Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 18.12.2010 Dec. 18, 2010

from Inside Europe | Deutsche Welle· ·

On today's program: Berlusconi clings onto power - Compensation for victims of institutional abuse in Germany - Swiss army's purpose debated - A glimpse into Europe's last dictatorship - Greece's Irish community torn - Many British Ghanaians see a better life in Africa - Emigration threatens to thin out Latvia - Sarkozy puts his stamp on French history - Chinese artists embrace BerlinBerlusconi clings onto powerThere were violent protests in Rome this week after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly won a no-confidence vote in the lower house of parliament.The vote followed the rebellion of speaker of parliament Gianfranco Fini who ...



On today's program: Berlusconi clings onto power - Compensation for victims of institutional abuse in Germany - Swiss army's purpose debated - A glimpse into Europe's last dictatorship - Greece's Irish community torn - Many British Ghanaians see a better life in Africa - Emigration threatens to thin out Latvia - Sarkozy puts his stamp on French history - Chinese artists embrace BerlinBerlusconi clings onto powerThere were violent protests in Rome this week after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly won a no-confidence vote in the lower house of parliament.The vote followed the rebellion of speaker of parliament Gianfranco Fini who left the ruling coalition with his allies earlier this year. The Prime Minister's victory ignited running street battles between hundreds of anti-Berlusconi protesters and riot police in which almost 200 people were injured. But as Megan Williams reports from Rome, Berlusconi's survival of the confidence vote is no guarantee of longer term political survival.Compensation for victims of institutional abuse in GermanyTens of thousands of children and youths in postwar West Germany were beaten, humiliated, sexually abused and forced to do compulsory labor.At the time - during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s - they were wards of the state and in foster homes or church-run homes. Most were wartime orphans and the children of single mothers. This week, a government-appointed panel in Berlin presented the results of two years of round-table negotiations on compensating these victims of institutional abuse. The panel recommended that 120 million euros be set aside for the estimated 30,000 victims expected to file abuse claims. Heidi Dettinger is the secretary of the Association of Former Home Children or VEH. Helen Seeney asked her why it had taken so long for this compensation to be approved.Swiss army's purpose debatedIn neutral Switzerland, calls are growing to scrap, or at least reduce, the country's national military service.All Swiss men must serve in the army, starting at the age of 19 with a five-month stint, and returning every year for several weeks until they're 30. That means an army of 180,000 for a country of just 7.5 million - too big, and too expensive, say critics. Imogen Foulkes has more.Postcard: A personal glimpse of BelarusThe people of Belarus go to the polls this Sunday. The country's leader, Alexander Lukashenko will no doubt be returned to power for the fourth time.He's ruled this former Soviet state since 1994 and is usually described as Europe's last dictator. Lukashenko exercises tight control over the country and any opposition to him is stifled. Very few foreigners have had the opportunity to visit Belarus. But Kyle James has been there and has this Postcard on his personal impressions of Minsk, the capital of Belarus.Greece's Irish community tornGreek workers went on strike this week, paralyzing public transport, grounding flights and closing schools. They were protesting, yet again, against labor reforms and austerity measures to dig the country out of its debt crisis.There'll be more cutbacks as Greece tries to balance its books. And one result is likely to be an increase in the number of young Greeks emigrating. But what about young Irish immigrants who live in Greece? Ireland is also in a financial mess. And many Irish people working in Greece are asking themselves "should I stay or should I go back home?" Malcolm Brabant has been finding out more in Athens.Emigration threatens to thin out LatviaThousands of eastern Europeans have flocked to Ireland in recent years, for example Latvians.But as a result of tough times in Ireland, many are toying with the idea of going home. And that could be good news for Latvia. There are concerns that too many Latvians have emigrated. And a new study suggests that the country's population could decrease by 90 percent over the next hundred years if the current mortality and birth rates stay the same. From Riga, Ģederts Ģelzis reports.Many British Ghanaians see a better life in AfricaThe UK is home to immigrants from all over the world. Many have been there for decades, others are more recent arrivals.But it seems a growing number of British entrepreneurs of Ghanaian descent are leaving the UK, and moving to Ghana. They're looking for a better quality of life for themselves and their families. Pointing to new business opportunities for dual citizens like them, they say they can offer skills and expertise - which they've acquired in Britain - as well as a willingness to invest long-term. And some British Ghanaians talk of poor education in the UK and a lack of good job prospects. They say it's time to leave, despite having no experience of living in Africa at all. Nina-Maria Potts has more.Sarkozy puts his stamp on French historyFrance is in the process of creating a new national museum. The house of French History is one of President Nicolas Sarkozy's pet projects.It was even part of his election platform in 2007. But several prominent historians have come out against the project. They fear the museum will not be neutral and will be used to push the historical views French politicians want put forward. Genevieve Oger has more from Paris.Chinese artists embrace BerlinChinese artists are prominent amongst the many groups of ex pats who have made Berlin their home over the past years.For them, the German capital often comes to represent an ideal of Western freedom and individualism which fuses with their own Eastern tradition to create new and innovative works of art. From Berlin, Neale Lytollis reports.