Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs April 30, 2010

from Inside Europe· ·

On today's program: Ukraine's new foreign policy - UK elections become a family affair - Irish scandal grows into epic proportions - Pining for the D-mark - Armenian-Turkish relations hit a new chill - Serbian Wunderkind braves death threats - Hungary's shift to the right bad news for the country's Roma - French prostitutes protest proposal to legalize brothels - Pasta remains popularUkraine's new FM outlines his country's foreign policyThe Ukrainian parliament this week ratified a landmark deal with Russia which extends the Kremlin's lease for a key naval base in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. In exchange, Ukraine will receive a ...



On today's program: Ukraine's new foreign policy - UK elections become a family affair - Irish scandal grows into epic proportions - Pining for the D-mark - Armenian-Turkish relations hit a new chill - Serbian Wunderkind braves death threats - Hungary's shift to the right bad news for the country's Roma - French prostitutes protest proposal to legalize brothels - Pasta remains popularUkraine's new FM outlines his country's foreign policyThe Ukrainian parliament this week ratified a landmark deal with Russia which extends the Kremlin's lease for a key naval base in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. In exchange, Ukraine will receive a 30 percent discount on Russian gas imports.The so-called lease for gas deal is very controversial in Ukraine and the ratification in parliament on Tuesday was disrupted by smoke bombs and scuffles among lawmakers. Critics say the deal is a betrayal of Ukraine's national interests. But the newly elected government of President Victor Yanukovich has stressed that the deal constitutes a win-win-situation for all parties involved. The day the deal was ratified, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko gave Inside Europe an exclusive interview at the Deutsche Welle studios in Bonn. Neil King asked him just how crucial this agreement is for Ukraine.UK elections become a family affairIn the UK, the race for Number 10 Downing Street is entering its final phase. Opinion polls suggest it will be a very tight race indeed.As Britain's political leaders gear up for Thursday's general election, their latest secret weapon seems to be their wives. The better halves have become increasingly visible on the campaign trail, standing by their man. But could a woman's touch be the make or break factor in what is the closest run parliamentary election for decades? Lars Bevanger reports from Manchester.Irish scandal grows into epic proportionsIn Ireland, some prominent people are nervously awaiting the publication of a report into political corruption.A tribunal of enquiry headed by Justice Michael Moriarty is close to completing an investigation into the most lucrative contract ever awarded by the Irish state. This was the license to operate a mobile phone network granted to the Esat Digifone consortium in 1996. However, the enquiry itself is controversial, because it has gone on for over 13 years, costing the taxpayer more than 100 million euros. Peter Hegarty has the details from Dublin.Postcard from Europe: Pining for the D-markGreece's financial crisis has sent shockwaves through the euro zone, with the single currency this week plunging to its lowest level against the dollar in over a year.Although Germany's key export sector generally profits from a weaker euro, Germans are once again getting all nostalgic about a dear, departed old friend: the D-mark. As Kyle James reports in this postcard from Berlin, Germans still have plenty of deutschmarks stashed away - just in case. Armenian-Turkish relations hit a new chillLast weekend, Armenians around the world commemorated what they call "Genocide Remembrance Day." It was the 95th anniversary marking the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One.Armenians say that more than a million people died. But Turkey insists the number was far smaller, and denies that the killings were orchestrated. This year's events followed a decision by the Armenian president to suspend a controversial reconciliation process aimed at normalizing relations with Turkey and reopening the border between the two countries. Matthew Collin has the details from the Armenian capital Yerevan.Serbian Wunderkind braves death threats by nationalistsSerbia is a country where nationalism still runs deep and liberal pro-westerners are in the minority.Support for Kosovan independence and NATO membership aren't ideas you'd find in abundance among public opinion there. But that minority has a new vocal advocate: a 12-year-old boy who has shot to fame by campaigning for pro-western policies. His comments haven't gone down well with Serb nationalists. But as Mark Lowen reports from Belgrade, violent threats won't deter this courageous young man.Hungary's shift to the right is bad news for the country's RomaHungary is home to one of Central Europe's largest Roma populations, estimated at around 500,000 or about six percent of the population. Discrimination is a daily fact of life for the Roma, and has worsened since the fall of communism.The economic crisis and the rise of the far right Jobbik party, which came in third in last week's election, have made things even more precarious. Roma rights activists claim that to crack the cycle of discrimination, poverty, and unemployment, there has to be fundamental change in the way young Roma are schooled. As Paul Hockenos reports from Budapest, segregation in Hungary's elementary schools is very common. French prostitutes protest proposal to legalize brothelsIn France, a female politician from the ruling UMP party has suggested that brothels be reintroduced.Chantal Brunel argues that such a move would better protect prostitutes from violence and exploitation. France outlawed brothels in 1946. Ever since then, prostitutes have been forced to seek out clients on the street, and more recently on the Internet. Polls suggest the French public is behind Brunel. But prostitutes aren't. Genevieve Oger has more from Paris. Pasta remains popular - in all formsThe Italian city of Bologna earlier this week hosted the first world pasta fair.Hundreds of pasta producers and exporters, as well as plain old pasta lovers gathered in the northern Italian city to talk about - and taste - their favorite food. Megan Williams was there and has this report on what makes pasta an ever popular food.