Coming up in the programme:
Milosevic’s death: what it means for Serbia, the Balkans, and the region’s relations with the EU.
Former Romanian Prime Minister steps down as party leader after allegations of corruption.
Elections in Belarus: what Poland is doing, to support the opposition to Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime.
We go to Berlin, for the first Franco German cabinet meeting, since Angela Merkel took power.
And in Sweden, a totem is returned to a native Indian tribe in Canada.
Milosevic: The aftermath
The body of former Yugoslav leader, Slobodan Milosevic, was transferred to Belgrade on Wednesday from the Hague, where he was being judged for crimes against humanity. The 1990s war in the Balkans claimed the lives of more than two hundred thousand people, and saw genocides and the worst war crimes of modern Europe. The intense debate in Serbia this week, over whether Milosevic deserved a state funeral or not, has exposed divisions in the republic.
It has also revealed the extent to which Serbs have difficulties in coming to terms with their past. But EU leaders are concerned about the country’s future. They have assured countries in the Balkans that their future lies in the EU.
“Elections” in Belarus
On the eve of this week-ends’ presidential elections, the authorities cracked down on the democratic opposition. Several rivals of the authoritarian President, Alexander Lukashenko, were beaten up by security forces and detained. EU member states did not go out of their way to condemn the way the opposition has been treated. Poland, following its active involvement in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, has been watching developments closely.
When Angela met Jacques: the Franco-German Summit
On Tuesday was held the first joint cabinet meeting with French and German ministers, since Angela Merkel took office in November. French president Jacques Chirac seized the opportunity to dismiss accusations that his government was protectionist and breaching EU competition rules. A joint European energy safety policy and EU efforts to maintain piece in Congo were also at the heart of the Tuesday’s talks. The gathering was also to prepare a joint Franco-German strategy for next week’s EU summit in Brussels, on the modernisation of Europe’s economy.
Former Romanian Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase, stepped down early this week from his position, as executive president of the Social Democratic Party, and speaker of Parliament’s lower chamber, after a no-confidence vote by party members. Pressured by the media and public opinion, Romania’s Social Democrats in opposition, said the corruption charges against their leader were affecting the party’s image.
Time to let go
A totem pole, described as ”an umbilical cord from the past to the present ” was reclaimed in Stockholm this week by a Canadian Native Indian tribe, whose ancestors carved the artefact over a hundred years ago. The cultural treasure has been in the possession of a Swedish Museum for the past 77 years, after it was taken by a Swedish consul to British Columbia – under dubious circumstances. Now, it’s going home.