Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 28.05.2011 May 28, 2011

from Inside Europe | Deutsche Welle· ·

On this week's program: Transatlantic ties take a better turn - Barack Obama revives special relationship with UK - Icelandic volcano disrupts European air space - Artists questions Tito's legacy - Spanish bullfighting legend returns - Swiss plan nuclear power phase-out - Turks divided over canal project - Moscow's mystery monument park - Poland to stamp out hooliganism.Transatlantic ties take a better turnThis week, US President Barack Obama embarked on his European tour, culminating in the G8 summit in Deauville.And the world's top eight industrialized nations certainly have a lot to chew on these days: the American and European debt ...



On this week's program: Transatlantic ties take a better turn - Barack Obama revives special relationship with UK - Icelandic volcano disrupts European air space - Artists questions Tito's legacy - Spanish bullfighting legend returns - Swiss plan nuclear power phase-out - Turks divided over canal project - Moscow's mystery monument park - Poland to stamp out hooliganism.Transatlantic ties take a better turnThis week, US President Barack Obama embarked on his European tour, culminating in the G8 summit in Deauville.And the world's top eight industrialized nations certainly have a lot to chew on these days: the American and European debt crisis, the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, the sex scandal that has shaken the foundations of the International Monetary Fund - just to name a few of the hot topics. But just how united is the West these days in the global theater? When Obama took office, many Europeans were convinced that strained transatlantic relations would improve markedly. But have they? Neil King put that question to Almut Moeller, who's the Head of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. Barack Obama revives special relationship with UKThe UK has always been one of America’s staunchest allies in Europe. And as if to stress this historic bond, Barack Obama was treated to a royal welcome with all the trimmings during his visit to London.Obama even addressed both houses of the British parliament in Westminster Hall - becoming the first US president in history to be granted that honor. And as is customary when a US president visits the UK, much of the press attention was devoted to exploring whether the special relationship is indeed still special. Olly Barratt reports from London.Icelandic volcano disrupts European air space, againObama's Europe visit wasn't all that smooth in terms of travel arrangements. His visit coincided with the eruption of another troublesome Icelandic volcano and as a result he was forced to tweak his schedule a bit.Others fared a lot worse. Thousands of passengers were left stranded in European airports, as airspace was closed while the volcanic ash drifted past. The British Isles bore the brunt of flight cancellations, and for many there, this latest bout of bad news from Iceland feels like the last straw, as Lars Bevanger writes in this postcard from Manchester.Artists question legacy of late Yugoslav leader TitoAdmirers of former Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito flocked to his grave on his birthday this week to remember the times that they say were happier, richer and more secure despite lack of democracy.But a group of artists are taking a very different take on Tito's legacy. Nate Tabak has more from Belgrade. Spanish bullfighting legend announces comeback after gory encounterFans of bullfighting in Spain defend it as an historic tradition, but critics say it's nothing short of torturing animals.Votes to ban it in certain regions have divided the country, leaving bullfighting fans with little to celebrate. But that changed this month, when it was announced that the star matador Jose Tomas would return to the bullring after a long lay-off due to serious injury. Fans are now wondering if the charismatic Tomas can restore some luster to bullfighting, which seems to be suffering an unstoppable decline. Guy Hedgecoe reports.Switzerland joins the anti-nuclear lobbyThe Swiss government has announced it will phase out nuclear power, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.Announcing the decision in Berne, Switzerland's energy minister said the country's five existing nuclear power stations would all be closed within the next 23 years, and would not be replaced. Around 40% of Switzerland's energy is supplied by nuclear power – to replace it, the government says it now plans to invest more in renewable energy. Imogen Foulkes reports from Berne.Turks divided over huge construction projectCompared to other countries in Europe, Turkey's future currently appears rather rosy - at least in financial terms. It's so rosy, in fact, that the Turkish premier is promoting a rather costly pet project.General elections are looming in June and Recep Tayyip Erdogan is of course fishing for votes like any other politician. But among the usual promises of more jobs and services comes a truly bizarre construction project. The Prime Minister has promised to build what he describes as the construction project of the century. And as Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul, the so-called "crazy project" is living up to its name.The mystery of Moscow's monument parkRight across the street from one of Russia's most famous landmarks, Gorky Park, lays a grassy area full of fallen statues.Arguably some of Russia's most notorious former leaders are propped up throughout the area. But ironically, next to many of the sculptures, including Stalin and Lenin, there are no explanations of the Communist leaders' crimes, just as if they never happened. Jessica Golloher has the details.Poland vows to stamp out soccer hooliganismThe Polish government has cracked down on an alarming wave of football - as soccer is called here in Europe - hooliganism.Some say the trend could upset the country's plans to co-host the Euro 2012 championship next year. A recent national cup match ended in near-mayhem and in another development rowdy Polish fans fought running battles with the police and demolished a stadium during an away game in neighboring Lithuania. From Warsaw, Rafal Kiepuszewski reports. Scotland's Protestant-Catholic rift feeds violent football rivalryIt's not just Poland where the beautiful game of soccer is blighted by thuggish behavior. But how often do you hear about songs being banned for their offensive content?In Scotland, sectarian chanting and particularly some of the songs sung by fans of the Glasgow Rangers are considered "offensive" and an unacceptable display of anti-Catholic hostility. The historic tension between Celtic and Rangers fans runs deep, and is sometimes even deadly. Maria Bakkalapulo in Glasgow reports on how authorities are increasing their efforts to bridge this divide.