
from the five current member states --Hungary, the Czech
Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Romania will
become the organization's sixth member on 1 July.
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