One thing Europe is exceptionally good at is expanding. This time in the form of the Schengen border agreement. The EU’s passport-free zone is ballooning and by December 21, nine newcomers will be welcomed into the fold – many of them former communist states. But is everyone jumping for joy? Thijs Papot reports from the border region of Slovenia and Croatia where some neighbours have a greater freedom of movement than others.Listen to the report:
Will last weekend go down in the history books? The landmark summit between the European Union and Africa was supposed to bring the two continents closer together. Some 80 leaders gathered in Lisbon, Portugal to forge closer ties and find new ways to cooperate on areas like poverty, migration and climate change. But disagreements over human rights and trade, sidelined talks of new partnerships. So was it all watered down or will it go down as a watershed in Afro-European relations? Vanessa Mock was our reporter on the spot.
Once you pass through a country’s borders – you might do well to go native and immerse yourself in the local culture – eat the food, cheer on the national sports teams and why not learn the national anthem? Good idea! Unless you’ve moved to Spain that is. Spain is wrapped in controversy at the moment and all because of its anthem. Spain is one of the few countries in the world that does not have lyrics for its national anthem. And now, a six month talent search is coming to an end. About seven thousand Spaniards have responded to a call by the head of the Olympic committee, Alejandro Blanco, to write a verse. Submissions are being carefully examined by a panel of judges before being tested on a children’s choir. Then on December 19th the winner will be unveiled. But as Deutsche Welle’s Danny Wood reports – the whole endeavour is not music to everyone’s ears.
Each December, on the day after the International Day of Human Rights – the European Parliament awards its Sakharov prize for freedom of thought. It’s the Parliament’s top human rights award, named after Andrei Sakharov, a Russian physicist who spoke out against nuclear proliferation and worked against human rights abuses in the former Soviet Union. Radio France International’s Sarah Elzas was in Strasbourg this week to meet the 2007 winner.
Nobel fever has been raging. On the 10th – laureates attended the Nobel Prize ceremony at Stockholm’s Concert House and received their medals from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf – that’s what went on on stage – but what about behind the scenes? As the laureates arrived in the Swedish capital, Radio Sweden’s Jasna Carlén talked to Annika Pontikis of the Nobel Foundation about the events that awaited the year’s greatest minds and their families during Nobel Week.
If you want to be treated like royalty – you might consider a trip to Krakow. A new tram service has begun running there, but it’s not a line for regular commuters. The most important question on that route is – do you take sugar with yours? It’s a café tram – a new way to see Kraków from renovated comfort complete with all the mod-cons. Tea or coffee, the choice is yours and an espresso was the choice of John Beauchamp on a trip outside Polish Radio’s studios.
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