Austria hands over the Presidency of the European Union to Finland on Saturday 1st July. Over the past 6 months, Austria had the job of finalising details of the EU's post 2007 budget, as well as moving the Lisbon strategy forward. This initiative aims to increase Europe's competitiveness and to create more jobs. But an unexpected challenge came Austria's way when Russian energy supplies were suddenly threatened in the depths of the very cold last European winter. Kerry Skyring reports on the highs and lows of the Austrian EU Presidency.
Finland is about to begin its second EU presidency, the first was back in 1999. Since that time the union has grown, and the challenges facing it today have changed. RFI's Hannah Godfrey asks Finland based journalist Cheryl Riggins about Finnish priorities for their presidency.
One of Germany's most colourful politicians - former foreign minister Joschka Fischer is pulling the plug on his electrifying political carrer. The charismatic leader of the Green party is bringing to an end more than two decades in German politics in which he led his party from an ecologist fringe grouping to a respected government party which has left their stamp on sweeping social, energy and foreign policy changes. Joschka Fischer is to start on an academic career at an American university leaving behind shoes too large to fill by his political successors. Uwe Hessler reports from Berlin.
Sweden has entered into its annual summer break but this year's holidays coincide with the last intense months of campaigning before the country's national elections in September. One reoccurring issue in the debate this year is the perceived failure of the present government to integrate immigrants into Swedish society. The opposition Liberal party has resurrected a controversial set of proposals which were credited with winning the party votes last election but also gained unwanted support from anti-immigrant elements in Swedish society. The proposal was demand that people be able to speak Swedish before they are granted citizenship. Radio Sweden reports.
The number of supermarkets and shopping malls in Romania is booming. After living in deprivation for so long, especially in the 1980s - the last years of communist dictatorship - Romanians finally began to enjoy what westerners had already been experiencing for decades - supermarkets and shopping malls. "Shop till you drop" seems to be one of Romanians' favorite ways to spend their free time. Radio Romania International investigates this phenomenon.
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