With scandals over expense accounts it’s no wonder the EU is thinking about image. In an effort to make the EU feel more of a community the European Commission has launched a new website and radio programme. It’s hoped they’ll reach a youthful audience and provide everything one should know about Europe - from news to culture, and the important work the EU’s doing. European Commisioner Margot Wallström launched “Euranet” this week.
The EU has finally decided to send a military force to eastern Chad to shore up its border with Sudan and try to protect the refugees in the area. But the mission is still beset with delays and fears that the region is too unstable for a peace-keeping force. So what do our leaders in Brussels believe they can achieve with this mission? Vanessa Mock reports that, on the military side there are signs of disorganization.
In case you haven’t come across the GPS sat-nav system yet, it’s a system of satellites that pinpoint your car and then beam information to the the voice under your dashboard, which in turn tells you verbally to turn right, left or go straight ahead. The EU’s ‘Galileo’ project is supposed to rival America’s GPS satellite navigation system. But being the EU there has been drawn out wrangling about how the project will be funded, stalling progress for months. Until now.
Sweden has been a member of the EU since 1995. But did you know that one of the most contentious issues for the Swedes during the negotiations aside from the country's much vaunted neutrality - was whether or not Swedes would be allowed to keep their peculiar habit of snus - or oral tobacco. Now a decade on and smoking definitely out of favor - Snus is being marketed as smokeless tobacco and the question is whether it should be sold in other European Union member states. As Azariah Kiros explains, the Snus Empire wants to strike back...
Some European leaders talk of a “strategic partnership” between China and the EU, yet some major stumbling blocks in what some describe as a marriage, if not, at least an engagement, are standing in the way. One of them is the Weapons Embargo, imposed by the EU after the massacre by the People’s Liberation Army of unarmed civilians, around Tiananmen Square in June 1989. It’s now 18 years later, and the embargo is still in place. I asked RFI’s Brussels’ correspondent if the embargo isn’t a bit outdated by now?
Celebrity gossip, big brash headlines, paparazzi pictures and lots of nudes, those are all trademarks of British tabloids. But another recurring topic the tabloids love to hate is the European Union - or the so-called Euromyths. You might say Brussels bunkum if you're British. Anthony Gooch is the Head of Media at the Representation of the European Commission in London and his mission is to fight these so-called Euromyths.
Raging forest fires are increasingly becoming a feature of the European summer and sparking debate in Brussels over whether Europe needs a common fire fighting service. Given that the water bombers or so-called Canadair planes cost more than 19 million Euros each - many argue that such expensive assets should be shared. Better still, they could be painted blue and gold so that EU citizens immediately see where their money goes.
Turkey's chances of joining the exclusive EU club took another downturn this week. The issue of whether Turkey joins the EU has become one of the most divisive issues in european political life. The question many want answered is if it were to become a member, would Turkey become more European or would, as some western Europeans fear, Europe become less secular? The European commission released a much anticpated report on Turkey's accession progress on Wednesday and it didn't make for cosey bed-time reading for Ankara. Turkey was attacked on its human rights, religious freedoms and its attitude towards the divided island of Cyprus. There wasn't a call for a suspension of talks but the report's bound to fuel speculation that Turkey's whole bid is going off the rails.
This week the European Commission gave candidate countries Bulgaria and Romania both a red card and a green light. The Commission said both nations could join the European Union on January 1st, provided they step-up reforms in a number of areas. Failure to do so would mean delayed entry into the EU. The Commission will assess their progress in autumn. The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said both nations need to show clear results in order to avoid a delay in joining the EU. In Bulgaria's case, corruption and organized crime have been singled out as areas in need of urgent attention. Radio France International reports from Sofia.
Corruption, organized crime and money laundering are Bulgaria's and the European Commission's biggest headache. Romania still needs to prove that its recent crackdown on corruption and crime is irreversible. But the four red flags it received from the European Commission were all in technical areas such as agriculture. Radio Romania International reports from Bucharest.
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