The European Union review of the state of Bulgaria’s court and justice system will be in focus Monday, as well as Czech politics and the repairs to one of the oldest east-west highways in the region.
EU Commissioner and Vice President Viviane Reding will start her two-day visit to Sofia during which she expects to speak about the progress of strengthening the rule of law in Bulgaria, the least-affluent country in the east of the 28-nation bloc.
In the Czech Republic, political tensions, centered on squabbles between parliamentary parties and Czech President Milos Zeman over a caretaker government backed by the president, will continue next week as a confidence vote by lawmakers due by early August draws closer.
Elsewhere in the Czech Republic, another section of the country’s main highway linking the capital Prague with the country’s second largest city Brno near Austria will be closed for repairs.
The highway, called D1, is clogged with traffic night and day since it is a vital route for truckers moving goods from Russia or Turkey to Germany and elsewhere in northern Europe. Designed during the Second World War, the D1 highway was eventually built in the 1970s and 1980s, and along with highways in the former East Germany these were for decades the only multi-lane roads in the former Soviet-controlled Eastern European bloc.
All planned D1 repairs, aimed at fixing its potholed surface and adding new lanes in some places, are estimated to cost about $1 billion and last several years.
CZECH REPUBLIC: A Czech court Friday freed Jana Nagyova, the lover and former top aide of former prime minister Petr Necas, whose government was toppled last month after she and six others were arrested in a bribery and abuse-of-power investigation.
Along with Ms. Nagyova, the court said it released from custody three others linked to the case–the former head of military intelligence Ondrej Palenik, former deputy minister of agriculture Roman Bocek and Jan Pohunek, a former employee of military intelligence.
HUNGARY: Hungary is expected to take advantage of continuing loose monetary policies globally and its low inflation to cut its policy rate to a record low next week, to help the government muster economic growth before parliamentary elections in less than a year.
HUNGARY: Hungary’s opposition rapped the country’s combative leader, who faces elections next year, as power-hungry and out of touch with reality after he said that his controversial policies would continue.
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