To celebrate Europe Day, euronews took over a room at the European Council in Brussels, which is usually reserved for heads of state and government. Here Herman Van Rompuy answered questions, put to him by euronews viewers.
Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev, in an interview with the Russian daily Kommersant on April 10, said that while some may want to drive a wedge between Russia and Kyrgyzstan, “this will be hard to do.” Considering Atambayev’s streak of bewildering statements on Russia, and Kyrgyzstan’s policy over the last month, fallout appears to be becoming a permanent possibility.
In April, Rustam Latifov, the head of the Tajik Parliament’s Ecological Commission, announced Tajikistan’s intention to seek international donors to help secure more than 50,000 tons of radioactive waste in Taboshar and distribute humanitarian funds for 2,000 people in the immediate vicinity who are particularly exposed in the villages of Old Taboshar and Somoni (ozodi.org, April 12). Taboshar, situated in the Ferghana Valley of Sugd Oblast just north of Khujand (Tajikistan’s second largest city), is one of ten Soviet-era nuclear sites in the country. While a part of the Soviet Union, Sugd Oblast was a center for both the extraction and enrichment of uranium. Mines in Taboshar and Adrasman provided uranium to the Leninabad Mining and Chemical Combine (now the Vostochnyy Rare Metal Industrial Association, or Vostokredmet) in the city of Chkalovsk. The then-Leninabad plant processed up to 1,000,000 metric tons of uranium a year to enrich yellowcake and uranium hexafluoride and provided the material for the USSR’s first nuclear weapon.
It appears that Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s efforts to obtain a one-on-one meeting with US President Barack Obama are coming up short, an informed source indicates. Obama's preliminary schedule for the upcoming NATO summit reportedly does not include individual meetings with any of the Central Asian leaders who are planning on attending the event.
Kazakhstan as one of the largest countries of Asia is gradually becoming a center of political transformation of the Islamic world. As head of the 38th Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the country is making every effort to resolve the pressing problems of the Islamic community.
NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, called for close cooperation between NATO and Russia on missile defence to help bolster security against future common threats at a Moscow conference on 3 May 2012.
While Germany's opposition hopes the French Socialist victory will reflect poorly on European policies on the debt crisis and on Berlin, Angela Merkel insists on a continuation of the current course.
Francois Hollande’s election victory Sunday over Nicolas Sarkozy and the losses by Greece’s main political parties, are only the latest examples of the growing anti-austerity backlash in Europe. The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, resigned last month after the populist, right-wing Freedom Party withdrew its support in opposition to a proposed €14.2 billion austerity package, which included cuts to healthcare spending and increases in the retirement age. The Dutch government has been one of the few in Europe to maintain its AAA credit rating throughout the crisis, a sign that support for fiscal tightening is endangered even in the stronger economies.
Cyclic Recurrence of Relations of Moscow and Brussels
Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday failed to win reelection as president of France. He was defeated by François Hollande, who is only the second Socialist to hold the post since direct election started in 1958.
The Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán reported that, Hungarian company MOL withdraws from the consortium on NABUCCO gas pipeline construction. According to the estimations of the experts, withdrawal from NABUSSO proves the fact that Hungary is more involved with Russian project “South Stream”. Yet in 2009 ex Prime Minister of Hungary Gyurcsány Ferenc said that Hungary should stand up for the construction of the both pipelines – NABUCCO and “South Stream” - with all its might. However as we see they didn’t manage to preserve this line: current Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has made the priority not policy but “simple economic solutions”. “Through the territory of Hungary it is planned to pipe one of the branches of “South Stream” gas pipeline, which directly – along the bottom of the Black Sea should connect Russia with the EU, - comments on the situation “Deutsche Welle”. – This project, which is lobbied by Gazprom, is considered to be the rival of NABUCCO. That is why in Budapest they could consider that it’s more beneficial to promote cooperation with Russia than force the construction of NABUCCO ". But earlier also the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov during the meeting with the President of the Council of Europe Herman van Rompuy declared that “Bulgaria has no possibility to accomplish NABUCCO project”, although recently Sophia have given this project the status of state priority.
President Obama outlined his plan to end America’s longest foreign war during a visit here Tuesday colored by election-year politics and economic uncertainty, declaring that “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”
On May 7th the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin shall become the President of our country for the third time already. This fact concerns many people in Russia as well as abroad. Ukraine, with which Russia has plenty economic contacts and which shares non-understanding of political and business elites, expect nothing absolutely new from Russian leader. However they guess there whether Putin shall tighten the screws openly or choose to compromise. What is the future of Russian-Ukrainian relations after the appointment of Putin? Ukrainian experts answer this question for Politcom.ru.
Despite making little headway on crruption or human rights, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did change Russia. 'The ice began to melt and Putin won't be able to refreeze it,' said one expert.
In late May Astana (Kazakhstan) hosts the IVth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.