For the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, 2011 presents interesting challenges. As the European Union takes a new tack, the region’s individual nations will need to consolidate economic growth face electoral challenges in an effort to ensure political stability, lately under siege as a result of the implementation of austerity measures that characterized 2010.
Soon after ouster and execution of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian and Hungarian residents of the city Târgu Mures clashed. The ethnic fighting was the worst in the immediate post-Berlin Wall period. Since then, the city has become something of a Romanian bastion, with ethnic Hungarians moving away in droves. Despite peaceful co-existence, palpable tension remains. While the two sides intermingle, they’re hardly united. . It’s a 20-year-old wound that won’t go away.
In 1716, English aristocrat Montagu joined her husband in Istanbul after he was appointed ambassador. Afriend to Pope and Addison, she used her literary gifts to chronicle her Ottoman Empire stay, observing customs while studying medical techniques that helped bring Turkish smallpox treatments to the West. Here are excerpts from letters contained in the book “Embassy to Constantinople: The Travels of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu”.
The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius played an important role in Tolstoy’s landmark epic “War and Peace,” but mostly a post-Napoleonic piece of the new Russian empire. Later, its history overlapped with that of Poland. Now, it’s a thriving, independent Baltic city whose Baroque and neoclassical roots, lauded by UNESCO, coexist with an longstanding appreciation of pop culture.
What are today’s young Europeans’ favourite consumer goods? Surveys by market research agency Millward Brown shows that Eastern European youngsters prefer more traditional means of communication, consume less, play a lot of sport and mainly travel to learn about new places. In the West, on the other hand, clothing brands must offer more than just apparel and young couples have a dualist approach to life.
Unemployment is the main problem facing young people born after the fall of the Communist regimes. Setting up one’s own business is an alternative to emigration. But creativity and risk propensity are not enough, because an adequate financial system to support enterprise is lacking. Hence there is a need for committed policies able to put in place...
The eurozone sovereign debt crisis that is transforming the politicsof Europe throws up a threefold challenge. The crisis tests the possibility to sustain a successful European currency union on the basis of rule-based but essentially voluntary macroeconomic cooperation of its constituent member states.
The recent announcement that the threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere of our planet had been exceeded went virtually unnoticed. In a Hollywood film, this kind of news might have roused world public opinion while heads of state gathered at emergency summits. Instead it fell on deaf ears, overshadowed by news of the financial crisis or tensions between military powers.
The Macedonia of nationalist-leaning Prime Minister Nikola Gurevski is determined to carve a modern place by reworking ancient history. It has anointed Alexander the Great as a hero and made him the centerpiece in the remaking of the national capital of Skopje. As a result, the former Yugoslav republic now has two enemies: it’s own Albanian minority and Athens. Suddenly, European membership and national stability seem further away than ever.
Svetlana Broz, granddaughter of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, has dedicated her adult life to celebrating the just and the righteous, particularly in Sarajevo. Overcoming fierce opposition, she published an account of those who survived 1990s discrimination, war and ethnic cleansing. She hopes that instructing the young in the meaning of moral courage can overcome the scourge of nationalism and ethnic division.
An unprecedented alliance of students, intellectuals and blue-collar forces led to the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000. . The unlikely coalition was determined to right a wrong. Many at the time were hopeful about the future of the new Serbia. Though much of that decade-old enthusiasm has waned, the country is nonetheless taking small but important steps toward becoming a part of the European Union.
Central and Eastern Europe was among the worst-hit regions at the height of the globalfinancial crisis. Following a downturn that saw the Baltic States and Ukraine contract by nearly a quarter, the states of the region are gradually making their way back toward stability while plotting new banking models.
In recent months centraland Eastern European economies have continued to demonstrate encouraging signs, both in terms of real output (increased industrial production as well as rising consumer spending and investment) and financial variables (the stabilizing of exchange rates and country risk rates).
Fifteenth-century Berdychiv, the birthplace of Soviet-era writer Vassily Grossman, was a prominent Russian Jewish city that once riveled Black Sea Odessa in commercial reach and spiritual importance. But a World War II Nazi slaughter decimated its Jewish population, overturning a noble legacy and pushing it into Soviet grey. . Now a Ukrainian city, it struggles to reclaim its past.
Bronislaw Komorowski’s victory in the Polish presidential elections gave Civic Platform Party Prime Minister Donald Tusk a major boost. Stability appears to be the mantra of the Polish population. At the same time, liberal economists who seek streamlining are being beaten back by an unwillingness to abandon state perks. With parliamentary elections looming in 2011, Tusk plays along with the public mood. . The next big question is whether the EU will continue donating precious subsidies.