Vol. 1, No. 89, 6 August1997
HUNGARIAN MILITARY TO BECOME PROFESSIONAL. Defense Minister
Gyoergy Keleti said on 5 August that at Prime Minister Gyula Horn's
request, his ministry will work out a long-term project to establish a
professional army, Hungarian media reported. Professional soldiers
will receive an average salary increase of 23.5 percent next year, and
mandatory military service will cease within eight to 10 years. A
decision on fighter aircraft purchases will be made after upcoming
NATO negotiations. Some 300 billion forints ($1.55 billion) have been
earmarked for buying 30 fighter jets, together with weaponry and
the necessary ground instruments.
ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER ENDS TRANSYLVANIAN TOUR.
Ending a tour of Transylvania on 5 August, Minister of Interior Gavril
Dejeu told a press conference that he found inter-ethnic Romanian-
Hungarian relations to be "reasonable." But he complained that
Romanian ethnics living in the countryside in counties with a
Hungarian majority are being subjected to "inadmissible efforts" of
assimilation, Radio Bucharest reported on 6 August.
EUROPEAN UNION URGES IMPROVEMENT OF TREATMENT OF ROMAS
IN ROMANIA. A European Commission official on 5 August urged
Romania and other Central and Eastern European countries to crack
down on discrimination and violence against their Roma minorities,
the media reported on the same day. Steffen Skovmand, a member of
the European Commission's delegation in Romania, said in a news
conference that the situation of the Roma is "still a weak point" in
Romania's record of respect of human rights and in the rest of the
region. Roma rights activist Nicolae Gheorghe told reporters that
Roma are subject to harassment and aggression in Central and
Eastern Europe. He cited violence against Roma by "skinhead" youth
gangs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, police brutality against
them in Romania and Bulgaria, and labor and education
discrimination in Hungary.
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