We are always the same age inside. - Gertrude Stein
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 37, Part II, 21 February 1995

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning East-Central and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, and the CIS, is distributed simultaneously as a second document.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

EU COMMISSION: EASTERN EUROPE LACKS INFRASTRUCTURE TO JOIN EU. An
internal European Union Commission document, leaked to the news agency
Reuters, states that Eastern Europe lacks the institutions and
infrastructure to join the EU. Reuters on 17 February reported the
document as saying that attempts by the East European countries to adopt
EU rules "would be an empty exercise if the organizational and
institutional structures which must underpin the measures are absent."
-- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

DISAGREEMENT OVER NEED FOR PREMIER IN UKRAINE'S NEW CONSTITUTIONAL
ORDER. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitaliy Masol, in an interview with
Ukrainian Television, said he supported President Leonid Kuchma's
efforts to win strong executive powers and implement political reforms,
but he could not agree with the president on the need to maintain the
post of prime minister, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 20 February. Masol
said a prime minister would not be necessary if a strong Presidency were
established by the constitutional bill on the separation of government
powers proposed by Kuchma. Kuchma has said that he favors keeping the
post within a reformed government. The prime minister also voiced
frustration over the lack of a new Ukrainian Constitution, which has
fueled a political struggle between parliament and the president." He
said the constitutional bill on the division of powers was only a
temporary solution and stressed the need for a new constitution to be
approved within a year. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE TO ISSUE BONDS TO FINANCE DEFICIT. The Ukrainian government is
planning to issue state bonds worth $100 million this spring to finance
the country's budget deficit, Viktor Pynzenyk, deputy premier in charge
of economic reforms, told the UNIAN agency on 20 February. Pynzenyk said
the bonds would have a monthly interest rate of 5-10% and would be
backed directly by the state budget. The Ministry of Finances is
currently determining how and where the bonds will be sold. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

LACK OF MONEY GROUNDS MANY UKRAINIAN FIGHTERS. Lieut.-Gen. Mikhail
Lopatin, head of the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces, told a Kiev news
conference on 20 February that up to 40% of his interceptors were unable
to fly because of a shortage of money. Interfax quotes him as saying
that in 1994, his troops were provided with only 30% of the fuel and
lubricants they required. But he nevertheless assessed the general state
of Ukraine's air defenses as satisfactory. He praised the agreement on a
united CIS air defense system, saying Ukraine would benefit in repairing
equipment, buying spare parts, and using Russian training sites. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

EUROPEAN AID TO UKRAINE AND BELARUS. AFP on 21 February reported that EU
finance ministers have agreed in principle to a 75 million ECU economic
aid package to Belarus, but the aid will be confirmed only after the EU
has reviewed the criteria for granting assistance to countries that may
not necessarily become members of the union. Several factors have
prompted the review, including Germany's desire to set a new standard
allowing aid to countries whose stability is of crucial importance to
the union. Meanwhile, Ukrainian radio reported on 17 February that
Ukrainian Finance Minister Petro Hermanchuk received a letter from
Henning Christopherson, vice president of the European Commission,
regarding a 130 million ECU credit to Ukraine. The letter demanded that
Ukraine make payments on the credit and its interest, as agreed when the
credit was issued. Ukraine has apparently failed to meet its 1994
obligations. So far, the Ukrainian Finance Ministry has not replied to
the letter. This is jeopardizing credits from other international
organizations--including a new 85 million ecu ($111 million) credit from
the European Commission--and financing from companies in France, Italy,
Germany, and other European countries. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CONGRESS OF LATVIA'S FARMERS' UNION. The congress in Jurmala on 17
February, attended by Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis and ambassador to
Moscow Janis Peters, adopted a new party program describing the Farmers'
Union as a center party whose main goal is "ensuring the welfare of
Latvia's residents in a free and independent country," Labrit reported
on 18 February. Former Agriculture Minister Janis Kinna said that talks
will begin with Latvia's Christian Democratic Union and the Latgale
Democratic Party on the formation of a pre-election coalition. The
congress reelected Andris Rozentals as board chairman, with Ansis
Grundulis as Central Revision Commission chairman, and Antonijs Zunda as
secretary. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

DISCIPLINE IN LITHUANIAN ARMED FORCES. Lithuanian National Defense
Minister Linas Linkevicius told reporters on 20 February that members of
the armed forces committed 4,296 infractions in 1994, RFE/RL's
Lithuanian Service reports. There were 2,014 incidents of hazing by
older soldiers. Ninety-six cases were taken to courts, 46 of which ended
with convictions. Twenty-two soldiers died in 1994, of which five from
beatings. Linkevicius said that discipline in the armed forces was
improving and would be helped if the parliament passed a law on national
defense and created a military police. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLAND RAISES INTEREST RATES. The Polish National Bank, in an effort to
fight a new surge of inflation, has raised interest rates for the first
time in four years, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 21 February. The
rediscount rate rose from 28% to 31%, the Lombard rate from 31% to 34%,
and the refinance rate from 33% to 35%. Prices climbed by 3.9% in
January, far in excess of the government's initial forecast of 2.6%.
Higher food prices (potato prices rose by 50% in a single month) were
the chief cause. In light of anticipated high wage growth, NBP President
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said the bank wanted to encourage the public to
save rather than spend. The NBP slowed the monthly devaluation rate of
the zloty from 1.4% to 1.2% on 16 February to fight the inflationary
impact of growing hard currency reserves (which rose by $2.5 billion in
1994). The government approved an "anti-inflationary package," including
duty-free imports of 1.5 million tons of grain and 100,000 tons of sugar
on 7 February. But Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak delayed implementing
these measures, apparently because his Polish Peasant Party's farming
constituency is the chief beneficiary of higher food prices. In other
economic news, the NBP reported that last year's 24.8% increase in
exports helped reduce Poland's current account deficit to $944 million,
from $2.329 billion in 1993. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER CONFIRMS WESTERN ORIENTATION. Juraj Schenk
visited Bonn on 17 February to confirm Slovakia's Western orientation,
Narodna obroda reported on 18 February. In a lecture to the German
Foreign Policy Association, Schenk asked NATO to extend its security
guarantees eastward to better protect Central European countries. Schenk
also met with his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel. Meanwhile,
opposition parties have been critical of Slovakia's recent agreements
with Russia, signed during Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's
visit to Slovakia on 13-14 February. In a press conference on 20
February, Party of the Democratic Left Deputy Chairwoman Brigita
Schmoegnerova said that some of the twelve agreements will have a
positive effect, but she criticized others, including the accord on
military-economic cooperation, Pravda reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
Inc.

PRIVATIZATION OF SLOVAK ENERGY FIRMS DISCUSSED. Economy Minister Jan
Ducky on 20 February met with representatives of the Slovak Trade Union
of Power Engineers. Union chairman Jozef Kollar told journalists
following the meeting that discussions focused on the industry's
privatization. Kollar said he opposes privatization through the coupon
method--advocated by the government of former Prime Minister Jozef
Moravcik--arguing that the firms should be managed by experts, not
coupon holders. He also stressed that profits should be reinvested
rather than distributed as dividends and that Slovakia should wait for
3-5 years to privatize the industry, Narodna obroda reports. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION MINISTER NOMINATED. Hungarian Prime Minister
Gyula Horn and Alliance of Free Democrats chairman Ivan Peto on 20
February announced the nomination of Tamas Suchman as minister without
portfolio in charge of privatization, MTI reports. Peto stressed that
his party accepted Horn's decision but did not agree with Suchman's
nomination, arguing that an expert and not a party politician should
fill the post. Suchman is a member of the Hungarian Socialist Party
parliament faction and is said to belong to circles close to Horn.
According to Nepszabadsag of 8 February, Suchman has called for a
greater role for the state in the economy and advocated closer
supervision of the privatization agencies in order to combat corruption.
-- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

VAN DER STOEL VISITS MACEDONIA AFTER TETOVO CLASHES. OSCE High
Commissioner for Minorities Max van der Stoel called for restraint
following clashes between ethnic Albanians and Macedonian police sparked
by the crackdown on the self-proclaimed Albanian-language University in
Tetovo. Van der Stoel met with President Kiro Gligorov and advocated a
more comprehensive law on higher education. He also met with Abdurrahman
Aliti, leader of the Party of Democratic Prosperity, and other Albanian
representatives, Flaka reported on 21 February. Following the police
crackdown, one ethnic Albanian died in armed riots and seven were
sentenced to 30 days in prison for disturbing the peace. The Democratic
Forum of Gostivar on 20 February released a statement saying police
raided the forum's office on 17 February, destroyed furniture, and
arrested activists. Meanwhile, vandals demolished 30 tombstones in a
Moslem graveyard in Kumanovo, international agencies reported on 20
February. Macedonian Radio linked the incident to the clashes in Tetovo.
-- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

DID THE UN IMAGINE AIRCRAFT NEAR TUZLA? The Washington Post reports on
21 February about disputes between the UN and NATO over violations of
the no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The newspaper points out
that all sides use aircraft freely because they know there is no serious
possibility that NATO planes will go after them. In the latest
development, UN observers recently saw large transport aircraft of
uncertain origin unload high-tech equipment for Bosnian government
forces near Tuzla. NATO, however, said that no such mission took place
and asked the UN to change its report. The newspaper suggests that NATO
is trying to get the UN to cover up for its own incompetence. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN AND KRAJINA SERBS FORM JOINT WAR COUNCIL. Nasa Borba says on 21
February that Bosnian and Krajina Serbs set up a joint military council
at Banja Luka the previous day. Their respective leaders, Radovan
Karadzic and Milan Martic, announced the setting up of the Supreme
Defense Council, which provides for joint defense and mutual assistance
in keeping with a 1993 pact between the two rebel Serbian states.
Elsewhere in Bosnia, international media report that Krajina Serbs on 20
February stopped a UN relief convoy heading for Bihac and forced it to
Velika Kladusa, which is under the control of local kingpin Fikret
Abdic. The Serbs had promised to let the relief vehicles through to the
besieged town, where some 20% of the population is reportedly threatened
with starvation. The BBC on 21 February said the UN is trying to
negotiate the release and safe passage of the convoy. Finally, news
agencies report a sharp increase in fighting on 20 February in the
narrow but strategic Posavina corridor in northern Bosnia. The route
provides a land bridge between Serbia, on the one hand, and Serb-held
territories in Bosnia and Croatia on the other. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Vecernji list on 18 February reported that Prime
Minister Nikica Valentic visited Istria to discuss the peninsula's
economic development. Istria has a strong regional movement that is at
odds with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, who regards any form of
regionalism as virtually identical with secession. The Constitutional
Court last month struck out key passages of a regional statute that
would have provided wide autonomy for Istria and its Italian minority.
Valentic's visit was obviously aimed at repairing some of the political
damage caused by the court's ruling. Meanwhile, Vjesnik on 20 February
noted that the Roman Catholic Church would welcome the introduction of
private television. The ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has
tried to maintain a virtual monopoly on the electronic media, with most
exceptions limited to entertainment programs. Also on 20 February, Novi
list reported on the latest congress of the right-wing Croatian Party of
[Historic] Rights, led by Dobroslav Paraga. He used the occasion to
stress his party's historic support for an alliance of Muslims and
Croats and to lambaste the HDZ. Two leading politicians from the left of
center, Stipe Mesic and Silvije Degen, likewise railed against the
ruling party. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVENIAN PREMIER RETURNS FROM CHINA. AFP on 17 February reported that
Janez Drnovsek left Beijing the same day after an official four-day
state visit to China. In meetings with high officials, including
Drnovsek's Chinese counterpart, Li Peng, economic issues reportedly took
center stage. Drnovsek was accompanied by 20 leading Slovenian
businessmen. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSYLVANIAN TENSION. Cluj county prefect Grigore Zanc harshly
criticized the 18 February inaugural meeting of the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania's National Council for Self-Administration,
composed of locally elected HDFR representatives. Radio Bucharest on 20
February quoted him as saying the meeting was held without his knowledge
and approval, which, he said, is proof of its "clandestine, tendentious,
and anti-constitutional" character. Also on 20 February, Zanc released a
communique--signed jointly with extreme-nationalist Mayor of Cluj
Gheorghe Funar and the chairman of the Cluj county council--saying the
council contravened both the constitution and the Law on National
Security. They called on the Prosecutor-General's office to take legal
measures against the council and ordered the Cluj county local
authorities to ban its activities. Funar said in an interview with the
Austrian daily Standard on 18 February that an armed conflict between
Romanians and ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania cannot be ruled out. He
also claimed that more than half a million of the 1.7 million Magyars in
Romania were Gypsies, whom the HDFR has allegedly "blackmailed or
bought" to register as ethnic Hungarians. In reality, he said "there are
no more than 300,000 Romanians of Hungarian origin in Romania." --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PREMIER IN MOLDOVA. Nicolae Vacaroiu, beginning a two-day visit
to Chisinau, met with his Moldovan counterpart, Andrei Sangheli, and
President Mircea Snegur on 20 February. Vacaroiu handed Snegur a message
from President Ion Iliescu reiterating "Romania's support for the
consolidation of Moldova's independence," Radio Bucharest reported. He
said it was necessary to continue the dialogue between the two countries
in order to "eliminate suspicions and re-establish trust." He also noted
that their joint aim was to "intensify the process of economic
integration" and to "consolidate relations in the common cultural and
spiritual space." He called for speeding up the process of drafting a
basic treaty between Moldova and Romania. Snegur, for his part, said
that regaining and safeguarding the Eastern markets was important for
all former communist countries, including Romania. "Moldova cannot live
in isolation" and the need for cooperation has prompted its "return to
the CIS," he said. Interfax quoted Snegur as saying he favored the idea
of establishing free-trade zones along the Romanian-Moldovan border. On
the eve of Vacaroiu's departure to Chisinau, Radio Bucharest revealed
that the premier and two of the ministers accompanying him were born in
what is now the Republic of Moldova. The radio station, sounding an
irredentist note, quoted one of the ministers as saying "we are going
home." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

IMF AND WORLD BANK OFFICIALS IN BULGARIA. Delegations from the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank asked for further price
hikes on electricity, according to the Bulgarian press on 21 February.
Kontinent reported that the delegations, on a working visit to Sofia,
asked for price increases twice as high as those announced by the
Bulgarian government on 16 February. Bulgaria agreed to raise the price
from 1.9 to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. In return, the IMF and the
World Bank agreed to lend Bulgaria $93 million for improvements in the
country's power sector. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREECE DEPORTS ILLEGAL ALBANIAN IMMIGRANTS. Greece rounded up and
deported 889 illegal Albanian immigrants on 18-19 February, Reuters
reported. According to a police spokesman, the move followed an increase
in the number of Albanians trying to cross illegally into Greece. Border
patrols have reportedly been reinforced. About 300,000 illegal
immigrants from Albania are working in Greece. Meanwhile, Albanian
Deputy Foreign Minister Arjan Starova has confirmed that Greek Foreign
Minister Karolos Papoulias will visit Albania in March. Starova said he
expects the talks to focus on Albania's Greek minority, Albanian
immigrants in Greece, and border issues. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The Daily Digest is
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