2007-08-31 Quentin Dickenson
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Brussels Briefing - The European Union needs to coordinate disaster relief

Firefighting in GreeceGreece has been struggling to contain devastating forest fires this week that have killed dozens of people. The Greek president declared a state of emergency, and individual European countries have sent aid. Our Brussels correspondent, Quentin Dickenson, points out that there is a program in the works to organize European-wide assistance for situations exactly like this: aid for countries who can’t deal with disasters on their own. The former EU commissioner Michel Barnier recommended such a program 18 months. It’s been welcomed widely. But since then, nothing much has happened.

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Also in this issue

Swedish ParliamentThis week the Swedish parliament decided to scale down the number of countries it helps with foreign aid. It wants aid to be more closely tied to democracy and human rights in recipient countries. The number of recipient countries will be cut in half, from 70 to 33—Though the total amount of money will remain the same. Radio Sweden's Azariah Kiros has more. >>>

BucharestRemember that? The images themselves weren’t as graphic as it sounds. The whole thing was supposed to help promote European films. Sex sells. Well, Romania is seeing tangible results—An open-air theatre screening European movies is turning around a Bucharest neighbourhood. Radio Romania International's Iulian Muresan has more. >>>

French or Flemish?

Vanessa Mock

There are two national Theathres in Belgium - One Flamish, one FrenchThree months after elections in Belgium, there’s still no sign that a new government is coming together. Coalition talks collapsed after French-speaking parties refused to agree to give Flanders greater autonomy. The stalemate is fuelling criticism that Wallonia - the poorer, French-speaking South - is feeding off Flanders - without putting anything back. There's growing support for right-wing Flemish parties who want create an independent Flanders. Radio Netherlands’ Vanessa Mock reports, that's worrying Walloons. >>>

Corrida in ArlesWhen you think bullfighting, you think Spain. Well, France also has a bullfighting tradition, though it’s come under criticism for being, well, too violent. The group that regulates French advertising has banned an ad showing a bull being killed during a match. RFI’s Anustup Roy meets some aficionados and some detractors of the sport. >>>

Leaflet of NDPurning now to Germany- A fresh series of racially-motivated attacks on foreigners over the past two weeks has refuelled a debate over banning the far-right National Democratic Party. The European Union’s justice Commissioner, Franco Frattini, was quoted as saying he’d back a ban. A previous attempt to ban it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003, after it came out that some testimony came from informants in the party. From Berlin, Deutsche Welle’s Hardy Graupner has more. >>>

Belly dancing in Poland

Michal Kubicki

Belly DancingNow something for you dancers out there—or those of you would who’d like to learn. Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service recently made the rounds of dance schools in Warsaw— and found a surge in enrolments during the summer months. >>>

Next week we’ll be doing a special program on China, and its relationship with the EU. To get you thinking about that theme, for this months’ quiz question please send a couple of lines about how China, in any form, affects you in your daily life—this can be anything, from Chinese-made products, immigration, culture. Anything. We’ll pick our favourite answers and read them on the air at the end of the month. >>>

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