There is a new open letter by Eastern European and Western politicians, intellectuals and activists. The list is long: Vaclav Havel, Valdas Adamkus, Mart Laar, Vytautas Landsbergis, Otto de Habsbourg, Daniel Cohn Bendit, Timothy Garton Ash, André Glucksmann, Mark Leonard, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Adam Michnik, Josep Ramoneda.
The letter addresses the Russian occupation of parts of the territory of Georgia. It focuses on the EU policies towards Russia and contains strong reminiscences to WWII. The authors say:
“It would be utterly disastrous if we were to appear in any way to condone the kind of practices that plunged our continent into war and division for most of the last century.”
This letter comes after a previous one in July 2009 that addressed the United states policies towards Central and Eastern Europe, and after the decision of the US to withdraw plans for a missile shield in the region.
Euractiv reports that Eastern European member states are underrepresented in executive positions in the commissions of the European Parliament.
Bulgarian MEP Ivailo Kalfin says that the d’Hondt principle for the distribution of chairs, and the fact that many MEPs from Eastern Europe come for the first time in the European Parliament, are the main reasons for the underrepresentation.
The article summarizes the supposed criteria for the negotiations to determine which MEP from which group gets which chair: large vs. small countries, the weight of the political group, the stature and profile of the MEP, and gender balance.
This does not look like a very transparent guideline, indeed.
Moldova’s Constitutional Court ordered the Central Election Commission to carry out the recount after receiving the request from the Communist President Vladimir Voronin.
The opposition demands a new election.
Meanwhile EU diplomats in Moldova are trying to verify reports of gross human rights violations in the aftermath of anti-government protests. Havier Solana’s special envoy to Moldova, Hungarian diplomat Kalman Mizsei, has been in Chisinau for the past week on a mission to establish a dialogue between government and opposition forces and to gather facts.
This is a welcome development, but it remains to be seen whether tensions will subside. I am impressed by claims of civil organizations in Moldova reported by EurActiv that claim that preconditions are being created for the establishment of a police and dictatorial regime in the Republic of Moldova.
Today democracy obviously comes in short supply.
The Financial Times has published findings in a previously confidential report by the International Monetary Fund claiming that:
“Without euroisation, addressing the foreign debt currency overhang would require massive domestic retrenchment in some countries, against growing political resistance.”
The IMF goes further to suggest the introduction of Euro in Eastern Europe states even without formally joining the eurozone, as well as a relaxation of entry rules for the eurozone.
Such proposals are objected in principle by the European Central Bank, Member States in the eurozone, and even some governments in Eastern Europe. The IMF is well aware of that fact, so it should have really serious motives for disclosing its report.
The extraordinary EU summit on 1 March has not backed proposals for a financial bail-out plan for Eastern Europe, and new member states in particular.
The only specific decision of the summit was to instruct ECOFIN to work closely with the European Commission to draw up elements to help countries facing temporary imbalances “on the basis of all available instruments”.
It remains to be seen what these instruments will and will not include.