Lengyel quits as prime minister's spokesman
Martin Lengyel, spokesman for Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, resigned from his post on May 1. Lengyel said that he would be replaced by Miriam Fitmová, the spokeswoman of the Slovak cabinet. The decision, he said, had been made in agreement with Dzurinda and had been reached after considering the move for several months.
"After two years of co-operation with Mikuláš Dzurinda, I decided for a change in my life because I have some personal plans for the future," Lengyel said. Although he was not specific in his plans, he said that in the near future he would like to travel and lecture. He added that he hoped to co-operate with Dzurinda further in the future because he felt his relationship with the PM was good both from the professional and personal viewpoints.
Lengyel took the post of the prime minister's spokesman in December 1998. Previously, he had worked at the Twist private radio station.
Security cameras to improve city safety
Municipal police in Bratislava put into operation four new security cameras on May 2 aimed at strengthening safety measures under the Bratislava Safe City project. Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner and Bratislava Mayor Jozef Moravčík attended the launching ceremony.
"The camera system will help the municipal and state police in their fight against crime," Moravčík said at the ceremony. The monitoring system is the third measure city leaders have approved to increase safety in Bratislava.
Dzurinda also said that he believed the camera system would contribute to better security in the streets of Bratislava. "The security of citizens and the protection of their property and health are the main priorities of the Slovak government," he said. He added that similar systems had netted positive results in several European cities, including Brno in the Czech Republic, where the police have recorded a 90% increase in their crime solving rate.
Pittner said the system had already proven effective in Bratislava. Last week, for example, the previously existing cameras installed in September 1999 had helped police monitor illegal activities carried out by a group of skinheads. Bratislava City Police Chief Pavol Sedlak said Bratislava would eventually have 12 security cameras.
Ukraine requires visas for Slovaks as payback
The Ukraine Foreign Ministry announced to Slovak Ambassador to Ukraine Vasil Grivna on April 28 that Slovak citizens would now be required to obtain a visa before crossing the Ukraine border. The ministry's decision came after the Slovak government agreed in mid-March to impose visa restrictions on neighbouring Ukraine, effective as of June 28.
Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said that the visas had been applied to the Ukraine because of fears that the Slovak labour market was being burdened by illegal labourers. The Czech Republic also decided to impose visas for citizens of Ukraine in February, with the measure going into effect this month.
According to Dzurinda, about 100,000 Ukraine citizens are working in Slovakia while 5,971 have already been expelled as unwanted aliens.
Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA