Network Europe

Coming up on the programme: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict the XVIth New opinion polls suggest French voters will reject the EU constitution And Eastern Europe slams Cuba on its human rights record


A New Pope Enters the Vatican

It was Germany’s cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who was chosen as the new leader of the world’s 1,1 Billion Catholics. The 78-year old pontiff took the name Pope Benedict XVI after one of the shortest conclaves of the past century. 

Wither the Constitution?

Greece became the 6th European member state this week to ratify the European Constitution, which aims to streamline decision making in the enlarged EU. The move by the Greek Parliament was widely expected. France however is a country where the ratification is becoming less and less certain. Opinion polls are showing a victory of the French no. The question now on everybody’s mind is: what if the French vote NON.

Cuba’s Human Rights Record Condemned

The U.N. Human Rights Commission recently passed a U.S.-sponsored proposal condemning Cuba for its record on human rights. The vote has been widely welcomed in Central Europe where countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland are highly critical of Fidel Castro and his regime. But it wasn’t always so. Before 1989 the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were close allies of fellow Communist Cuba.

Slovakia Tackles Black Market Employment

Illegal or black market employment is a common problem throughout Europe. In Slovakia a new law aimed at fighting illegal employment came into effect this month. Employers in breach of the new law will be slapped with hefty fines and punishments and may even be banned from accessing EU funds.

Romania Calls on Iraq’s Help in Hostage Drama

The Romanian Senate has called on Iraq’s parliament to help win the release of three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq last month. Until now the reporters’ whereabouts remain uncertain. Due to the shortage of information, rumours are rife, dividing the country as Romanian President Traian Basescu has accused the media of jeopardizing rescue operations.

Gallipoli: 90 Years On

This week marks 90 years since soldiers from Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand stormed Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula in what became one of the most controversial failed attacks of World War One. Nearly a million men from both sides were poured into the conflict - half of them ending up as casualties. For Australia and New Zealand, the bravery of their Anzac soldiers at Gallipoli is one the most important legends of their national histories. But for Turkey victory over the Allies also took on a special significance.

Closing music: Oi Va Voi, “7 Brothers”