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European Politics Thread.

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This thread is to discuss European politics only, anything related more to topics such as Iraq or war on Terror should go into those threads.

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I would like to raise the issue of FYROM.

Quote[/b] ]Greece has protested strongly at a decision by the US to refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) simply as "Macedonia".

Greece has waged a long campaign to deny its northern neighbour use of the Macedonia name, which is also that of a northern Greek province.

FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski hailed a "great day" for his country.

Greece has made a formal complaint at "this unilateral US decision", saying it would have "many negative effects".

A US State Department official told BBC News that: "The US has decided to refer to Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia."

The US said the decision was not meant to anger Greece, but to reward Macedonia for its commitment to democracy, the AFP news agency said.

Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said US Secretary of State Colin Powell had telephoned to say "that the decision is not a turn against Greece and is not linked to the US elections".

Greece and FYROM have held United Nations-led talks on the issue for more a decade.

'Negative effects'

The BBC's Matt Prodger says the US move will be a boost for the Macedonian government ahead of a controversial referendum aimed at overturning legislation giving more rights to the minority ethnic Albanians.

"Today is a great day for Macedonia and all Macedonians wherever they are," Mr Crvenkovski said.

"My message to the Greek government and to the Greek people is that the Republic of Macedonia is strongly determined to continue to build friendly and good-neighbourly relations."

But Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said: "Apart from our protest, I noted the many negative effects that this unilateral US decision will have."

He has cancelled a trip to the EU summit in Brussels to deal with the issue.

Embargo

Successive Greek governments have refused to recognise the name "Macedonia", because they fear it implies a territorial claim on the northern Greek province of that name.

The name is also seen as a part of Greek heritage.

The dispute began with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Greece imposed an economic embargo on its neighbour until it agreed to be referred to as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - a name which most of its inhabitants dislike.

Last month, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed a co-operation agreement referring to the country simply as Macedonia.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3981499.stm

As you may guess, I am strictly against this and I regard it as a very worrying move by the United States, who inadvertedly give weight to the claims of FYROM's nationalists to unite "all" of "Macedonia".

http://www.vmro.org/stari/maps/boue.jpg

This is a map that is being shown around in FYROM - it shows the Greek province of Macedonia as part of a greater FYROM. Clearly there are sinister ambitions there.

So how is our sovereignty at threat?

Firstly, as pointed out, nationalists in FYROM have an ambition to integrate the Greek province of Macedonia into their country, as shown on that map, which is not old, but current, and written in Cyrillic or whatever they use up there.

Either way, the issue is as follows - if a country has the same name as a region in a neighbouring country, then it is understandable how that country might be encouraged to try and claim this region in her name. It is Greece's fear that FYROM will soon attempt this, and I believe this is a well-founded fear, considering how unstable the former Yugoslav countries are.

For reference, the "Macedonians" were one of many Hellenic "tribes", which were city states and surrounding regions, but part of the same ethnic group. For example, the Spartans and the Ionians as well as the Athenians were all (and still are) Greek. So are the Macedonians, they are a Greek ethnic group, and their ancestors live in the Greek province of Macedonia.

FYROM, on the other hand, has no ethnic ties with Greece or the "Macedonians" as it is a slavic country, much like any other part of the former Yugoslavia, Russia, Ukraine, etc. The Slavs and the Greeks are two very distinct ethnicities with notable visual differences.

Whilst the widespread opinion is "Why bother, its just a name?", I am afraid that the nationalists in FYROM won't see it that way. The Balkans are Europe's wound, and it takes a lot of stitching to keep them closed. Stupid moves like this one can tear the whole thread out, thus opening the wound again. In other words, it is my opinion that if the UN and the EU do not put their weight behind the fact that this country's name is FYROM, then we will have a war at our hands very soon. The non-Albanians in FYROM fear the Albanians and their attempts at creating a greater Albania, so to counter that it makes "sense" (from their point of view) to enlarge themselves for "self-defence."

You can call it paranoia if you like, but then you don't know the Balkans very well. This is a potentially explosive situation, as nationalism is a very serious issue. If they do go to war over this, it could eventually plunge the whole of the Balkans into war again...

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If Yugoslavia has no ties, nor ethnic similarities to Greece, or even common heritage, why do they want to be called Macedonia so bad? What is the name to them exactly, knowing that there is a neighboring Greek province of that name?

Also the map didn't come up for me.

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Well, I know a thing or two about the Balkans and Greece is behaving like an ass. It's right out embarrasing nationalism bordering on chauvinism.

Macedonia has really done nothing to deserve such a treatment. They just want to keep the name they've had since the 9th century.

The Greek argument over the dual names is plain bullshit. There are plenty of regions in Sweden and Finland that have overlapping names without no problems. The same goes for instance with the Slovenia/Austria border and you don't see the Slovenes or the Austrians whine about it do you?

Nationalism and melodrama, that's what it is. I think that the US move was a very good one and I really hope the EU will do the same soon.

Good reading: Wikipedia on Macedonia

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I have a second mirror:

untitled104.th.jpg

As for why? Well, I don't know crazy_o.gif Maybe they think they have a right to have it because they have the same name? Maybe Greed? Maybe just random nationalism? I have NO idea why. Maybe they see themselves as the rightful successors to Alexander, who knows. Its probably down to the fact that heritage and nationalism were suppressed under Tito, and now they are struggling to find an identity.

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Ok, can all now refer the UK as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. You cannot split us up crazy_o.gif

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Greece has made a formal complaint at "this unilateral US decision", saying it would have "many negative effects".

Lol, like what?

"oh shit. Im in the wrong country, AGAIN, if only the Macedonians werent so inconsiderate"

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How precisely might Macedonia go about taking the province of greek Macedonia from Greece? Militarily? I think the EU, not to mention the UN and US would have something to say about that. Perhaps they could try via negotiation, but then of course the opinion of the inhabitants would be paramount. So for now, i will be content to call it nationalist paranoia.

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The greek position is only based on stupid nationalism.

And the reasons they give make me laughing.

denoir has written enough on this topic. I totally agree with him

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Indeed, a really strange situation. I'm not an expert in this matter, but I must say I'm unable to understand what all the fuss is about...

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Bah, Belgium's province of Luxemburg and the country Luxemburg right next to it?

This happens on such a scale in so many countries...

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@placebo

...i`m not quite shure about this thread , like if i would like to discuss about Kosovo or something related with that issue what i have to do, just start new post or ... rock.gif ...and if there are serval threads, like about "Macedonia" or "Kosovo" or "whatever" how can we know after, lets say 5-6 pages, what post is for what ...

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~I would suggest (not being a MOD) that if you want to discuss kosovan or balkan politics, this is an (or the) appropriate place, but if you want to discuss military conflict, another thread would be created. Im not sure i understand your second question right but if i do, i think the answer is pay attention.

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@placebo

...i`m not quite shure about this thread , like if i would like to discuss about Kosovo or something related with that issue what i have to do, just start new post or ... rock.gif ...and if there are serval threads, like about "Macedonia" or "Kosovo" or "whatever" how can we know after, lets say 5-6 pages, what post is for what ...

If it's about anywhere in the Balkans put it here, if it's more about fighting terrorism put it in the war on terror thread, if it's about the middle east put it in the middle east thread, if it's about Iraq put it in the Iraq thread smile_o.gif

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Hello all,

on December 4th, a European intellectual summit, titled "Europe. A Beautiful Idea?" will be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Renowned politicians, historians, writers and artists from all over the world will gather in the Van Nelle Fabriek to discuss the European identity, culture, education and values. The secondary theme will be the relationship between the United States of American and Europe.

Speakers include: Atzo NicolaÄ, Adam Zagajewski, Modris Eksteins, Karl Schlögel, Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Kalypso Nicolaidis, Bassam Tibi, Miguel Maduro, Jacqueline de Romilly, George Klein, Adam Zamoyski, Ivan Fischer, Yvonne van Rooy, Jos de Mul, Gianni Vattimo, Tzvetan Todorov, Michael Sandel, Thomas Pangle, Marjolijn Februari, Jan Peter Balkenende, ZKH Prins Hassan bin Talal, José Manuel Barroso, Fritz Stern, Mario Vargas Llosa and Timothy Garton Ash. The discussion are, naturally, conducted in English.

This summit, the final one in a series of five (previous summits were held in the Hague, Warsaw, Berlin and Washington) is organised by the Nexus Institute. They describe themselves as follows:The Nexus Institute looks at the European cultural heritage in a social, philosophical and artistic context. The Institute is renowned for the quality with which it offers insight into contemporary issues and seeks to give shape to an informed debate. Nexus aims at erudition coupled with tolerance; it is opposed to all forms of narrowmindedness such as sectarianism and chauvinism; it seeks neither the misery of knowing nothing nor the arrogance of knowing all.

Programme

09.00 A word of welcome Rob Riemen

09.10 Introductory remarks Atzo NicolaÄ

Session I: A citizen of Europe

09.20 Lecture by Adam Zagajewski

10.00 Discussion moderated by Rob Riemen, with Modris Eksteins, Karl Schlögel, Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Kalypso Nicolaidis, Bassam Tibi and Miguel Maduro

11.15 Break

Session II: European Culture and Education

11.40 Lecture by Jacqueline de Romilly

12.10 Discussion moderated by Rob Riemen, with George Klein, Adam Zamoyski, Ivan Fischer, Yvonne van Rooy and Jos de Mul

13.30 Lunch

14.15 Concert: Schönberg Ensemble with Folk songs by Luciano Berio

Session III: Euopean Values. The Philosophical Debate

14.45 Discussion moderated by Marjolijn Februari with Gianni Vattimo, Tzvetan Todorov, Michael Sandel and Thomas Pangle

16.00 Break

Session IV: Final debate. Europe. A Beautiful Idea? Agenda for the Future.

16.30 Discussion moderated by Timothy Garton Ash, with Jan Peter Balkenende, HRH Prins Hassan bin Talal, José Manuel Barroso, Fritz Stern and Mario Vargas Llosa

18.00 Concluding remarks Jan Peter Balkenende

18.10 Closing Rob Riemen

18.15 Reception

I would like to invite everyone with interest for the concept of a common European identity and the ability to reach Rotterdam to attend. I have heard some of the attending speakers discuss matters before and those are very erudite men and women indeed.

The costs are not extraordinarily high, I believe it's 20 EUR for a student, but one does have to make a reservation in advance. You can look up more info at www.nexus-institute.nl

Well worth the effort.

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Looks very interesting. I have a shitload of meetings on 3/12, but I'll check for a suitable flight. If it works out time-wise, I might pop by.

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Heheh. I wouldn't mind meeting some of you chaps in a cultural environment. Besides, with a wee bit of good will, one could ascribe European integration to such boundry-spanning projects like OFP tounge_o.gif

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Looks like we'll be getting the new comission soon smile_o.gif

New commissioners win MEP support [bBC]

Quote[/b] ]

New candidates for the reshuffled European Commission have won support from MEPs after grillings at the European Parliament. Hungary's Laszlo Kovacs, Italy's Franco Frattini and Latvia's Andris Piebalgs were interviewed on Monday and Tuesday. Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso had been forced to change his proposed team after it became clear that MEPs would reject his original line-up.

A vote on the reshuffled commission is due to take place on Thursday. Mr Frattini was questioned by MEPs for three hours on Monday.

He refused to condemn the views of his predecessor Rocco Buttiglione, which had in part led to the reshuffle. Mr Buttiglione, when nominated as justice commissioner, had upset MEPs with his conservative views on women and homosexuals.

The threat that the commission would be rejected meant Mr Barroso reshuffled his team, with Mr Frattini in place of Mr Buttiglione. Mr Frattini told the panel that he would promote tolerance and uphold minority rights. The BBC's Chris Morris said it was a confident performance in the face of some fairly searching questions.

At one stage he was forced to deny that he was a Freemason and at others he had to insist that he would remain entirely independent of the Italian government led by Silvio Berlusconi. But Mr Frattini said he would represent Europe as a whole, not a political party in Italy.

MEPs are reported to have said he gave "a convincing impression of his personal and professional capacity" for the job. Questions had also been raised over the original choice of Mr Kovacs for the energy portfolio after his disappointing performance in his first nomination hearing. But he is said to have redeemed himself on Tuesday as he sat for the taxation and customs job in the reshuffled commission.

Militia claims

He said he was in favour of fiscal competition and was against a French proposal to cut aid to new EU member states who attract investors with lower corporate tax rates. He said companies did not move from one country to another for that reason alone.

"Fiscal competition is not damaging as such," he said.

He also defended having been a member of the Communist Party before 1989, which has drawn criticism from some parts of the EU. He denied claims that he had been part of the workers' militia or relations with the secret services.

"In my background, there is nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of," he said. Some analysts say Mr Kovacs came across as better prepared than for the energy portfolio hearing before the reshuffle.

Mr Piebalgs is said to have had no problem convincing the Industry, Research and Energy Committee of his fitness to be energy commissioner. The head of the European People's Party, Hans Gert Poettering, said: "I'm going to recommend to my group that we give very solid support to the commission on Thursday, and I have no doubt that the great majority of my group will follow that recommendation."

I watched one of the hearings, and I must say that I was impressed. I only hope we in Sweden will one day get procedures for such thorough scrutiny of our local politicians.

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Quote[/b] ]Putin: Russia testing new missiles

MOSCOW, Russia -- President Vladimir Putin says Russia's armed forces

will soon have access to advanced nuclear missile systems unlike those

held by other countries.

Speaking to high-ranking military officials Wednesday, Putin said that

while international terrorism was one of the main threats facing Russia,

the country's nuclear defenses also had to be kept up to date.

"We are conducting research and are testing the most up-to-date nuclear

missile systems, which, I'm sure, will be supplied to the armed forces in

the near future," Putin was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

"What is even more important, these systems will have no analogues in

the other nuclear powers during the next few years."

"International terrorism is one of the major threats for Russia. We

understand as soon as we ignore such components of our defense as a

nuclear and missile shield, other threats may occur."

Putin gave no further details about what type of weapons he was

referring to.

However, The Associated Press quoted Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as

saying this month that Russia hoped to test-fire a mobile version of its

Topol-M ballistic mission this year. Production of the system could begin

next year, Ivanov said.

AP added that Russia was also reported to be developing a next-

generation nuclear missile capable of carrying up to 10 warheads

weighing up to 4.4 tons, compared with the Topol-M's payload of 1.32

tons. Topol-Ms have been deployed in silos since 1998.

Putin has often pledged to restore Russia's military power, which declined

after the break-up Soviet Union amid severe funding problems.

His latest statement sets an assertive tone ahead of this weekend's

summit of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation organization, where he

is expected to meet U.S. President George W. Bush.

Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said Wednesday's

statement appeared to be as much for show as for military strategy.

"This is intended for the internal audience, an attempt to say that things

are great, that defense is growing stronger and not falling apart as it

actually is," Felgenhauer told AP.

What's the point? If anybody uses this WMD the end is near. I don't want

a Tjernobyl x200. Humanity is so stupid  sad_o.gif

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And with Bush in the White House this is a great oppurtunity for a new arms race, not that Bush needed much encourage meant (mini-nukes, star-wars II, etc.)

As Colossus pointed out they've already got enough to start armegeddon anyway, I'd imagine they'd probably be better off spending the money on conventional weapons for their army, or jet fuel, or methods of training new recruits where they dont have to be beaten to death...

But shit, im not a politican.

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As Colossus pointed out they've already got enough to start armegeddon anyway, I'd imagine they'd probably be better off spending the money on conventional weapons for their army, or jet fuel, or methods of training new recruits where they dont have to be beaten to death...

How about spending some money on fixing up a proper economy? bombs are bad, prosperity is good...mmkkay

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Today is the 31st anniversary of the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic.

Greece, November 1973

Uprising that brought down a dictatorship

In 1967 a military junta overthrew the government in Greece and established a brutal regime of oppression.

Lyndon B Johnson, then US president, fighting an escalating war in Vietnam, found some time to send letters full of praise to Colonel Papadopoulos, the strongman of the regime.

Papadopoulos was the head of the military intelligence service and a longtime friend of the US. Most European governments remained silent.

In early 1973 there were signs that this gloomy period was near its end.

The first sparks came from the universities. Greek students were not immune to the wind of revolt that was blowing in every country of the world. It was much easier to discuss and exchange ideas inside the universities.

The Polytechnic uprising started as one more student protest. It was 15 November 1973 when a student demonstration some 500 strong entered the Polytechnic School in the heart of Athens.

The students were protesting against the rigging of student elections by the regime and against police brutality.

For a few crucial hours the regime hesitated to unleash the police and its thugs against the students. That was enough time for the anger to explode. In less than 24 hours what started as a student protest became a general uprising against the regime.

Thousands of university students joined the occupation. Numbers gave them strength. The slogans they were chanting became more and more political and radical—“Down with the dictatorshipâ€, “US outâ€, “General strike" and “People, time for revolutionâ€.

They set up a “free radio stationâ€, a “people’s clinic†for those wounded in the struggle, and a “people’s canteen†to feed the protesters. Groups of students outside of the buildings were distributing leaflets to the crowds going home after work.

The news of the occupation spread like wildfire in the working class districts and at schools. By noon next day thousands of people were there.

Open revolt

School students came in by the hundreds and then by the thousands. Building workers came in carrying a banner saying “People’s power†and joined the occupation.

Small farmers from nearby came too. They were angry against their land being taken from them for the benefit of a rich shipowner.

Bus drivers slowed down to allow the students to pass leaflets to the passengers and write graffiti. Early in the evening 300,000 people had taken over Athens city centre.

It was an open revolt.

The police were unable to smash the revolt. Instead of encircling the Polytechnic the cops found themselves surrounded by angry crowds.

Thousands of demonstrators tried to storm several public buildings, like the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Public Order.

The colonels decided to answer the challenge of the uprising the only way they knew how—with brute force.

In the late hours of 16 November tanks, armoured vehicles and elite army units started to move towards the city centre. The police started to fire live ammunition at the demonstrators.

The workers and the students did not abandon the streets and their brothers and sisters inside the Polytechnic. They tried to stop the tanks with barricades and counter-attacks.

But that was impossible. A tank smashed through the central gate of the Polytechnic School at 3am on Saturday 17 November.

The military regime murdered scores of students and workers inside the Polytechnic. The massacre continued through the night on the surrounding streets. Hundreds more were wounded. The uprising was quelled but the regime itself was mortally wounded.

The junta managed to survive for another eight months. The Polytechnic uprising was the beginning of its end.

Sources vary widely in the number of victims, but frequently heared numbers vary between 24 and over 400 people killed. My mum reckons it is the latter - she also lost a few friends that day sad_o.gif

RIP to everyone who died for freedom and democracy that day.

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