Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 02.07.2011 July 2, 2011

from Inside Europe· ·

On this week's program: Has Greece pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy? - Spaniards fight for the roof over their heads - NATO takes stock of its Libya campaign - Holland's coffeeshops stay open to foreigners - Are the Russian police becoming a law unto themselves? - Turkey cracks down on the illegal trade in Islamic artifacts - And a new online course offers Scotch on the rocks.Has Greece pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy?The Greek government has approved a new raft of austerity measures in a bid to stave off bankruptcy. The new austerity drive ...



On this week's program: Has Greece pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy? - Spaniards fight for the roof over their heads - NATO takes stock of its Libya campaign - Holland's coffeeshops stay open to foreigners - Are the Russian police becoming a law unto themselves? - Turkey cracks down on the illegal trade in Islamic artifacts - And a new online course offers Scotch on the rocks.Has Greece pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy?The Greek government has approved a new raft of austerity measures in a bid to stave off bankruptcy. The new austerity drive will see the implementation of 28 billion euros in spending cuts, tax hikes and privatizations.The measures will enable Greece to secure a 12 billion euro loan from the EU and IMF. Dr Spyros Economides specializes in European politics at the London School of Economics. Helen Seeney asked him if the measures were enough to quell Greece's financial woes once and for all.Spaniards fight for the roof over their headsIn Spain, the economic crisis is also continuing to bite. There have been protests around the country against high unemployment and austerity measures. Home repossessions are on the increase as people struggle to make their mortgage payments. This is leaving many in a desperate situation.But a new civic movement is trying to stop the trend with some very direct action. Guy Hedgecoe reports from Madrid. NATO takes stock of its Libya campaignThis week marked the three month anniversary since the start of NATO's military operations in Libya. But after more than 100 days of air strikes, there's still no sign of a breakthrough.And recent civilian casualties have led to accusations that NATO is overstepping its United Nations mandate. Even within the Alliance, some are voicing concern about where the campaign is heading. Vanessa Mock reports from Brussels.German banks face increasing pressure over European bailoutsGovernment officials and senior bank managers across Europe are busy seeking solutions about how to share the burden of ever bigger rescue packages for countries such as Greece. Voluntary involvement of the private sector is the catchphrase in these efforts. German banks are still reluctant about voluntarily writing off billions of euros. But popular pressure is mounting in this country, demanding that taxpayers here shouldn't finance the bailouts alone, as Uwe Hessler reports.Holland's coffeeshops stay open to foreignersThe top court in the Netherlands has ruled that coffeeshops – where you're legally allowed to smoke marijuana – can remain open to everyone, for now. The mayor of the border city of Maastricht used a local by-law to close down a coffeeshop for letting in foreigners, but Wednesday's ruling deemed this to be unlawful.This may sound like a victory for the coffeeshop owners, but it may not last long. Catherine Bolsover reports from Maastricht.Are the Russian police becoming a law unto themselves?Ask any Russian about the police, and the likely response will be that they're corrupt, lazy and potentially dangerous. To improve this tarnished image, Russia's police force are now undergoing a serious reform, initiated by president Dmitry Medvedev.But in spite of these efforts, a majority of Russians don't feel safe at all in the presence of the police. Corruption is rampant and the Moscow-based Public Verdict Foundation says torture is common. Geert Groot Koerkamp has more.Turkey cracks down on the illegal trade in Islamic artifactsThe international market in antique Islamic art is booming. For example, a single page from an historic Koran was recently sold for 200,000 euros. But an increasing number of islamic artifacts are being sold illegally: they've been stolen from mosques or museums.Turkey, with its rich Islamic heritage, offers rich pickings to criminal gangs. And as Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul, the authorities are struggling to curtail this growing market.A new online course offers Scotch on the rocksIf you have access to the internet, 20 hours to spare and like a tipple or two of whisky, then you might want to check out a new educational opportunity.Scotland's Moray College has just launched a unique online course to explain the complexities of Scotch whisky. And it's already attracting interest from around the world. To find out more Helen Seeney spoke to the course's tutor Jim Cryle, an authority on Scotch whisky.Taking aim at an historic Italian football tournamentIn Florence, the final whistle has been blown in an unusual football tournament. The game, called calcio storico or historic football is like no other. It's more of a street brawl than a match. There are just 4 teams, the games take place in June and the players wear medieval costume.The tournament's been played for centuries, but this spectacle is now under threat. Episodes of violence have seen tournaments cancelled, players indicted and avid fans alienated from the game. Jean di Marino has more from Florence.Hitching a ride in Germany's cherished VW BeetleIt's Germany's most beloved old-timer: The Volkswagen Beetle. Around 21 million of them were sold worldwide. In fact for decades the Beetle held the record for the highest sales of any car model, until it was overtaken by the somewhat less cool VW Golf in 2002.40,000 Beetles still populate German roads, kept running by meticulous car lovers and tinkerers. One of them took our reporter Jan Bruck for a ride.