Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 12.03.2011 March 19, 2011

from Inside Europe· ·

This week: Impact of Arab uprisings on region’s Christian minorities - Saudi expats in London and the next revolution - Is the writing on the wall for Czech bookworms? - Oldies in Britain teach younger people a thing or two about how to do business - Who stands to profit from talks between Serbia and Kosovo? - Calls for Germans to reassess their colonial past - The generation divide in Italy What do the Arab uprisings mean for the region’s Christian minorities?This week bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians left over a dozen people dead and more than 100 injured ...



This week: Impact of Arab uprisings on region’s Christian minorities - Saudi expats in London and the next revolution - Is the writing on the wall for Czech bookworms? - Oldies in Britain teach younger people a thing or two about how to do business - Who stands to profit from talks between Serbia and Kosovo? - Calls for Germans to reassess their colonial past - The generation divide in Italy What do the Arab uprisings mean for the region’s Christian minorities?This week bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians left over a dozen people dead and more than 100 injured in Egypt. The violence is the latest in a spate of sectarian clashes, however, it’s the first since the fall of Mubarak’s regime. But it’s not just Egypt where the Christian minorities are subject to attacks and recriminations. Over the past decade the Christian exodus from North Africa and the Middle East has been gathering speed. But what do the recent peoples’ uprisings in the Arab world mean for the struggling Christian minorities in these regions. Neil King put that question to Father Bernardo Cervellera, who is the Director of the Vatican affiliated website Asia News.Saudi expats in London are hoping for the next revolutionThe sharp rise in the price of oil over the past two weeks reflects a deep-seated anxiety. Investors are fretting about a nightmare scenario. They fear that the wave of unrest sweeping across the Arab world could soon affect Saudi Arabia. This would affect us all. The Desert Kingdom pumps 12% of the world’s oil supply and sits on 20% of known reserves. But reading the mood in Saudi Arabia isn’t easy. Foreign reporting from inside the country has been restricted. To shed some light on the current political climate there our reporter Stephen Beard has been sounding out members of the world’s largest Saudi expatriate community in London. Calls for Roman Catholic Church to relax rulesIn Germany, calls are going out for the Catholic church to rethink some of its basic principles, including the rule of celibacy for priests. Many say the German church is experiencing a period of crisis. It's been rocked by sex and abuse scandals, and no longer even has enough priests to serve its parishes. These days, even more traditional-minded Catholics in Germany have begun calling for far-reaching reform. Kyle James has this report.Is the writing on the wall for Czech bookworms?How do you solve the dilemma facing countries across Europe – that people are living longer and governments are running out of money to pay for pensions? Well, the Czech finance ministry thinks it has the answer: raise VAT across the board. It means that if the change is passed by parliament, from October 1st almost everything except for basic foodstuffs will suddenly become more expensive - including books. And in a nation of readers, the idea is provoking quite a stir. Rob Cameron has more.Who stands to profit from talks between Serbia and Kosovo?This week Serbia and Kosovo launched their first direct talks since Kosovo’s declaration of independence three years ago. Kosovo was the scene of brutal fighting in the late 1990s, before NATO stepped in and ousted Serbian forces from the disputed territory. Although most EU member states as well as the US have recognized Kosovo as an independent state, Serbia still regards it as its southern province. However, the historic talks brokered by the EU and taking place in Brussels are focusing on everyday issues rather than Kosovo’s disputed status quo. So, what can these talks actually achieve in real terms if the parties are sidestepping the main issue? Neil King put that question to Mark Lowen our Balkans correspondent in Belgrade.Calls for Germans to reassess their country’s colonial pastWe’re all accustomed to seeing streets named after famous historical figures. Here in Germany, for example, street names reflect luminaries such as Beethoven, Einstein and Goethe. But some lesser-known street names merit more scrutiny. A person called Nachtigal, it turns out, was sent by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to establish German colonies in west Africa during the late 19th century. In the German capital, an organization called Berlin Post-Colonial has staged a traveling exhibition to call attention to the streets and public squares that honor Germans linked to exploitation, repression and even genocide in Africa, when Germany’s colonial possessions included today’s Tanzania, Togo, Cameroun and Namibia. From Berlin, Alexa Dvorson reports on a call for debate over controversial street names from a chapter of history that’s often overlooked.How the generation divide in Italy is fuelling resentment.Italians are world renowned for their love of family. Those big multi-generational meals around the table, with mum cooking up a storm and the grown kids living in the comfort of home until marriage. Well, that’s the cliché at least. The truth is a bit more complicated. It’s a country with one of the oldest populations in Europe and it’s also a country with the highest unemployment rate of young people. That’s created some long-simmering resentment. As Megan Williams reports, it’s resentment that’s now slipping into a generation confrontation. Both on the streets and in the press.The older generation in Britain is teaching younger people a thing or two about how to do businessWell, in the UK a growing number of older people are proving they still have what it takes to do business. They’re setting up their own companies and are known as 'Granny' entrepreneurs. Starting a business during a recession is normally bad timing, but experts say older people have an advantage: maturity gives them the experience and the self-confidence to let instinct rule their decision-making. The demographic crunch, the rise in retirement age, and the fact that employers are reluctant to recruit older people are all contributing to this growing trend in 'granny' entrepreneurs. Nina-Maria Potts reports.