Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 26.02.2011 March 5, 2011

from Inside Europe· ·

This week: Are European weapons fuelling conflict in North Africa? - Italy and African refugees - A Czech festival against evil and violence - Would you rather live in Vienna or Belgrade? - Turkish journalists are pressed into a tight corner - A UK university open to cash strapped students- US inspires French universities - Are the Greeks losing their marbles? - A Chinese take on Italian gelato Are European weapons fuelling conflict in North Africa?While popular uprisings continue to sweep across the Arab world, European governments are gradually turning away from some of their former allies in the region. ...



This week: Are European weapons fuelling conflict in North Africa? - Italy and African refugees - A Czech festival against evil and violence - Would you rather live in Vienna or Belgrade? - Turkish journalists are pressed into a tight corner - A UK university open to cash strapped students- US inspires French universities - Are the Greeks losing their marbles? - A Chinese take on Italian gelato Are European weapons fuelling conflict in North Africa?While popular uprisings continue to sweep across the Arab world, European governments are gradually turning away from some of their former allies in the region. Gas and oil deals have been instrumental in nurturing the unholy alliance of democratic European states with Arab dictatorships. Undemocratic regimes in North Africa grew rich with western support and they in turn used their accumulated wealth to buy state-of-the-art weaponry from European companies. The Libyan regime’s violent crackdown on the protest movement has left hundreds of people dead, allegedly with western weapons. Kaye Stearman is with the London-based organization CAAT, which stands for Campaign Against Arms Trade. She told Neil King more about the European-Arab weapons link. Is Europe doing enough to help African refugees?With the violence and chaos in North Africa, European attention is focusing more strongly on the migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italian soil. The European Commission is now offering assistance in identifying the North Africans and processing refugee claims. But what happens to those who gain refugee status? As Megan Williams reports from Rome, their situation in Europe can be almost as hopeless as the one they left behind. The Czechs celebrate a festival against evil and violenceThe Czech capital Prague is remembering the long winter of Communism this week with an unusual multi-media festival called Mene Tekel. Hebrew for ‘the writing on the wall’, the festival – now in its fifth year - bills itself as ‘an international festival against totalitarianism, evil and violence’. Films, concerts, exhibitions and even reconstructions of Stalinist show trials are on hand in what the organizers say is an attempt to preserve the memory of the nation. Rob Cameron has more.A tale of two cities - Would you rather live in Vienna or Belgrade?Where’s the best place in the world to live? Well, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vancouver in Canada ticks all the boxes. This annual survey judges cities on the basis of stability, health care, culture, environment, education, infrastructure and personal safety. The top European city this year is Vienna in Austria, which came in at third place. But the Serbian capital, Belgrade, didn’t fare so well. It was the European city that scored the least number of points on the liveability scale. We asked our correspondents in both cities to tell us how they score Vienna and Belgrade. And we begin with Kerry Skyring in the Austrian capital.Journalists in Turkey are pressed into a tight cornerFreedom of the press in Turkey has come under international scrutiny, following the arrest and jailing of three journalists critical of the government. Human-rights groups claim more than 50 journalists are in jail for their reporting. But the Turkish government argues it needs tight press control because it is facing the twin threats of terrorism and attempts to topple Turkish democracy. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.The UK university that’s open to cash strapped studentsFrom next year, British universities will be able to charge tuition fees of around 11,000 euros a year. That's more than triple the amount they're currently allowed to charge. This move towards what's seen as a more US-style model of college funding started about 5 years ago with the introduction of much lower tuition fees. But with students not used to the idea of racking up debts before the age of 21, many have turned to other alternatives. One distance learning university that turned 40 last year has seen a large increase in the number of younger students. Nik Martin reports from Milton Keynes.French universities look to the US for inspirationHigher education in France is also changing. Over the past decade, the university system there has been simplified and overhauled. As a result, both public and private institutions are now having to compete for students and staff. So they’re adopting the American approach and getting into branding and self-promotion. Some universities are already selling branded sweatshirts and other accessories and others plan to do so in the near future. Claire Laval-Jocteur is communications officer at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris which is now selling promotional products. She told Neil King more about the French love affair with US-style promotion.Italian gelato with a Chinese twistIce cream and China – those two words don't often appear together in the same sentence. But some historians say ice cream was actually invented in ancient China for an emperor.Some of the more controversial academics say Marco Polo introduced ice cream to Italy after a visit to China. Whatever the historical truth may be, Italy's artisanal gelato makers are today's undisputed champions of ice cream. And the businesspeople most interested in learning how gelato is made are, ironically, Chinese. Dany Mitzman traveled to the north Italian seaside resort of Rimini to learn more about this cross-cultural exchange… and to eat some ice cream.Are the Greeks losing their marbles?Last month, another round of restoration work got underway on the Acropolis in Athens. Greece may be struggling to ward off financial collapse but the authorities are continuing with their ambitious plan to return the monument back to its original glory. Much of the work involves the repair or replacement of marble and this is a very specialized job. But marble working skills are under threat in Greece. A small school on the island of Tinos, though, is trying to keep them alive, as Malcolm Brabant reports.