Miloš Zeman, a leftist former prime minister seen as pro-European, won the Czech Republic's first direct presidential election on Saturday (26 January), marking a departure from the late Eurosceptic President Václav Klaus, who had pushed the country towards the margins of the European Union.
Plagued by deep domestic problems, Barack Obama would love to outsource many international issues to the EU in his second term. The problem is no one knows whether Europe is up to the task.
Minister of Defense and First Deputy Prime Minister Irakli Alasania, who does not conceal his plans to participate in the presidential elections in October 2013, revealed several important initiatives for reforming the Georgian army and future cooperation with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Alasania proposed switching to an all-contract service army by 2016. “No one needs to serve in the army against his will. On the contrary, the service should be prestigious and not accessible to all. Only people who received professional education and are prepared to give up their lives for their country must serve in the army,” the minister stated on January 7, in an interview with the Georgian paper Kviris Palitra.
Troels Ørting is the head of the newly established European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol, the European law enforcement agency in The Hague. Ørting is a senior police chief from Denmark with more than 30 years’ experience in serious, organised international crime including cybercrime. As chief of the Danish equivalent of Serious Organised Crime Agency he also managed the Danish High Tech Crime Unit and developed the Danish early response to cybercrime. He spoke to EurActiv’s Jeremy Fleming.
Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II is the first for a long time official person of the country who is going to visit Russian capital. Patriarch arrives in Moscow at the award ceremony. Ilia II will be awarded the prize "for his outstanding contribution to strengthening the unity of Orthodox peoples". Celebrations have been organized by the International Fund of Orthodox Christians. Visit of the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church will be held at the invitation of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
Azerbaijani State Oil Fund budget approved for 2013
Since the intervention in Libya in 2011, which highlighted strong dissensions between France and Germany in the conduct of military engagement, Europeans have been waiting for a new opportunity to prove they could unite around a common objective, away from Brussels and the near-constant series of crisis meetings.
The head of the working group on ensuring Ukraine's OSCE chairmanship and the director of the political department of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Viacheslav Yatsiuk, spoke in an interview with UKRINFORM about how Kyiv prepared for its chairmanship of the organization, and about the prospects and possible consequences for Ukraine from the fulfillment of a complicated international mission.
Energy shortages in the world makes the leading powers seek new ways to solve this problem. While in the field of sports leaders are determined during the Olympic Games, in the sphere of innovations development such a venue is International Specialized Exhibition EXPO. In 2017, it will be held in Kazakhstan. The main theme of the site designated as the "Energy for the future". We emphasize that showcase of the best mankind achievements in the development of green energy will be held in a country whose economy has been historically kept at the edge of the angle. Perhaps this will be the main "zest" of the upcoming event.
The concept of smart defence is quite new although its principles have been discussed for several years. Today smart defence could be considered as one of the main NATO‘s philosophies which will be pursued by the Alliance at least during the recent decade.
Hopes for reform in China have risen in recent weeks. Xi Jinping’s decision to make Shenzhen the site of his first formal inspection tour as party general secretary spurred predictions that he will seek to assume Deng Xiaoping’s mantle as an economic reformer (“Xi Jinping’s ‘Southern Tour’ Reignites Promises of Reform,” China Brief, December 14, 2012). Similarly, Xi’s speech regarding China’s need for the rule of law—given on the 30th anniversary of the 1982 constitution—gave rise to press speculation that he may pursue legal and political reform (South China Morning Post, December 13, 2012; AFP, December 4, 2012).
Relations between Russia and the European Union can’t be characterized as unclouded. At the moment, as Moscow is turning to Asia at the background of deepening crisis in Europe, the European Union has more acute dilemma: to build relations with Russia on the ground of values and principles or in the spirit of real policy. The last meeting of V.V.Putin with A. Merkel has already demonstrated that one shouldn’t expect sooner warming of lately worsened relations between the two poles of Eurasian geopolitical macro-region. Although objectively energy dependence of the EU, interest of Russia towards exchange of the latest technologies, common challenges in the sphere of security, the need of mutual strengthening of competitive ability, as well as cultural closeness push these two parts of big Eurasian space to cooperate, but still there has been no progress on many practical issues, such as signing of a new partnership treaty, third energy bag and visa relaxation for a long time.
Warsaw sees the first signals from Vilnius about national minorities as very promising, Polish Senate member Bogdan Klich, the country's former defense minister, has said in Lithuania on Friday.
In Europe investigations have been started in relation to several current and former oligarchs from the countries of Central Asia. Gulnara Karimova, Maksim Bakiyev and Rakhat Aliyev are suspected to have broken the law.
This article is based on Sergey Lavrov speech at the 20th Jubilee Meeting of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, December 1, 2012, Moscow. Other materials of the meeting will be published in our next issue.