News Briefs

SMK submits two year report on the government
Slovakia introduces visa restrictions for Belarus
Committee wants more money for state media
Dzurinda the only candidate for SDKÚ head
Slovakia moving towards NATO membership

SMK submits two year report on the government

The Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) has submitted to its ruling coalition colleagues - the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), the Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ), and the Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) - its report on the government's accomplishments after two years in power. In its report, the SMK credited Dzurinda's government for launching a series of positive changes that put Slovakia back on the path of democracy.
The SMK, however, criticised the government for slowing down reforms. "It is becoming a rule that cabinet ministers ignore sittings of parliament and stay away from the work of parliamentary committees," the SMK report said.

Slovakia introduces visa restrictions for Belarus

A visa regime between the Slovak Republic and Belarus will go into effect on January 1, 2001. However, both countries are expected to agree on a simplified visa regime for some groups of citizens, spokesman for the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry Boris Gandel said.
Gandel added that certain groups might yet obtain visas for free and for an extended time period, including airline and train crews along with bus and truck drivers and students.

Committee wants more money for state media

The parliamentary committee for culture and media discussed related chapters for the draft budget for 2001 on November 13, but refused to support all but one of them. It recommended parliament to approve the proposed wording of the budget for the Ministry of Culture.
The committee disagrees with proposed financial allocations for Slovak Television (STV), Slovak Radio (SRo), the Council for Broadcast and Retransmission (RVR) and the Press Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR).

Dzurinda the only candidate for SDKÚ head

Members of the Slovak Democratic-Christian Union (SDKÚ) preparatory committee voted unambiguously on November 14 in support of Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda as leader of the party.
The preparatory committee nominated Eduard Kukan as deputy chairman for foreign policy while Juraj Kopcák was nominated for the post of deputy chairman for domestic policy. Zuzana Martináková is expected to be deputy chair for the NGO sector and family and social affairs. Ľubomír Harach should be head of economics and education.
Milan Kňažko was proposed to oversee culture and media while the party presidium will propose five additional candidates: Milan Hort, Peter Missik, Pavol Prokopovič, Pavol Kubovič and Tibor Simoni.
The committee turned down the draft statute of the SDKÚ liberal faction saying that it goes against SDKÚ articles of foundation. Those proposing the plan wanted to create an independent political wing inside the party, which leaders of the SDKÚ say is unacceptable.

Slovakia moving towards NATO membership

Air Force General Joseph Ralston, NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, met in Bratislava with Slovak Defence Minister Pavol Kanis and Slovak Army Chief of Staff General Milan Cerovský to discuss Slovakia's bid for NATO membership November 13.
Ralston said he had seen a significant improvement in Slovakia's efforts to prepare for NATO membership. He also praised the Defence Ministry's integration efforts, saying that Slovakia had made great progress in implementing NATO structures.

Compiled by Ed Holt
from SITA

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