Much has happened in the last few weeks on the Romanian political scene. The ruling coalition made up of the National Liberal Party and the Democratic Party, which won the elections in 2004, no longer works. Liberal Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu is at open war with the president of Romania, Traian Basescu. Things seem to be spiralling out of control. The president, who is the most popular politician in Romania is the subject of an impeachment procedure supported by the opposition and his former liberal allies. One of the best foreign ministers Romania has ever had, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu fell victim to the conflict between the Prime Minister and the president. The Romanians watch the circus helplessly.
"On behalf of the government, as Prime Minister, I feel bound to say that Romania has priorities resulting from our EU membership and we have to fulfil our obligations. Our interest is to fully benefit from EU membership, but all this while we have been drawn into political games, which are useless to the citizens."
"There is the possibility that only a few people will benefit from Romania's EU integration. The economic figures like the GDP and the growth rate may look good, but the result may be an extreme polarisation of the Romanian society between the very few rich who will continue to take advantage of EU integration and the poor majority who will continue to be poor."
In late December 2006, president Basescu appeared before Parliament and condemned communism. The statement acted like a religious exorcism. The reaction was so violent that the only conclusion would be that that there are still plenty of communists in Romania's parliament. Then the president accused politicians of passing legislation for criminal groups of interests around them. The result? The entire political class with the exception of the Democratic Party rallied to impeach the president.
Justice has given very faint signals that it's started working and all that thanks to the efforts made by Minister of Justice Monica Macovei to reform the judiciary and combat corruption. We can say we owe EU membership to her. But now many feel threatened that so that the opposition tabled a simple motion against her, which passed the Senate. She's under a lot of pressure, and she's pretty much alone in her fight. It's clear that the Romanians want to move forward, but the majority of the Romanian political class are defying a whole nation, preoccupied exclusively by their own interests. The people are not disappointed, they are angry.Listen to the report:
It's a fact of life... and death. Service in the military always carries the risk of dying in battle. But recruits in the Russian army face an additional risk. They stand a chance of dying at the hands of older conscripts. Abusive treatment of army recruits in Russia is widespread - with hazing blamed for hundreds of suicides and... thousands of desertions each year. From Moscow, Charles Maynes offers this look at draft dodging Russian style.
Polish military intelligence disbanded last year was involved in illegal activities and exerted illegitimate influence on Polish public life after the fall of communism, according to a just published government report. Polish Radio's Joanna Najfeld reports.
The French presidential elections are two months away, but newspapers and magazines are already trying to say who will win…. Opinion polls abound- almost one a day, pitting the front runners, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royale against others who are not even on the ballot yet. The official list of candidates won't be firmed up until the end of March. Sarah Elzas looks at the phenomenon of opinion polls that appear constantly on the front pages of French newspapers and magazines.
It may be fairly well-known that the Swedish language thrives in neighbouring country, Finland, where more than 5 per cent of the population speaks it as their mother tongue. But while they are really only a "linguistic" minority, efforts are being stepped up to recognise people with a Swedish background in another nearby nation....Estonia. It too has a long common history with Sweden, and now a Cultural Council's been set up there to make full use of the "Estonian-Swedes" cultural autonomy rights. Tom McAlinden has more...
The internet is such a huge part of our lives it's hard to imagine a time before it existed. But it is of course a relatively new phenomenon. In Prague this month they are marking the 15th anniversary of the day the Czechs officially hooked up to the net - few would have imagined in 1992 just how big a step they were taking. The man who connected the then Czechoslovakia to the web was Jan Gruntorad. He spoke to Radio Prague's Dita Asiedu.
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