As a former president and prime minister, Montenegro’s Milo Djukanovic knows when to stand up and when to duck. The embattled politician recently resigned as prime minister to help facilitate Montenegro’s European Union chances. What he didn’t do was surrender power, which he has jealously guarded for 20 years. He’s betting that a series of carefully orchestrated domestic moves will help his country look better as the EU comes to a decision.
If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to be remembered as a crucial figure in modern Turkish history, he must find a way to soothe the tense relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara. While the Turkish foreign ministry has articulated a plan for a gradual and patient construction of an economic, political and social mosaic that keeps the region intact and at peace, Erdogan's recent rhetorical clashes with Washington, NATO and Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu have sounded alarm bells.
Soon after EU enlargement in 2004, footloose Poles began flooding to Ireland, particularly to Dublin, in search of jobs. Many settled there and have since become an important part of Dublin’s thriving Polish community, which has been almost entirely untouched by integration problems. Many Polish businesses are thriving, particularly in the hair salon industry. The Poles and the Irish get along. Now, Ireland worries not about how many Poles it has, but about keeping them happy.
Though post-Communist Ukraine has come together on many fronts, religion remains a sore spot. President Viktor Yanukovich’s recent failure to acknowledge the country’s Eastern Orthodox faith, appearing instead to favor the Moscow Patriarchate, rekindled lingering hostilities between the two sides. The history of the religious quarrel is centuries old and shows no signs of abating.
The personalities of the two leaders also appear to echo the physiognomy of the two former USSR countries. These two personalities, both incarnations of post-Soviet authoritarianism, have nonetheless led their countries along completely different roads. This is evident from their respective political and electoral systems, which have little or nothing in common. And if Yushchenko’s “orange revolution” has opened the way to a democracy, albeit a fragile one, Lukashenko’s russophile politics too will not remain unassailable for long.
Moldova, Abkhazia, Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Trasdnistria – all crisis zones where the heavy hand of the Kremlin can be felt. The Kremlin appears to be incapable of establishing normal political and economic relations with the neighbouring countries that aspire to democracy. Hence Russian television blames the European Union and has kicked off a violent and aggressive media campaign.
The director of B92 explains how the station managed to resist to the pressures and threats of the Milosevic years by following the path of free expression – which, over the last 17 years, has turned the broadcaster into a movement based on the declaration of human rights. He acknowledges the positive and occasionally decisive role played by international public opinion. It continues along its path and signals that Serbia has not yet become a fully democratic country.
Can a radio station really help a people free themselves from tyranny just by broadcasting independent news? The story of B92, the Slav broadcaster that was set up and that expanded in the time of the Serb dictator and has now become a multimedia mass-media company, shows that such a thing is possible. Subjected to threats and shut down innumerable times, B92 has always risen from its own ashes, like the phoenix...
Finland has finally outgrown its Russian connection and evolved into a thriving, advanced democracy that prizes women in fundamental leadership positions and looks to make living conditions for its children among the best in the world. At the same time, the country struggles when it comes to opening the door to would-be immigrants and still faces a deep and dark demon that won’t go away: alcohol abuse.
The economic activity in the Czech Republic has been picking up since 2002, deriving benefits from structural changes in the economy, a robust inflow of foreign direct investment and last but not least from the country’s entry to the EU. In 2005, the economic growth strengthened to 6%, which ranked the country among the top performers in the region. Even more importantly, the growth proved to be based on healthy foundations.
The events of the 1990s left very deep traces, but since 2000 Western Balkans economies showed a positive turnaround, experiencing a process of rapid integration into world trade. The EU remains the area’s preferred partner and Italy, Austria and Germany its main investors. But the Italy system has some major cards to play and...
The Albanian economy is recovering, but energy supplies are insufficient. Albania has good relations with its neighbour states, notwithstanding inadequate levels of reciprocity to date. As regards Kossovo, there is a need to focus on the creation of an independent state so as to put an end to any hypothesis of a Greater Albania. Ermelinda Meksi, former deputy PM of Albania, speaks to a very special correspondent for east.
The first Civil Society Index produced about Bulgaria provides a harsh picture of the social reality of that country: a disjointed body suffering from macrocephaly with foundations so shaky that little progress can be made. The National Conference has now recommended that...
Freedom and the fundamental rights of the person have once more been thrust into the limelight across the world. As Professor Stefano Rodotà explains in this interview, there can be no globalization of markets without a globalization of rights. And as a long series of incidents has highlighted, the same thing is true in very civil Europe.
You can see it already at the border: Bulgarians are less cheerful than Romanians. They way they walk and talk is marked by the warrior pride of the Slavs and the resigned sadness of the post-Communist era, seasoned with a pinch of black humour. Stalin came down hard here. He demolished villages, deported the rural population, built massive steel mills and kolchoz of which only scraps remain. Outside Sofia, on the other hand...
Like many Italian businessmen, he’s somewhat naïf. He started out producing hosiery and built up a successful company, Filodoro, which he subsequently sold to the American corporation Sara Lee. He made his comeback with the purchase of the Roberta brand and now owns Pompea. Adriano Rodella tells the story of his entrepreneurial adventure which sees him at the top with firms in Italy, Serbia, Tunisia, and offices in half Europe.