We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 80, Part II, 24 July1997



This is Part II of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Newsline.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern,
and Southeastern Europe.  Part I, covering Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia, is distributed simultaneously
as a second document.  Back issues of RFE/RL NewsLine are
available through RFE/RL's WWW pages:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

Back  issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through
OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/

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Headlines, Part II

* BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT RULES OUT EARLY ELECTION

* ALBANIAN PRESIDENT RESIGNS

* DEMONSTRATIONS MARK MILOSEVIC'S INAUGURATION

End Note
Competitive Enlargement?

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT RULES OUT EARLY ELECTION... Alyaksandr
Lukashenka told journalists in Minsk on 23 July that there will be no
early parliamentary elections in Belarus. "The idea of holding early
elections, planted by Belarusian emigrants in the United States, is
being imposed on Minsk by officials from the EU and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe," he said.
Lukashenka argued that OSCE officials "sometimes forget" that
Belarus is a full- fledged member of the organization and is paying
its membership fees. He also said he doubts that the "trilateral
dialogue" involving his administration, the opposition, and OSCE
officials will have "constructive results."

...VOWS STRICTER BORDER CONTROLS WITH UKRAINE. Lukashenka
told factory workers in Minsk on 22 July that Belarus and Ukraine
"have not yet attained the necessary level" of integration, Interfax
reported one day later. He complained that the agreements signed by
the Ukrainian and Belarusian presidents in Gomel and Kiev "are not
being implemented." In Lukashenka's view, Belarus and Ukraine are
unlikely to achieve "in the near future" the level of integration
existing between Russia and Belarus. "Strict customs and border
controls" will be introduced on the Ukrainian border, said
Lukashenka, noting that Russia is to set up a similar regime on the
Russian-Ukrainian border. "Ukraine wants to be a sovereign state, let
it be one. Not at our expense, though," he commented. Lukashenka
also told the factory workers that rumors of his aim to take over the
Kremlin are being "spread by the Belarusian opposition so as to have
him and Russian President Boris Yeltsin quarrel."

UKRAINE, GAZPROM REACH PARTIAL AGREEMENT. Rem Vyakhirev,
the head of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, has reached partial
agreement with Ukraine on payment of Kyiv's outstanding debt, but
some Ukrainian customers seem likely to remain cut off, ITAR-TASS
reported. Vyakhirev met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in
Kyiv on 23 July. The country's overdue bills prompted Gazprom to
cut gas shipments to Ukraine the previous day. According to Gazprom
in Moscow, Kuchma and Vyakhirev agreed on an extension of a
contract to fill Ukrainian reserves. But there was no agreement to
resume regular shipments. Gazprom says Ukraine's outstanding gas
bill is between $100 million and $150 million.

UKRAINE EXPECTS IMF LOAN WORTH $750 MILLION. Anatoly
Galchinsky, the deputy chief of Ukraine's presidential administration,
told journalists in Kyiv on 23 July that Ukraine expects that the one-
year standby loan being negotiated with the IMF will be worth some
$750 million. An IMF team is in Kyiv working out details of the loan
package. Officials from the fund say they hope to finish drawing up
the program and receive the final approval of the fund's board by
the end of August. The IMF offered the regular standby loan after
officials said Ukraine has not yet implemented enough reforms to
qualify for the three-year extended loan of up to $3 billion that had
been negotiated for several months.

ARMENIAN PRESIDENT IN UKRAINE. Levon Ter-Petrossyan was in
Kyiv on 22-23 July for an official visit aimed at strengthening
political and economic ties, ITAR-TASS reported. He held talks in
Kyiv with his Ukrainian counterpart, Kuchma, as well as newly
appointed Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko and Foreign
Minister Hennady Udovenko. Discussion focused on economic and
military cooperation as well as mutual assistance in streamlining tax
laws. The two presidents on 23 July signed a declaration on further
cooperation between CIS member states. Eleven intergovernment
agreements were also signed. Ter-Petrossyan expressed his support
for Ukraine's partnership agreement with NATO. He and Kuchma
signed a friendship and cooperation treaty in May 1996.

NO CHARGES YET AGAINST ESTONIAN SUSPECTED TERRORIST. The
Tallinn City Court has granted permission to extend the detention of
the suspected terrorist known as "Viktor" for 20 days without
bringing charges, BNS reported on 23 July. The 35-year-old Estonian
citizen was recently arrested at the Estonian-Latvian border on
suspicion of having threatened to carry out bomb attacks against
companies and hotels in Riga. A spokesman for the Tallinn criminal
police said much work remains to be done before charges can be
filed. He said that the Estonian police were working closely with their
counterparts in Russia and the U.S., from where the suspect is
reported to have sent electronic mail messages to Latvia.

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN RIGA. Hennadi Udovenko and his
Latvian counterpart, Valdis Birkavs, arrived in Riga on 24 July to
sign three intergovernment accords, RFE/RL's Latvian Service
reported. The accords deal with the protection and promotion of
mutual investments, easing restrictions for the citizens of one
country traveling to the other, and the readmission of illegal
immigrants. Udovenko is also scheduled to meet with President
Guntis Ulmanis, Prime Minister Andris Skele, and parliamentary
speaker Alfreds Cepanis.

POLISH POLITICAL PARTIES WANT ELECTIONS DELAYED. Most
political parties on 23 July demanded that the general elections
scheduled for 21 September be postponed owing to continued
flooding. The ruling former Communists, however, are insisting on
keeping to that schedule, PAP reported. Other parties, including the
opposition Union for Freedom and the Peasant Party, the junior
partner in the government coalition, argue that the president should
declare a state of emergency in flood-hit areas, which would
automatically postpone the ballot at least until November. Prime
Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said that holding the polls as
scheduled would show that Poland is a stable country that respects
democratic rules even in the face of serious trouble.

CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER UPSET OVER GOVERNMENT DECISION ON
TANKS SALE. Miloslav Vyborny on 23 July threatened to resign over
the government's decision to reject the sale of 100 modernized T-72
tanks to Algeria, CTK reported. Vyborny met with Czech President
Vaclav Havel following the announcement of that decision.
Presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek told journalists Havel fully
trusts Vyborny. He added that the president believes the Czech
Army has too many tanks and urgently needs to purchase new
Czech-made L-39 aircraft, which could be financed by the sale of the
tanks. On 24 July, Vyborny announced that he would not be
tendering his resignation. Havel has asked the government to
reconsider its position on the issue. Some military specialists and
politicians say the sale would reduce the Czech Republic's defense
capability. Michael Zantovsky, chairman of the coalition Civic
Democratic Alliance, is leading the protest against the decision to sell
the tanks.

AUSTRIA SAYS SLOVAKIA SHOULD NOT BE ISOLATED. Austrian
Chancellor Viktor Klima on 23 July said it is important that the EU
does not make Slovakia feel isolated as the bloc expands into Eastern
Europe. Klima made the remark at a news conference following a
meeting with European Commission President Jacques Santer.
Slovakia was not recommended by the European Commission on 16
July for EU expansion talks. It was the only Central European country
to be excluded from the initial talks and the only applicant ruled out
for not meeting the EU's political criteria. Klima said that although
Austria initially supported beginning talks with 10 applicant
countries, it now supported a plan to make sure those left out of the
first wave of expansion are involved in EU affairs, despite the delay
in granting them membership (see also "End Note" below).

SLOVAK PRESIDENT CRITICAL OF PRIME MINISTER. In a statement
released to the media on 23 July, Slovak President Michal Kovac
commented that "it is important to say loudly that with Premier
Vladimir Meciar and his government in power Slovakia will never
get into NATO or the EU." Kovac added that the good will of
developed and democratic countries was conditional on a real
functioning democracy in Slovakia and that with Meciar at the helm
the country has no hope of establishing such a democracy. Kovac
referred to the contents of a letter from British Prime Minister Tony
Blair which was handed to Meciar by the British ambassador to
Slovakia on 22 July. "The [Atlantic] alliance places high value on
democracy and the observance of laws. I look forward to the day
when Slovakia will be able to join NATO and other important
Western institutions," Blair wrote.

HUNGARY ESTABLISHES COMMISSION AGAINST SEX
DISCRIMINATION. An eight-member government commission was
established on 23 July to guarantee equal opportunities for women,
Hungarian media reported. Minister of Labor Peter Kiss said that
although sex discrimination is illegal in Hungary, women still earn
10-15 percent less than men employed in the same positions. He said
two-thirds of women in the country work in so-called "female
positions." Some 30 million forints ($160,000) will be budgeted this
year to overcome poverty among and violence against women and to
improve social and health care for women, he said. In other news,
statistics released on 23 June by the Interior Ministry show crime
rose 10 percent in the first half of 1997, compared with the same
period last year. Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze told a press
conference that, in particular, international crime is causing concern.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT RESIGNS. Sali Berisha resigned on 23 July, as
he had promised to do in the event that his Democratic Party lost the
29 June legislative elections. Berisha issued a statement saying the
Socialists' victory marked "the return to power of the last communist
nomenklatura." Following the announcement of his resignation,
crowds in Tirana fired Kalashnikovs into the air in celebration.
Rexhep Mejdani, a leading Socialist Party official and former
professor of physics, is expected to be Berisha's successor. Berisha
will take up a seat in the parliament and is widely expected to take
over the Democratic Party leadership. The governing Socialists and
their allies promised during the election campaign to make the
country a parliamentary republic and abandon the strong, French-
type presidency that Berisha and the Democrats created.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT CONVENES. The legislature convened for
the first time on 23 July in Tirana amid tight security. The Democrats
boycotted the session to protest what they said were gross
irregularities in the election. Only Genc Pollo, the party's secretary-
general, attended out of the 27 Democratic deputies. The Socialists
and their allies have more than a two-thirds majority and have
pledged to introduce changes in the constitution. Meanwhile in
Brussels, NATO diplomats told journalists that the Atlantic alliance is
ready to send a team of experts to Albania to make
recommendations on rebuilding the armed forces. The diplomats
denied, however, that NATO has any intention of taking over the role
of the multinational peacekeeping force, whose mandate will end in
August. Albania joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in
1994, but its military disintegrated in the anarchy that swept the
country earlier this year.

DEMONSTRATIONS MARK MILOSEVIC'S INAUGURATION. Slobodan
Milosevic took the oath of office as president of federal Yugoslavia in
Belgrade on 23 July. He also took up official residence in Beli Dvor,
where former Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito lived. Milosevic's
inauguration was greeted by some 3,000 noisy protesters, who
pelted shoes at Milosevic's car to symbolize the thousands of people
who fled the country under his rule. Police used batons to hold back
the crowd and to separate it from a group of Milosevic supporters.
The new president received official congratulations from his
counterparts in Cuba, Ghana, and Slovakia, but not from those in
Western countries, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the
Serbian capital. Also in Belgrade, Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo
Djukanovic warned that Montenegro's deputies in the federal
parliament could still oust Milosevic if he fails to introduce key
reforms.

TOP SECURITY MEASURES FOR SOCCER MATCH IN BELGRADE. Serbia's
Partizan-Belgrade beat Croatia-Zagreb 1-0 on 23 July in the
qualifying round of the European Champions' Cup. Police
reinforcements arrived to control crowds for the sold-out match.
Some Serbs in the crowds called the Croats "fascists," but the game
took place without serious incident. Ljubisa Tumbakovic, the Serbian
coach, praised the Croatian team's performance. The contest marked
the first time that major Serbian and Croatian teams have played
each other on former Yugoslav territory since 1991. Partizan will
play Croatia again in Zagreb in a week's time. Soccer matches
between top Serbian and Croatian teams have been highly politicized
since the communist era.

U.S. SLAMS SERBIAN MEDIA POLICY. A State Department spokesman
said in Washington on 23 July that Serbia's "practice of restricting
the operation of radio and television stations is a step backward in
the process of democratization and further delays Serbia's
integration into the international community." In Belgrade, a group
specializing in the rights of independent media said the Serbian
authorities have shut down 55 independent radio or TV stations
since the start of the year. The Milosevic government has been
cracking down on the independent electronic media in the runup to
the Serbian elections slated for September. But in Podgorica, the
Montenegrin government on 23 July signed several agreements with
independent radio and TV stations, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported from the Montenegrin capital.

BOMB DESTROYS UN VEHICLE IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. UN spokesmen
said in Tuzla on 24 July that a bomb blew up a UN car in Bratunac,
near Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia. Americans working for the UN
police force were sleeping nearby. This is the latest in a series of
almost daily incidents against international personnel on Bosnian
Serb territory since NATO's intervention against indicted war
criminals on 10 July. UN and NATO spokesmen maintain that there is
no evidence to show that the incidents are part of any organized
campaign. But in New York on 23 July, the UN Security Council
warned Bosnian Serb leaders against violent attacks on peacekeepers
and police. Meanwhile in Brussels, countries participating in an
international aid donors' conference pledged $1.2 billion for
reconstruction in Bosnia by the end of the year. Speakers stressed
that money will go only to those working to implement the Dayton
agreements.

NEWS FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. In Rome on 23 July, U.S.
Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson called on all Western countries
to support Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic against
Radovan Karadzic and his loyalists. In New York, UN officials
announced that U.S. diplomat William Walker will replace Gen.
Jacques Klein as the UN's chief administrator in eastern Slavonia. In
Zagreb, Croatian Health Minister Andrija Hebrang said he and local
Serbs reached agreement on a transition plan to integrate Serbian
staff into the Croatian health system at the Vukovar hospital. Pre-
war Croatian director Vesna Bosanac will return to her post by 15
October. The hospital has strong symbolic importance for both Croats
and Serbs dating from the Serbian siege of Vukovar in 1991.

ROMANIAN-IMF TALKS. Poul Thomsen, the IMF chief negotiator for
Romania, met with Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea in Bucharest on 23
July to discuss the implementation of the agreement reached with
the IMF in April. The IMF is to decide in August whether to release
the second installment of a $430 million standby loan. Thompsen
refused to make any statement to the press, saying only that the
discussions will continue, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He
will meet with Ciorbea again on 28 July. Government spokesman
Eugen Serbanescu said the IMF team will be meeting representatives
of economic ministries, the National Bank, and the State Property
Fund to review future fiscal and monetary policy. Meanwhile, the
Council of Europe's Social Development Fund announced on 23 July
that it will provide a $ 33.8 million loan for building orphanages and
accommodation for abandoned children in Romania.

HUNGARIAN CONSULATE REOPENS IN CLUJ. The Hungarian consulate
in Cluj, which was closed by communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in
1988, was reopened on 23 July. The ceremony was attended by
Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs and his Romanian
counterpart, Adrian Severin, an RFE/RL correspondent in Cluj
reported. Kovacs said the occasion marks the "end of the epoch of
artificial incitement to inter-ethnic conflict." Severin said it showed a
"return to normalcy." Gheorghe Funar, the extreme nationalist mayor
of Cluj, boycotted the ceremony and announced that the local council
is on vacation and has "more important priorities" than finding a
location for the consulate, which is using temporary premises. Funar
also said the hoisting of the Hungarian flag outside the consulate
would infringe on the Romanian constitution. Severin responded by
saying foreign policy in not made by local mayors.

BILINGUAL SIGNS REINSTALLED IN TARGU MURES. The bilingual
Hungarian-Romanian signs recently dismantled in Targu Mures (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 21 July 1997) were reinstalled on 23 July on the
order of Mayor Imre Fodor, despite the opposition of the local prefect
Dorin Florea. Florea was overruled by the government's secretary,
Remus Opris, who said there was no need for the local council to
approve the move. Opris said ethnic Hungarians make up 52 percent
of the town's population, far more than the 20 percent stipulated in
the government ordinance allowing bilingual signs. The anti-
Hungarian "Romanian Cradle" organization, which painted over the
bilingual signs in the colors of the Romanian flag, protested the
decision. The Party of Romanian National Unity, the chauvinist
Greater Romania Party, and the Party of Social Democracy in Romania
are collecting signatures in support of Fodor's dismissal.

ROMANIAN LIBERAL PARTIES CONTINUE TO FIGHT. The Bucharest
municipal tribunal on 23 July ruled against the Alexandru Popovici
wing of the National Liberal Party-Democratic Convention (PNL-CD),
which contested the merger in June of the party's Nicolae Cerveni
wing with the Liberal Party '93. The new Liberal Party claims it is a
member of the Democratic Convention, but Popovici says the PNL-CD
has "vanished from political life" because the ministers representing
the party in the government have all joined the National Liberal
Party, according to the private television station Antena 1.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT OPPOSES LUSTRATION LAW. Petar Stoyanov
has said it is "too late" for Bulgaria to pass a law designed to ban
former leading communist officials from holding positions in the
state administration, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported. In a
statement released by the presidential office on 23 July, Stoyanov
said such a law should have been passed after the collapse of
communism in 1989 for it to have had the right effect. At present,
the law would no longer "have a stimulative effect for Bulgaria, nor
would it have a healing effect on the country's society, which has
embarked on the road of the reforms needed to overcome its crisis,"
Stoyanov noted. In other news, the IMF on 23 July approved the
release of a $130 million installment of a $ 510 million standby
agreement aimed at cementing the country's economic reforms,
Reuters reported.

BULGARIA SEEKS TO DISPEL RUMORS OF POPE ASSASSINATION
ATTEMPT. Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaikov told a press
conference in Sofia on 23 July that Foreign Minister Nadezhda
Mihailova and Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev have sent a letter to
the German authorities asking them to cooperate in dispelling rumors
about the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. The
German daily "Bild" recently wrote that East German intelligence files
show Bulgaria's communist secret services were involved in the
attempt. According to "Bild," a former officer of the East German
security service (Stasi) told an Italian magistrate in April that the
Bulgarian secret service asked the Stasi to help deflect suspicion
from Sofia. Vlaikov said that "if there is evidence for Bulgaria's
involvement," those responsible "should be charged." He added that
"the whole truth must come to light" because it affects not just
politicians "but the Bulgarian nation as a whole."

END NOTE

Competitive Enlargement?

by Michael Mihalka

The European Commission recommended on 15 July that the Czech
Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Estonia join Cyprus in
beginning accession talks with the EU. The EU would have preferred
to set its house in order before proceeding with enlargement. But the
8 July announcement of NATO expansion dictated both the timing
and the selection of candidates for the current wave of EU
enlargement.

The EU set three main criteria for beginning accession talks: political,
which meant stable institutions that guarantee democracy, the rule
of law, human rights, and the protection of minorities; economic,
which meant a functioning market economy that can withstand
competitive pressure from other EU countries; and the ability to take
on the obligations of membership--in particular, implementing the
common law ("acquis communitaire") of the EU. Of the 10 Central
European applicants, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland,
and Slovenia were regarded as capable of meeting the criteria in the
mid-term, while Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia
were not. Turkey, which first applied for associate membership in
1963, was again give the cold shoulder.

Of the latter group, only Slovakia was considered to meet the
economic criteria and have the ability to take on the common law.
But it failed to make the first wave because of the instability of its
institutions and shortcomings in the functioning of its democracy.
Vladimir Drozda of the Slovak Social Democratic Party said on 16 July
that Meciar's government has betrayed the historical interests of
Slovakia by proving incapable of guaranteeing integration into NATO
and the EU.

The EU Commission argued that Latvia and Lithuania had met the
political criteria but did not yet have competitive market economies.
In the case of Bulgaria and Romania, the recent changes of
government in both countries meant they were well on their way to
meeting the political criteria. But neither country was judged to have
an economy capable of withstanding international market pressures.
Romanian Minister for European Integration Alexandru Herlea
admitted that his country "cannot afford now to accede to the
European Union." Nevertheless, Bucharest argued that the EU summit
in December in Luxembourg should agree to start accession talks
with all candidate countries and not just those singled out by the
European Commission.

The EU had hoped to resolve its institutional and policy problems
before proceeding with enlargement. At the Amsterdam summit in
June, it failed to do either. Now enlargement will prove the engine
for EU reform.

The small states within the EU had wanted to exclude both Estonia
and Slovenia from the first wave of accession talks to avoid
triggering the institutional reform that would weaken their power.
The Amsterdam summit had called for yet another intergovernment
conference to deal with institutional reform if enlargement led to an
EU composed of more than 20 states. Excluding Estonia and Slovenia
would have left the enlarged EU with 19 members. Unfortunately for
the small states, both Estonia and Slovenia met the criteria. And
perhaps just as important, both had been left out of NATO
enlargement.

NATO had excluded the Baltic States from the first wave of its
enlargement partly because it did not want to antagonize Russia. But
while opposing NATO enlargement, Russia has not raised any
objections to other states joining the EU. On 15 July, Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov said that Russia actively
supported the Baltic States' membership in the EU. The Scandinavian
countries had actively championed their cause with regard to both
NATO and the EU.

Slovenia and Romania had made the short list for NATO enlargement,
having received the support of nine of the 16 members. However,
the U.S. had insisted that the first wave of enlargement be restricted
to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Slovenia was left out of
NATO enlargement partly because of concerns that its military
contribution to NATO would be limited. But in the economic sphere,
Slovenia has been a sterling performer with a GNP per capita almost
on par with that of Greece. The states that had pushed for Slovenia's
NATO candidacy also ensured that it would be in the first wave of EU
enlargement, despite the objections of the smaller states.

By contrast, Romania remains a backward country economically.
Even Romania's own ministers admitted that Romania was more
qualified to join NATO than the EU. The proportion of the labor force
in the agricultural sector, some 24 percent, is a good indicator of
Romanian economic backwardness. Corresponding figures for Austria,
the Czech Republic, and Hungary are 8 percent, 11 percent, and 15
percent, respectively. According to the World Bank, Romanian GNP
per capita has not increased since 1970.

With some 27 percent of its labor force in agriculture, Poland will
bring a backward agricultural sector into the EU. Some studies have
suggested that extending membership to Poland and other Central
European states could double the amount of money that the EU pays
for agricultural support through its Common Agricultural Policy. In
addition, the EU will need to rethink its so-called structural funds,
which go to poorer areas within the EU. Germany has insisted that
those funds not be increased, while Spain is demanding that they not
be cut. Since the prospective new members are all poorer than
current ones, funds will have to be redistributed.

The author teaches at the George C. Marshall European Center for
Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.





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