Coleridge declares that a man cannot have a good conscience who refuses apple dumplings, and I confess that I am of the same opinion. - Charles Lamb
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 197, Part II, 8 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 197, Part II, 8 October 1999

A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern
Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by the
staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I covers Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed
simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of RFE/RL
Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's Web
site: http://www.rferl.org/newsline

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Headlines, Part II

* BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT GIVES CABINET THREE MONTHS TO IMPROVE
RECORD

* SLOVAKIA'S MECIAR RESUMES PUBLIC RALLIES

* SERBIAN OPPOSITION AGREES ON EARLY ELECTION TERMS

End Note: TEN YEARS ON: ECONOMIC VISION STILL NOT A REALITY
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT GIVES CABINET THREE MONTHS TO IMPROVE
RECORD. At a 7 October cabinet session, Alyaksandr Lukashenka
harshly criticized the government for its "unsystematic
approach to economic policy as well as inconsistency and
half-heartedness in dealing with key socio-economic issues,"
Belapan reported. According to the president, in the first
eight months of this year Belarus failed to meet all targets
in all key socio-economic spheres except for industrial
output, consumer goods output, housing construction, and
consumer services. "Twenty one percent of industrial
enterprises have no working capital, almost 36 percent have
working capitals below the [required] norm. In essence, these
enterprises have no future," Belarusian Television quoted
Lukashenka as saying. Lukashenka gave the cabinet three
months to improve its record. JM

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT URGES BELARUS TO ENTER DEMOCRATIC PATH.
The European Parliament on 7 October adopted a resolution
urging Minsk to embark on a path of democratic political and
economic reforms and to observe European human rights
standards. The resolution appeals to the Belarusian
authorities to clarify the recent disappearance of prominent
Belarusian oppositionists and guarantee freedom of the press
and freedom of expression. It also calls on Lukashenka to
allow free and fair presidential elections in 1999 and
parliamentary elections in 2000. The European Parliament also
stressed that it ceased to recognize Lukashenka's
presidential powers after 20 July 1999. JM

UKRAINE, UZBEKISTAN SIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION DEAL. On 7
October in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his
Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, signed an agreement on
economic cooperation for the period 1999-2008, Interfax
reported. Ukraine and Uzbekistan expect to increase their
trade turnover by 20 percent this year. Uzbekistan confirmed
its intention to export cotton in exchange for Ukrainian
industrial products, in particular, ferrous alloys and steel.
At a news conference the same day, Kuchma and Karimov
expressed their concern over Russia's reluctance to sign a
package of documents related to the creation of a CIS free
trade zone as of 1 January 2001. JM

TALLINN CITY APPROVES BUDGET REDUCTION. Meeting for the last
time before the 17 October local elections, the Tallinn City
Council on 7 October approved a 101.8 million kroons ($7
million) reduction in its 1999 budget. The large opposition
faction of the Reform Party abstained, saying the cuts are
not large enough. The party's Tallinn mayoral candidate, Rein
Voog, commented that "the Tallinn budget deficit at the end
of the year could reach 30 million kroons, if not more,"
adding that "Tallinn is on the verge of a financial
disaster," "Postimees" reported. Before the cut, the 1999
Tallinn budget stood at 2.36 billion kroons. MH

LITHUANIANS TRUST PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION PARTIES AHEAD. In a
poll released by Baltijos Tyrimai/Gallup released on 7
October, Lithuanians expressed trust in the presidency more
than in any government institution. The presidency held the
trust of 72 percent of respondents, followed by the state
government (45 percent) and local government (44 percent).
Only 20 percent expressed confidence in the parliament. The
same poll also revealed that the opposition Center Union
continues to top the popularity ratings, with 15.8 percent
support. It is followed by the leftist opposition Lithuanian
Democratic Labor Party (8.7 percent) and the ruling
Conservative Party (7.8 percent). MH

POLISH PARLIAMENT TO WORK ON PROPERTY RESTITUTION BILL. The
parliament on 7 October rejected an opposition Polish Peasant
Party (PSL) motion to hold a referendum on property
restitution. It then voted against another motion rejecting
the government-prepared property restitution bill in the
first reading and sent it to a parliamentary committee for
consideration. Under the proposed bill, Polish citizens
seeking compensation for property seized by the communist
regime from 1939-1962 can obtain 50 percent of those assets
in either the property itself or in shares in privatized
enterprises. The PSL has announced it will launch a petition
drive for a referendum on the issue. No fewer than 500,000
citizens must sign such a petition. JM

POLAND REJECTS RUSSIAN ALLEGATION OF SUPPORTING CHECHNYA.
Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Pawel Dobrowolski on 7
October rejected Russian accusations that Poland supports
"unconstitutional forces in the North Caucasus." Dobrowolski
said Poland shares the EU's view on the Chechnya conflict.
Dobrowolski was responding to comment by his Russian
counterpart, Vladimir Rakhmanin, who had said the same day
that Poland "gave shelter to the so-called representatives
from the Republic of Ichkeria, the Poland-Chechnya
committees, and similar structures," according to ITAR-TASS.
JM

CZECH, SLOVAK PREMIERS PLEDGE TO COMPLETE FEDERAL PROPERTY
DIVISION. Prime Minster Milos Zeman and visiting Slovak
Premier Mikulas Dzurinda pledged in a joint statement on 7
October to complete the division of former federal property
by 24 November, TASR and CTK reported. As an immediate step
toward that end, they agreed on an exchange of shares in the
Czech Komercni banka and the Slovak Vseobecna uverova banka.
An accord on that exchange is to be signed by the heads of
the two countries' National Property Funds on 8 October.
Zeman and Dzurinda said they want to intensify cooperation in
order to promote both their countries' integration into the
EU. MS

CZECHS ASK WHEN EU TALKS WILL END. Czech Foreign Minister Jan
Kavan told Reuters on 7 October that the Czech Republic is
urging the EU to set a target date for concluding accession
talks with the leading candidates. Kavan spoke after a
meeting with EU commissioner for enlargement Guenter
Verheugen. He said that a target date "will motivate people
in the candidate countries" as well as provide "a strong
argument against the Euro-skeptics", who believe the EU is
"just paying lip service to enlargement." Verheugen told
journalists that "we really want the Czech Republic to become
a member as soon as possible." MS

EU OFFICIAL SAYS ROMA 'NOT SLOVAK PROBLEM.' Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe Chairman Lord Russell-
Johnston on 7 October told journalists in Bratislava that the
Council of Europe "can and must" play "a significant role" in
solving the Romany problem because the problem is "not
Slovakia's, but Europe's." He said finding a solution "will
not be easy and will demand a great deal of money, patience,
and time," CTK and SITA reported. Russell-Johnston met with
President Rudolf Schuster and parliamentary chairman Jozef
Migas. He said the Romany problem will not play a significant
role in Slovakia's accession to the EU and added that
Bratislava "has already entered the corridor to the EU." MS

SLOVAKIA'S MECIAR RESUMES PUBLIC RALLIES. Former Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar told a cheering crowd of supporters
in Banska Bystrica on 7 October that early elections will be
held "by 2000 at the latest." He said disaffection will
spread and return to power his Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia. After returning to head the government, he said, he
will immediately resume the construction of highways and
housing. "There is money," he said, "but one has to know how
to get it," SITA and CTK reported. This was Meciar's first
rally since August 1998. MS

HUNGARY DOWNPLAYS RECONCILIATION PARK CONTROVERSY. Hungarian
Foreign Ministry State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth told National
TV on 7 October that Romanian nationalists who heckled a
Hungarian minister and other speakers in the Romanian town of
Arad (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and 7 October 1999) have not
harmed bilateral ties. He said that the attempts by several
dozen to disrupt the ceremony was not a "diplomatic affair"
but rather a "psychiatric problem." Hungary is grateful to
the Romanian government for returning the statue of the
executed generals to the Hungarian community, Nemeth said.
However, he blamed local police for failing to keep
demonstrators at an appropriate distance. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN OPPOSITION AGREES ON EARLY ELECTION TERMS.
Representatives of the main opposition parties agreed in
Belgrade on 7 October on conditions for early elections. They
will finalize their decisions as early as 14 October and send
their conditions to the government for its agreement. The
demands include a revision of the media and election laws.
The opposition wants a proportional voting system, revised
voting lists, and the presence of foreign and domestic poll
watchers. The opposition agreed not to form a coalition with
any of the parties currently in the government, an aide to
the Serbian Renewal Movement's leader Vuk Draskovic noted. A
Democratic Party spokesman called the agreement the "best
contribution to the fight against [Yugoslav President
Slobodan] Milosevic's regime," Reuters reported. The EU has
recently placed considerable pressure on the opposition to
unite and oust Milosevic. EU foreign ministers have invited
32 opposition leaders to a meeting in Luxembourg on 11
October, the Frankfurt-based Serbian daily "Vesti" reported
on 7 October. PM

PROTESTS CONTINUE IN SERBIA. A total of 40,000 people turned
out in 15 municipalities on 7 October to demand Milosevic's
resignation. The demonstrations passed without incident but
were far smaller than the organizers in the opposition
Alliance for Change had hoped. The opposition nonetheless
intends to continue the daily protests, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported on 8 October. PM

SERBIAN REGIME DENIES ROLE IN DRASKOVIC ACCIDENT. Ivica
Dacic, who is a spokesman for Milosevic's Socialist Party of
Serbia (SPS), said in Belgrade on 7 October that the recent
mysterious traffic accident involving Draskovic is a "police
matter" without any political significance (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 7 October 1999). Dacic told reporters that they
should direct questions about any "assassination attempt on
Vuk to those who had a motive to carry one out, and that is
not the Socialist Party." AP reported that "the accident has
prompted a furious Draskovic to radicalize his so far
relatively moderate stance toward Milosevic's regime and
pledge to crush it." PM

OFFICIAL'S DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST SERBIAN OPPOSITION
POSTPONED. Belgrade Judge Sladjana Bojovic has postponed
until 23 November a defamation case against 11 opposition
leaders to "give them more time to prepare their defense." An
opposition lawyer told Reuters on 7 October that he expects
the case to be dismissed. Two days earlier, Serbian Deputy
Premier Milovan Bojic filed suit against 11 leaders of the
Alliance for Change (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 October 1999).
Bojic complained that he had been ridiculed at a mock trial
held at a Belgrade demonstration. PM

ETHNIC ALBANIANS DEMAND ACCESS TO MITROVICA MINES. Some 1,000
ethnic Albanian miners took part in a protest at the Stari
Trg precious metals mine near Mitrovica on 7 October, AP
reported. They want to return to their jobs in the mine,
which KFOR took over in June. An unspecified number of Serbs
continue to work there to keep equipment functioning. Xhafer
Nuli, president of the Independent Miners' Union, told the
protesters: "We want to live from our work and from our sweat
and by our own wages, we don't want to live from humanitarian
aid. " Another miner said: "I gave more than 20 years of my
life in this mine and for it, so we are ready even to die for
our mine. We have to feed our families." Meanwhile, 1,500
ethnic Albanians protested outside the UN offices in
Mitrovica, demanding access to schools and the hospital in
the northern part of the city, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. FS

REINHARDT SAYS HE HAS NO IMMEDIATE SOLUTION FOR MITROVICA.
German General Klaus Reinhardt told AP on 7 October that "I
think it would be very arrogant...to come up and offer a
solution [to the conflict between ethnic Serbs and Albanians
over Mitrovica].... I cannot offer a solution right now,
which will work in the future." Reinhardt takes over command
of KFOR from General Sir Mike Jackson on 8 October, marking a
change of the KFOR command from NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction
Corps to Allied Land Forces Central Europe. Reinhardt
stressed that "I'm here to help in Kosova...to rebuild for a
better future, and this is the mission I have." FS

KFOR ARRESTS SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINAL. A KFOR spokesman told AP
that Dutch and German KFOR troops arrested a war crimes
suspect in Prizren on 7 October. The spokesman identified
neither the man nor his nationality. The International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has indicted the
suspect on charges of murder and other atrocities committed
in the Rahovec area between April and June. FS

WORLD BANK APPROVES $60 MILLION FOR KOSOVA RECONSTRUCTION.
World Bank officials told dpa in Washington on 7 October that
the bank's executive board has approved $60 million over the
next 18 months to support reconstruction and economic
recovery in Kosova. The official added that the bank will
coordinate international aid with the European Commission and
other donors, provide economic policy advice to the UN
mission and local authorities, and assist with project design
in the reconstruction effort. He underlined that the World
Bank itself will provide direct limited financial aid on "a
highly selective basis." FS

U.K. CALLS FOR CRACKDOWN ON KOSOVA MAFIAS. A Foreign Office
spokesman said in London on 7 October that failure to deal
with organized crime in Kosova could undermine efforts aimed
at promoting democracy and stability. He added that Foreign
Secretary Robin Cook will present concrete proposals in
Luxembourg aimed at combating mafia-like structures in the
province. PM

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT SETS UP ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION. The
government on 7 October set up a commission charged with
fighting corruption "at all government levels." It issued a
statement saying that the commission will be headed by Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Government Coordination Ilir
Meta and include the ministers of finance, public order,
justice, and economy, dpa reported. The commission will
receive foreign-expert advice from the Friends of Albania, a
group of foreign donors and diplomats sponsored by the OSCE.
The OSCE office in Tirana issued a statement saying that the
commission is "indispensable for Albania to participate fully
in and benefit from the evolving aspects of the Stability
Pact in Southeast Europe." FS

OSCE CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF ATTACK ON MUSLIM IN
SREBRENICA. A spokesman for the OSCE said in Sarajevo on 7
October that his organization demands a "swift and credible
investigation" by the Srebrenica authorities and Republika
Srpska police into the stabbing of a Muslim official in the
Srebrenica municipal building the previous day, Reuters
reported. Two masked men beat and stabbed Munib Hasanovic,
who works for the government of the formerly mainly Muslim
town, which fell to Serbian forces in July 1995. A
spokeswoman for the international community's Wolfgang
Petritsch said that Hasanovic recently received death threats
but there is no "evidence that this has a political
background," AP reported. Some Muslim officials work three
days a week in Srebrenica but continue to live with their
families on Muslim-controlled territory. PM

CROATIAN SERBS SEEK POLITICAL GUARANTEES. Milorad Pupovac,
who is a political leader of Croatia's small Serbian
minority, said in Zagreb on 7 October that representatives of
the Serbian community have written to top government and
opposition officials asking them to clarify their respective
stands on the Serbs' political rights. Pupovac stressed that
the Serbs will not accept any reduction in the rights that
current legislation guarantees them, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. PM

ROMANIAN DEPUTY PREMIER SAYS NO DECISION TAKEN ON ARAD
HUNGARIAN MONUMENT. Deputy Premier Valeriu Stoica told
journalists on 7 October that there is "futile and
tendentious agitation" over the monument honoring the 13
Hungarian generals executed in 1849. Stoica said the
government's decision to set up a "park of historical
reconciliation" in Arad does not specify which monuments are
to be displayed there. Whether the monument honoring the
generals is included, he said, depends "on the
recommendations that will be made by architects and artists."
MS

POLL CONFIRMS ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADS THE FIELD. An opinion
poll conducted by Metromedia Transilvania confirms that the
PDSR is well ahead in party preferences, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported on 7 October. The PDSR received 37 percent
backing. That is more than the combined support for all
members of the ruling coalition: Democratic Convention of
Romania (22 percent), the Democratic Party (8 percent) and
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (5 percent).
The opposition Alliance for Romania (APR) received 16 percent
and the Greater Romania Party (PRM) 7 percent. PDSR chairman
Ion Iliescu is leading the field among presidential
candidates (34 percent), followed by APR chairman Teodor
Melescanu (21 percent), incumbent President Emil
Constantinescu (17 percent), PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor
(7 percent), and former Premier Theodor Stolojan and
Democratic Party leader Petre Roman (5 percent each). MS

MOLDOVA, RUSSIA AGREE ON BARTER PAYMENT FOR GAS DELIVERIES.
Moldova will supply agricultural produce to Russia in part
payment for Russian gas deliveries, ITAR-TASS reported on 7
October. The agreement was concluded in Chisinau by experts
from the two countries' Agriculture Ministries. Moldova is to
deliver goods worth $100 million. Its debt for Russian gas
deliveries totals $700 million. MS

BULGARIAN MAYORAL CANDIDATE BADLY BEATEN. Vesselin Dinkov,
Varna regional governor and the Union of Democratic Forces'
(SDS) mayoral candidate in the 16 October local elections,
was badly beaten in front of his house on 6 October, BTA
reported the next day, citing several media reports.
According to "Trud," the attack was an assassination attempt
carried out "by the mafia, which has declared war on the
state." The same daily reported that the incumbent Socialist
Party mayor of one of the districts in the town of Pernik has
received death threats by telephone and his office has been
burgled. In Bourgas, red paint has been splashed on the
billboards of an independent candidate. And "24 Chasa" and
"Demokratsiya" reported on 6 October that three blasts,
believed to aim at intimidating the SDS mayoral candidate,
occurred in Devin. MS

END NOTE

TEN YEARS ON: ECONOMIC VISION STILL NOT A REALITY

By Breffni O'Rourke

	Visions, by their very nature, are hard to sustain. When
the Berlin Wall fell 10 years ago, heralding a new era in
Europe, much of the world had a common vision: namely, that
the countries of the crumbling Marxist sphere would join the
Western community in enjoying political freedoms and economic
prosperity based on market mechanisms.
	During the following decade, the dream of democracy has
been largely fulfilled--with some exceptions--in a vast arc
of territory stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
	Economic well-being, however, has proved more elusive,
and the revitalization of Central and Eastern Europe is still
an unfinished story. The transition to market economies has
not been easy, and the relative success or lack of success of
individual countries reflects a mix of complicated factors.
	Only Poland among the transition states has lifted its
economic prosperity well above the level of 1989. Polish per
capita incomes this year are expected to reach about 130
percent of 1989 levels. At the other end of the spectrum,
Ukraine, with a stalled reform process, has seen people's
incomes plummet to half the levels of 1989.
	Because Poland opted for radical reforms, the simple
conclusion might be that the so-called "big bang" method
produces the best results, despite its high social costs.
Hungary, too, has successfully opted for a radical course,
but Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have income
levels equal to or greater than that of Hungary--about 100
percent of their 1989 levels--and have chosen more gradualist
paths.
	A senior economist with the Paris-based Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Val Koromzay,
told RFE/RL that the real lesson of the last decade lies not
in a choice between big bang or gradualism. Rather, the
lesson is that the essential factor is coherent reform. He
says time has been reasonably forgiving of countries that
have been slower or faster. Those that got into trouble did
so because they backtracked away from reform, owing to
political opposition or perceived hardship.
	Poland, Koromzay argued, was "always moving in the same
direction and despite numerous changes of government, I think
one can see clearly a thread of continuity, a direction."
	Romania, by contrast, has lacked this sense of purpose,
and its political will has faded, Koromzay argued. Nervous
governments have sought to spare the population the pain of
restructuring, he noted, but instead they have condemned the
people to the continuation of miserable living standards with
little prospect of improvement.
	"In Romania from the beginning there was this terrible
concern about hardships that transition would cause," he
commented. "Every time they came to a hard decision, for
instance on tightening budget constraints on enterprises, too
often they blinked. And that in turn...made their macro-
economic policies incoherent."
	With regard to Bulgaria, Koromzay said that it wasted
the early years of transition under non-reformist
governments. Its industrial production is still one-third
less than it was in 1989, but recently there has been fresh
momentum under reformist Prime Minister Ivan Kostov. Koromzay
noted that this is encouraging: Bulgaria, he commented, "did
not get its act together for a number of years. But it shows
on the one hand how costly it is to delay, but on the other
hand that if you can get your act together even at a rather
late date, the possibilities for breaking out of a very bad
situation continue to exist."
	Progress across the transition region is needed soon,
because after a decade of profound change, people are weary.
In the Czech Republic, opinion polls show growing support for
the Communists among frustrated voters. Similarly in eastern
Germany, recent state elections show strong support for the
former Communists. And in Poland, populist-nationalist trends
opposed to reform are evident.
	Another expert in the region's transition process,
Giovanni Cornia of the United Nations University in Helsinki,
told RFE/RL that democracy "with falling incomes and rising
mortality is not a particularly attractive type of
democracy."
	Cornia also advanced a theory to explain, at least in
part, why some countries have done better than others: the
countries that are succeeding today are those that have a
better-developed institutional framework, dating in part from
before the communist era. In other words, those countries of
Central Europe that were traditionally more institutionally
advanced than, say, their neighbors in the Balkans, are the
ones that will lead the race back into the market economy
today.
	That historical advantage has also helped countries like
Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic gain places as front-
runners for membership of an expanded European Union. In
turn, Cornia says, the hope of entering the EU has been a
powerful motivation.

The author is a Prague-based RFE/RL correspondent.
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