Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 27.02.2010 Feb. 20, 2010

from Inside Europe· ·

On today's programme: NATO's Afghanistan mission brings down the Dutch government - The hunt for oil is fuelling a new Falklands crisis - Cypriots are spellbound by a murder trial - Turkey and Armenia struggle to bridge their historic divide - Is the writing on the wall for Rome’s graffiti artists? - Poland pays tribute to Chopin - Is Switzerland rubbing up Europe the wrong way?
NATO's Afghanistan mission brings down the Dutch government

The Dutch governing coalition collapsed last weekend after Labour members refused to support an extension of the Netherlands' troop presence in Afghanistan. This means that ...



On today's programme: NATO's Afghanistan mission brings down the Dutch government - The hunt for oil is fuelling a new Falklands crisis - Cypriots are spellbound by a murder trial - Turkey and Armenia struggle to bridge their historic divide - Is the writing on the wall for Rome’s graffiti artists? - Poland pays tribute to Chopin - Is Switzerland rubbing up Europe the wrong way?
NATO's Afghanistan mission brings down the Dutch government

The Dutch governing coalition collapsed last weekend after Labour members refused to support an extension of the Netherlands' troop presence in Afghanistan. This means that Dutch troops are likely to pull out as planned this August.

But what does this mean for NATO? Could the Dutch withdrawal have a domino effect in other NATO member states? Neil King put that question to Heinz Schulte, a German defence analyst.

The hunt for oil is fuelling a new Falklands crisis

The Falkland Islands are back in the headlines. British oil companies are hoping to find an estimated 60 billion barrels of oil just north of the archipelago.

A British oil rig started drilling earlier this week, despite strong objections from Argentina and other Latin American countries. Argentina and Britain went to war over the islands in 1982 with Britain ousting an Argentine invasion force. Since then bilateral relations have improved somewhat. However, if oil is indeed found, and in the quantities mentioned, tensions are likely to soar. Olly Barratt has this report from London.

France shrugs off concerns over the planned sale of a warship to Russia

The proposed French sale of a warship to Russia is making waves among NATO allies, especially in Eastern Europe.

The French Mistral-class warship is an amphibious assault vessel which could greatly boost Moscow's military power. If the deal goes through, it would be the first time that a NATO ally has sold advanced military equipment to Russia. Eleanor Beardsley has the details from Paris.

Cypriots are spellbound by a murder trial

Cypriots have been keenly following a murder case that bears all the hallmarks of a gripping crime novel. A brutal murder. An attractive blonde and revenge.

What makes this case so compelling to Cypriots is that the attractive blonde is a well-known newsreader and the dead man was her boss and a media mogul. Tabitha Morgan has this postcard from Nicosia.

A marathon effort on the ivories

If you don't like piano music, Laura Weider from Berlin would be your nightmare neighbour. Laura has a problem: she just can't stop playing the piano.

In fact she's so good at this that last year she smashed the Guinness Record for the world's longest piano concert raising the bar from 27 to 40 hours. Neale Lytollis, never one to pass on an opportunity to tinkle the ivories, went to Laura's favourite bar in Berlin to meet her.

Is Bosnia on the brink of breaking up?

Bosnia-Herzegovina is facing one of its worst political crises since the end of the Bosnian war 15 years ago.

The hostilities may be over, but Bosnia remains a divided country and these divisions could result in another territorial shakeup. Earlier this month Bosnian Serbs passed a law which could eventually lead to a referendum on independence. Mark Lowen sent us this report from Sarajevo.

Turkey and Armenia struggle to bridge their historic divide.

The president of Armenia, Serzh Sarkisian, has urged neighbouring Turkey to honour an historic bilateral agreement to establish diplomatic relations.

The deal could put an end to a century of hostilities following the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I. Protocols for the deal were agreed by the two governments last year, but so far their parliaments have failed to ratify them. So, is the historic thawing of Turkish-Armenian relations in for a new cold spell? Matthew Collin has the details from the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

Is Switzerland rubbing up Europe the wrong way?

Switzerland has been having a bad time lately. The small Alpine nation has been slammed by EU partners over its widening diplomatic row with Libya. It has been caught up in a tax fraud row with Germany. And a recent referendum to ban minarets on mosques also raised eyebrows in neighbouring countries.

So, is Switzerland just going through a bad patch or has there been a shift in Swiss policy? Neil King put that question to Professor Marcelo Kohen, from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Is the writing on the wall for Rome's graffiti artists?

Italy's capital Rome has declared war on graffiti. This month, Rome's mayor passed a stringent new anti-graffiti law with whopping fines for anyone caught spray painting city walls or selling paint cans to minors.

Culprits will also have to scrub off the paint within two weeks. Similar measures have been taken in other Italian cities. But big fines and threats have done little to curb the practice. That's why one small group of students and one fed-up American have opted for a different approach. Megan Williams has this report from Rome.

Poland pays tribute to a 200-year-old home-grown musical genius

Poland is celebrating a special anniversary this year. The 200th birthday of Frederic Chopin.

Nationwide events devoted to the Polish-born composer are planned throughout the year. This includes a series of festivals, the opening of a new Chopin museum in Warsaw and the premiere of a movie which combines Chopin's music with three dimensional animation. Maybe it's just as well as that the festivities are spread over the entire year. After all, Chopin has two birthday dates. Rafal Kiepuszweski has the details from Warsaw.