Local politicians chasing the grey vote have so far failed to shut them down, and jaded expat talk of the demise of the famous Budapest “ruin garden” (romkert) or “ruin pub” (romkocsma) has proved premature. While Hungary’s official tourism campaigns appear to have focused on luring the senescent from the affluent German-speaking world to thermal spas, the ruin bars have been doing their PR work for them. The ramshackle nightlife scene has received glowing write-ups in everything from the LA Times, through in-flight magazines to the UK’s Guardian and even The Economist.
Â Slovakia’s public debt as a percentage of GDP has increased by over 13 percentage points since 2008, with the total debt growing from 27.79 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 35.42 per cent in 2009 and to last year’s 40.97 per cent, the SITA newswire reported, adding that large budget deficits recorded in the past two years are primarily to blame.
An international crime group based in Slovenia operating in several EU countries, which arranged the transport of acetic anhydride to Turkey at the end of 2010, was planning to use the chemical to produce heroin and then use money from the sale of the drug in Europe to buy weapons that would be sold to the IRA and ETA terrorist organisations, Slovak Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak told a press conference on April 27.
Foreign workers – the two words can win or lose an election, cause riots in the streets and, according to economists, are necessary to save the European and Czech economies.
It doesn’t take much in the way of professional qualifications to become a deputy minister in Ukraine. Often, just having a cool relative in the right place will do. Mykola Korovitsyn, for example, only served as a parliamentarian’s aide for four years before he moved up the power ladder to become a deputy emergencies minister in March.
Ukraine is backsliding on democracy and on a path towards authoritarianism under President Viktor Yanukovych, according to a US democracy watchdog report released on April 27.
Anti-corruption police in the Czechâ€?Republic are conducting an internal investigation following the apparent suicide of one of the department’s former officials. The body of Milan Král, who had headed the Unit for Combating Corruption and Financial Crime (ÚOKFK)’s money-laundering department, was found with a gunshot to the head in Letná Park in Prague on April 18, according to ÚOKFK chief Tomáš Martinec. Though no suicide note has been found, investigators believe Král took his own life.
The Vatican has announced that blood taken from Pope John Paul II shortly before his death will be used as the official relic for veneration during his beatification on May 1.
European Union investors seem to be paying a price for economic or political difficulties in Serbia, which officially applied for EU membership two years ago. The European Commission and Parliament are keeping a close eye on developments but recent examples show continuing risks for foreign investors.
The traditional way for Romania’s Roma population to settle arguments took a more concrete form last week when it opened for business as a court.The courthouse is in the southern Transylvanian town of Sibiu, which is home to a large Roma population.