Earlier this week Europe marked the world anti-death penalty day. However, Poland was the only EU member state to oppose this Day Against the Death Penalty arguing that the subject should be approached in a broader way to also condemn abortion and euthanasia. At a conference in Lisbon, EU representatives and members of the much broader Council of Europe joined forces to abolish the death penalty and called for a universal moratorium on executions.
A big topic which is up for discussion at the United Nations shortly is Kosovo. The Security Council is due to vote on the province's future on December 10th. Russia is expected to veto the UN's autonomy plan for the breakaway Serbian province. And Kosovo says it will declare independence after the December 10 deadline. But Serbia says it won't accept losing its southern province. In the latest round of diplomatic efforts, the Dutch Minister for European Affairs, Frans Timmermans, traveled to the region this week to ease tensions and to try to forge a compromise before a new meeting between Serbs and Kosovars in Brussels on Sunday.
In a week’s time Poles will be electing a new parliament. Snap elections were called after the Polish government, headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, fell apart in August, after prolonged infighting in the ruling coalition. Polish voters will now have the choice between seven parties and the race is a tight one as no block has a clear lead. Who are the main players and how do Poles feel about these elections?
Another European country that's had big difficulties maintaining a stable coalition government is Romania. With only a thin majority in Parliament the government has been unable to pass much needed anti-corruption laws. Alarmed by the high levels of corruption, the European Commission on Wednesday threatened to withhold a quarter of the farm aid Romania receives from the European Union. The EU agriculture commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel, gave Bucharest one month to root out "serious irregularities" in its agricultural payments system or risk losing more than one hundred million euros in farms subsidies.
Immigration has been on top of the news in France over the past couple of weeks. A new immigration law is being debated in parliament that could introduce quotas, as well as DNA testing, for family members of immigrants coming to France. Amidst these debates and polemics, the "Cite de l'Immigration", France's first museum devoted to the history of immigration opened this week. An opening - but with no big fuss. President Sarkozy wasn't there - he was in Russia - and the Immigration minister wasn't there either.
Most Swedes have a portrait by Alexander Roslin in their wallets. But while his famous portraits live on - on Swedish banknotes - his name does not. Radio Sweden's Gaby Katz explores the rediscovery of an artist who put unforgettable images on canvas but who's been forgotten both in Sweden and in his adopted country, France.
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