Poland joined the EU 3 years ago and has been gaining a widening reputation as a diplomatic bruiser ever since. Their tactics at the latest EU summit drew fierce criticism from across the continent. And the already raised eyebrows of European liberals have risen further up their foreheads this week. Luxembourg’s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker said it “was very near to unacceptable” while others called the Kaczynski twin brothers, Poland’s President and Prime Minister, “Germanophobic”. Poland wants to use a system that gives more power to smaller member states. The current system gives more voting power to larger nations, making the union’s most populous state, Germany, the most powerful. The sting in the tail was President Kaczynski’s suggestion that if the Nazis hadn’t killed so many Poles in World War II it would now be the most populous nation in Europe and therefore the most powerful. But does this row reflect the way ordinary Poles feel?
There’s new evidence to suggest that it’s the summer of love in Brussels. European government suffers from an image problem and is often seen as aloof, unrepresentative and meddling. But now if you surf the EU’s website you’ll find that Brussels is involved in the sexy and seductive world of the movies. Hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site have been enjoying a steamy short film montage of famous sex scenes from celebrated European movies. The two minute film is now a hit on YouTube, but it’s upset a good number of people too.
The Tour de France pushes off in London this week, a city notorious for its intolerance of anything on two wheels. But enthusiasm for the race has dwindled over the past few years, thanks largely to scandals involving competitors testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. The American Floyd Landis was crowned king yellow-jersey last year, but officially Landis is no longer the winner of the 2006 Tour de France, after he failed a drugs test.
For the first time, a court in Sweden has decided that a girl or woman can be granted asylum if she can prove she’s at risk of being forced into an arranged marriage abroad. A 15 year old girl has won her case in Sweden and lawyers say it could open the way for many other similar claims. But is Sweden really now a haven for girls facing forced arranged marriages?
In a new feature we have a brief Postcard snapshot from one of Network Europe’s producers. This week Deutsche Welle’s Liah McDonell is in the famously rude Berlin, where it seems being nice is suddenly all the rage.
This month we’d like you to suggest how the EU could improve its image and connect better with Europeans. In 30 words or less, please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll read out the best ones in 3 weeks time and who knows, with all the influential people who listen to Network Europe, your idea could soon be turning heads in the corridors of Brussels power.
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