Oct 26, 2011

United States of Europe: to be? not to be? how to be?

I am no economist and I am most certainly not good with macroeconomical numbers of the debt crisis, but I feel that the crisis now in the EU and the Eurozone is by far not only about numbers.

Countries all over the world have felt the crisis and many countries not only those in Europe are in deep debt. Of course the true essence of the European crisis is that it is in the interest (or so it seems) of the Eurozone countries to bailout each other and to share the responsibility over the mistake of another. My question is simple is the solidarity among the peoples of Europe strong enough to back initiatives of such nature? To me it seems not... and it is definitely not the common Europeans fault. What we see is that the politicians the leaders of this continent and of course of the financial institutions try to work out a plan that can help the nations in need and a plan that is strong enough not only for a country like Greece, but also for Italy or Spain.

In my view such plans would work if the societies that need to back the politicians making the decisions weren't in plural rather they would be a sole nation, which of course is not the case. The process of what we see is that the top level politicians heads of states and heads of governments as well as financial leaders are eventually moving towards a more unified Europe something of a true federalistic state-like nature. Yet at the same time the voices that can be heard from within parliaments and people on the street make it clear that there is no social lacking behind the creating a something more federalistic. Furthermore it is my deep concern that the way that the EU and Eurozone leaders communicate their joint actions gives way to irresponsible political voices, whom by exaggeration, mistification and by misleading the people of Europe can earn platforms for their extremist views. As the latest example shows CNN reported on the Conservative Party MPs calling for a nationwide referendum in the UK on leaving the EU and this is of course by far not the worst since I am not even detailing the politics of right extremist parties.

I do not know the answers, but I know you cannot build a system without the nation(s) on board. This is a lesson history has taught us. A lesson we here in Central and Eastern Europe know all too well.

Oct 25, 2011

UN Security Council elections final results

Monday evening after the 16th round of voting Slovenia withdrew its bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council. As a result Azerbaijan will represent the Eastern European region.

Oct 23, 2011


Liszt Ferenc (or Franz Liszt) was true Central European figure. He was a composer that changed the world and had enorme influence on music as we know it today. He also contributed to society in Germany and Austria-Hungary in great ways. He is one of the founders of the Hungarian Academy of Music, which now bears his name.

I suggest you to run through his Wikipedia page, which is truly exhaustive: 

Those with more time should read his biography, which is a very good book and of course listen to his music, whose brilliance needs no explanation.

Oct 22, 2011

E European post

With the 5th round of voting for the E European post in the UN Security Council is still unfilled wizh Slovenia and Azerbaijan in run. Hungary dropped out after the 1st round. A state needs two-thirds majority, which is 129 out of 193 states.

Waiting for results ...
Also this weekend Bulgaria holds presidential and municipal elections.
We are also remebering this weekend the 1956 Hungarian revolution. 

Oct 20, 2011

UN Security Council elections tomorrow

Though yesterday in the election calendar of next year I also mentioned Turkmenistan and Kazahstan as Eastern European states I must tell you I thought a lot before doing so. Finally I decided that I will mention them since they are former members of the Soviet Union, which was of course Eastern European in all political senses. I particularly want to talk about this today because the voting on the five non-permanent members of the UN Security Council will take place tomorrow on Friday the 21st of October.

Unfortunately in the Eastern European Group there is no clean-slate so it is currently not clear, which of the three nominees: Azerbaijan, Hungary or Slovenia will win. When defining Central and Eastern Europe we always have a hard time this is because these are not only geographic, but also political and cultural questions. I don't want to talk about Central Europe now because that is very comlicated and I will write about it later. (Since the subtitle of my blog mentions CE I will eventually have to give my own definition of it.) What I would now clarify is Eastern Europe and in this respect I think we can agree that a political definition can be used. This political definition for me is practically the former Eastern bloc the post-soviet and post-communist states. So mentioning the UN Regional Group of Eastern Europe is not withjout reason for its members truly seem to roundup what politically may define the region. Today this group has 23 members. Though with a shared history in the 20th century these countries are very much connected it is a region that is very diversified. It is worth noting that one of these dividing lines is the difference of EU membership and non-EU states. Other dividing lines include religious differences between countries with an orthodox majority, muslim countries and of course catholics and protestants.

All of these factors will play an essential role in tomorrow's election where Slovenia and Hungary are both EU member states, which means in case of their election the number of EU states in the UN Security Council would grow to 5 giving a third of this body. Religion is also an issue since Azerbaijan might just be the country elected if all 56 islamic countries support it in the UN General Assembly tomorrow. Finally let us not forget that it is a secret ballot after all so nothing is certain not even diplomatic ties that have long been bound.

Oct 19, 2011

2012 election calendar of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)

2012 will have its great share of election drama in the classic democracies of the USA and France with presidential elections in both, but what about Central and Eastern Europe. Lets have a look at some of the less followed elections:

February: Turkmenistan elects a president. Truly I am only mentioning this on the margin of the blog since we all know that it is not a true election. There is only one party running with one candidate ... no more has to be said.

March: In this month we have for ourselves two interesting elections. The 4th of March is the presidential elections of the Russian Federation. The results are of course already forseen with Vladimir Putin former president and current prime minister running again backed by the United Russia party. To allow his run the country even amended its constitution letting someone, who already had two terms as a president be elected again. The only other candidate who has formally announced to run is Gennady Zyuganov from the communist party, while Dmitri Medvedev has declined to run in favor of Putin, who he says is his mentor.

 On the 10th of March another exciting election will take place in Slovakia's parliament after Radicova's gamble last week. While nothing is certain yet in this situation we can bet on one thing noone will get an absolute majority. Coalitions are what we will have to follow closely in this ballot.

May: Serbian parliamentary elections are to be held in May. The question is if Boris Tadic's party, which is working toward an accesion in the EU will be able to defend its position in the National Assembly. Also important to watch are the radicals who are currently the second biggest party in parliament. Other important groups are the minorities the Hungarians, the Bosniacs and the Albanians and their share of the votes.

July: Albania elects its president indirectly in the Assembly of Albania, this election with most of the indirect presidential elections in Europe will possibly be an easy one especially if current president Bamir Topi runs for reelection since the coalition that has supported him is still in power.

August: Just like Turkmenistan Kazahstan is not a real democracy. There is one dominant party and guess what at the last election it gained all the seats.

October: More info to come on these since they are far far wawy in time: Slovenian presidential elections will take place. The question is who will run which is not clear year since current president Danilo Türk had some serious health issues in 2011.

Lithuania will hold parliamentary elections in October. Here Adrius Kubilius will probably run again, he has held the office before at the turn of the century we must wait and see if he will survive another election.

Also voting in October are the Ukrainians. Here of course the outcome is currently unpredictable. With the enorme scandal of the trial of Yulia Timoshenko and schemes of breaking the support of her party nothing is certain. Especially with the great foreign (EU) pressure on Ukrainian decision makers to try and change the verdict.

To finish the year we will have the legislative elections of Romania. The question once again seems if the current government will stay. With votings of no confidence and economic cuts we can not be sure ... of course since I am a Hungarian I must mention that it is an election that is important for the Hungarian minority, whose representatives are currently part of the coalition.

Oct 17, 2011

Borders, borders, borders

I just read an article on Poland and Belarus having diplomatic tensions over Poland's easter borders, which of course are Belarus's western.,Poland-and-Belarus-in-border-row

I guess this is always going to be this way in the region that we define as Central Europe that countries borders are going to be disputed. Sure enoughthe 20th century was a time when our nation's got a little mixed up and then sliced up and then the borders were pushed and pulled. It is of course the tensions that result from these politics that define the relations between Central and Eastern European countries. Just imagine the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, which belonged to seven different states durint the 20th century.

Copyright: Google Earth

What Lukashenko the president of Belarus is implying is that Polanmd might want a revision of the borders set after World War II by the Stalin regime. It is certain that such claims are ridiculous and harmful for relations between not only Poland and Belarus, but also the EU and Belarus. It is worthy to note that not so long ago the EU held its Eastern Partnership event in Poland due to the polish presidency of the Council of the European Union. On this meeting the Belarus was criticised for its substantial democtratic deficit. As well as the latest Foreign Council meeting of the EU reaffirmed its restrictions on the BElarus and also made 16 new travel bans and asset freezes. So it is the most likely that noone takes the border row as the main subject of this conversation it is only a way to attack those who we think might have hit us first.  

Oct 16, 2011

Slovak Saga

This weeks big news event (besides of course the Clinton concert...) was the interior politics of Slovakia. At least in the Eurozone and in Central Europe it definitely ruled the week.

In short: what happened was that the prime minister Iveta Radicova gambled on a vote and lost. The Slovak parliament, which is a unicameral body making it Slovakia's top legislative body held a vote on the EFSF commonly known as the packege to save Greece. Radicova is the (was) the prime minister of a four-party coalition cabinet out of which 3 parties decided to vote with a yes to the EFSF, the fourth one SaS decided to vote no, which is no suprise since they even campaigned with voting no in last years election. Topush this party to the furthest possible Radicova chose to gamble with her position and the coalition combining the vote for the EFSF with a vote of confidence. Now here comes the tricky part because the opposition would have been willing to vote for the EFSF, but they didn't want the coalition to survive the vote.

The result: the Radicova cabinet is over with. On Thursday the parliament voted yes for EFSF. Preliminary elections on the 10th of March 2012.

In the bigger picture in Central Europe of course we have to look at the possible outcomes of the election. Right now the top candidate seems to be former prime minister Robert Fico, which is not the best of news for the Hungarian minority living in Slovakia. In the past one year of the Radicova government the tensions between Hungary and Slovakia have lightened. It seems now a great loss that the Híd-Most party who was and advocate of Hungarian related issues will fall out of the government and if Fico comes back it is most likely that the situation of the Hungarian minority will worsen.

Oct 10, 2011

Palestine to become a Member State of UNESCO

Last week UNESCO's 187th Executive Board decided that the General Conference of UNESCO were to vote on the membership of Palestine in the organization.
UNESCO is the UN system's largest agency. It is a crucial intstitution for many Member States as it is the UN authority not only for culture and education, but also for media, which made it play a significant role during and after the arab spring with programs for supporting the new media policies of countries. It is also an organization with one of the best known global projects the World Heritage, which can be of emotional, propagandistic and prestige significance to countries throughout the world.
It seems that the timing for a vote on membership couldn't come at a more crucial time in the organizations history. Just this year a couple month ago US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the organization ast the first US Secretary of State ever to do so. It seemed that the US - UNESCO relations are more than fine. Now Clinton is mentioning in a speech to cut off US funding to UNESCO, which would be a disaster for the organization since the USA is its greatest contributor.
Porcedure is fairly simple now after the Executive Boards decision in only short time at the end of October the General Confrence will commence and it will vote on the issue. Palestine of course needs a two-thirds majority. It is of course not easy to obtain this, but you have to bare in mind no state has a veto in this organ. Will this be Palestine first true step reaching external sovereignty?