News Briefs

Poll: European citizens split on Slovak accession
Communists stage May Day protest rally
Secret Service: Roma exodus was organised
Police: Remiaš murderers near being apprehended

Poll: European citizens split on Slovak accession

According to a poll conducted by the Eurobarometer agency, 38% of European Union (EU) citizens polled support Slovak entry into the EU, while 39% oppose it.
Of the 13 countries bidding for EU membership, Slovakia received the sixth strongest support for its entry from EU citizens; citizens supported Malta the most, followed by Hungary, Poland, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. Malta's entry was supported by 48% of those polled, compared to 46% for Hungary, 44% for Poland, and 42% for Cyprus and the Czech Republic. Overall, 44% of respondents were in favour of EU enlargement while 35% were opposed.

Communists stage May Day protest rally

Roughly 300 supporters of the Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS), a non-parliamentary party which received less than 3% of the total vote in 1998 national elections, held a May Day rally in Bratislava. Since the 1989 fall of Communism, the holiday has traditionally been an opportunity for the KSS to condemn what its leader called "the capitalist leaders of the country" while celebrating Slovakia's communist past.
The KSS said that this year's May Day rally was held to protest the "anti-human policies" of the ruling coalition, and to denounce the "anti-Communist hysteria" disseminated by the government. The KSS also warned that "vulgar capitalism" is disintegrating Slovak society by increasing suicidal tendencies, venereal diseases, and alcoholism.

Secret Service: Roma exodus was organised

The Slovak secret service (SIS) announced April 30 that it had obtained proof that the recent exodus of over 100 Slovak Roma to Belgium had been organised. However, the evidence is not sufficient for police to press charges, said Police Corps President Ján Pipta.
Pipta said it was difficult to lay charges in such cases as witnesses frequently changed their testimony when interrogated by police.
Belgium recorded a rapid increase in the number of Slovak Roma asylum seekers after it cancelled its visa regime for Slovak citizens April 10.

Police: Remiaš murderers near being apprehended

Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the murder of Robert Remiaš, Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner said that the police were "on the track" of the men suspected of committing the act. Remiaš, who had been acting as a middleman between the police and a former Slovak secret service officer who had allegedly witnessed the abduction of then-President Michal Kováč's son, was killed in Bratislava April 29, 1995 by a car bomb.
Pittner said that investigators must cross-examine key witnesses before charges can be laid.

Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA and TASR

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