Network Europe

This week:

What will Sarkozy’s France look like?

Abolition of slavery anniversary celebrations

A new dawn for Northern Ireland?

Combating climate change: The World Future Council

Climate change: What do you think?


Sarkozy’s Europe

Nicolas Sarkozy won the presidential election in France last Sunday. The fifty two year old leader of the right wing UMP party garnered fifty three per cent of the votes in the second round ballot. How did people in Brussels react to the news. We discuss the issue with our EU insider Steven Castle who is in the Belgian capital. He first told me that for many Sarkzoy’s election came as a relief because unlike his competitor, the defeated socialist candidate Ségolène Royal, Sarkozy does not intend to hold another referendum on the union’s future institutions.

Abolition of slavery anniversary celebrations in France

Nicolas Sarkozy will take office next week, on the 16th of May. He returned just in time from his expensive two day retreat to attend the Paris commemoration of France’s abolition of slavery. Last year President Jacques Chirac chose May the tenth as remembrance day for the victims of slavery. This was hailed by friends and foes alike, as a breakthrough in France’s efforts to come to terms with its colonial past. Interestingly last year Nicolas Sarkozy supported a controversial law which acknowledged the “positive role of colonialism”, and he said on numerous occasions during his campaign that he hated remorse. More on the issue with Radio France International’s Yan van der Made.

A new dawn for Northern Ireland

After decades of violence and division, this week saw the inauguration of an historic power-sharing government in the long troubled province of Northern Ireland. Rival protestants and Catholics will take their seats in the freshly revived Northern Ireland Assembly. The conservative Protestant DUP party won elections there last month, with the Catholic Sinn Fein coming second. The hard-line Protestant leader, eighty one year old Reverend Ian Paisley, will become the province’s first minister. Radio Netherlands’ Lia van Beckhoven has this portrait of the man who, finally, changed his mind.

Combating climate change: The World Future Council

Coastlines are threatened, deserts are advancing, and the effects of climate change are set to displace millions of people as resources are becoming more scarce. The World Future Council wants to stop that and gathered for its founding congress in Hamburg this week. This new council is the brainchild of Jacob von Uexkuell, who also founded the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the alternative Nobel prize. The goal of his international institution is an ambitious one: in a nutshell its aim is to save the planet. Deutsche Welle’s Barbara Gruber asked him how this can be done.

How aware are you? Environmental awareness on streets of Stockholm

The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change concluded at its recent meeting in Thailand that investing in efforts to combat climate change is not only affordable but inevitable. But on a positive note: the report said that global warming can be tackled effectively - and even at a reasonable cost The scientific group also urges ordinary people to review their life styles as part of the global fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. So, what is the interest on the streets like?