Václav Havel used to say that his life was made up of a number of paradoxes. The life of the Czech Republic in its relationship with China is similar. It appears to follow a tumultuous path, mostly guided by ideological reasoning. The recent "reset" in the relationship with China, carried by left-wing governments, put the economy first but the situation could change in case of political alternation.
China and Hungary seem to live a honeymoon state. Business, as well as political interests, characterizes the current situation. Budapest wants China to consider Hungary as the gateway to Europe, and from Hungary, they can then further expand their presence regionally. Prime Minister Viktor Orban considers relations with China of great importance, while bilateral economic and trade relations are becoming increasingly close: a situation that causes mixed feelings among Hungary's neighbours and inside the EU institutions.
A failed deal, riots, a high death count, an emergency meeting of the European Council, multiple NATO discussions, threats of sanctions - this would be a short summary of the events that have taken place in Ukraine in the past month. And there is a good chance that a new emergency meeting of the European Council will be called in the coming week, because, despite what some people had hoped, the conflict in Ukraine is not settling. On the contrary, it is escalating.
Protests in Ukraine, from Euromaidan to separatists in the East, have been all around the news lately. But who are the people behind the news? Olena Chernova, a lawyer, President of the NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach and one of the many people on Maidan Square, talks about a generational divide and explains the current situation from a citizen's perspective.
The radical right in the coalition, protests in the East of the country, crisis with the sister state Russia: the provisional government has lost control over the situation in Ukraine. Helplessness and a lack of transparency seem to have replaced reconciliation and pacification under Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government.
A few weeks ago, Crimea was annexed by Russia. It followed a regional referendum closely watched by Russian troops on Ukrainian territory. Arnoldas Pranckevičius, External policies adviser of European Parliament President Martin Schultz, went to Ukraine many times on special missions before and during the crisis. In this interview, he sheds light on what it represents for the Europeans.
For many people, Christmas is about buying presents, a tree, decorating the house and eating good food. The picture of chubby Santa from the Coca-Cola commercial is familiar to everyone all over Europe. However, for those who grew up in Eastern Europe, Christmas memories can be very different. So what are the various Christmas traditions in Eastern countries? Thanks to my friends and family I have gathered here some examples of Christmas traditions, menus and customs.
MEP Leonidas Donskis is a Lithuanian philosopher, political commentator and one of the leading human rights and civil liberties advocates at the European Parliament. A member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), he takes part in the European Parliament Committee on Development and Subcommittee on Human Rights, as well as in the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. He kindly accepted to share with us his views on the Lithuanian Presidency, its ambitions and priorities.
Today, Sławomir Mrożek will be buried in Kraków. While he died a month ago, the burial was delayed in waiting for the new section of the (Kraków‘s) Pantheon, in the crypts of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, to be ready. This article will present a short outlook on the recent developments in the domain of Polish Pantheon(s), putting them in their historical, sometimes relatively controversial, perspective.
On 2 April 2013, the Prime Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo will announce the latest and most challenging deal reached between the two nations within the EU-mediated dialogue. Over the past two years, major agreements have been reached in an effort to normalise relations between Serbia and its former province, currently recognised as an independent state by 98 countries. While history is being written, it is important to revisit what has been agreed upon and implemented to date while also reflecting on the way forward to reach a lasting solution for the Kosovo conflict.