The piece of paper that got Europe started, the Treaty of Rome, is about to turn 50. Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU and so Berlin's hosting a big birthday celebration. It will also see the signing of a grand new piece of paper called the Berlin Declaration. Network Europe's Brussels correspondant Stephen Castle told us the German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to mark this date in style.
On the face of it, French journalists should be delighted. With only five weeks to go before the first round, the French presidential campaign is still wide open, the main candidates have a lot of personality, and one of them is even photogenic. But actually journalists in France are a bit depressed. Almost sixty per cent of French people say they're not satisfied with the media's coverage of the campaign. And to make things worse, there are now TV shows with no journalists at all, where citizens question the candidates directly. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux is still happy, but thought he should find out more about why some of his fellow professionals aren't.
Between the two world wars, Bucharest was dubbed little Paris, with its French inspired architecture. But during the communist era entire neighborhoods of the Romanian capital were demolished to make room for blocks of flats. The communists are now gone but it seems that what's left of Bucharest's architectural legacy is now threatened by runaway capitalism. Radio Romania's Iulian Muresan lives in a city that's changing fast.
Capitalism is a messy business but it seems to lend itself well to confident leadership. And gurus, as everyone in the corporate world knows, are a great way to inspire your employees to communicate better, be more open and happy, and therefore, be more productive. The giant Dutch bank ABN-AMRO has picked up on this idea and has tried to get its 20,000 employees to think more positively about work. They hired an American, mantra-spewing guru, but with a difference. He was an actor. And most of what he said on his month-long tour of the company, was improvised or made up, albeit with some wisdom mixed in. Almost no-one was in on the act. So what was it all for? The Dutch media's now picked up on the story and some are wondering what one of the world's largest banks is up to. Daniel Frankl is the actor in question's real name and he told Network Europe he was impressed that the bank was thinking outside the box.
In business, one seemingly effective way to promote your company's interests is to hire a professional to do your bidding for you. These highly paid campaigners are known as lobbyists and they attempt to curry favour and influence the decision-making process in Europe. But, critics of the profession say it's undemocrtaic and lacks transparancy. Which is why the European Commission is now trying to regulate the industry. Deutsche Weelle's Johannes Bahrke takes us up the corridors of power.
Now, from organizations buying political influence we move to selling influence in return for letting someone set up a military base in your backyard. That someone is, of course, the US and the proposed new military bases would be built in Poland and the Czech Republic. The plans have prompted lively debate there and have angered Russia considerably. Radio Prague's Rob Cameron has the story.
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