Publications

The European Commission (EC) in its Convergence Report, published on 12 May, put forward a motion about Estonia joining the euro zone in 2011. The final decision in this issue will be taken by the finance ministers of the EU countries at the beginning of July this year but it seems that the switch from the Estonian kroon to the euro from 1 January 2011 is already sealed. The introduction of the euro will be a great success of the centre-right government of Andrus Ansip and may contribute to the victory of the ruling parties in the parliamentary election planned for March 2011.

Analyses
2010-05-19

On 4 May the administrative court of Baden-Wurttemberg issued a verdict that the fact of belonging to the Catholic Church in Germany is linked with paying a church fee. The provision makes it impossible to stop paying the fee prior to leaving the Church. A retired professor of canonical law from Freiburg, Hartmut Zapp, attempted to question the provision. However, the administrative court of Baden-Wurttemberg, favourable to the position of the Church, rejected the lawyer's arguments.
Analyses
2010-05-19

Street protests are escalating against the government of Sali Berisha who, according to the opposition, rigged the results of the parliamentary election in June 2009. In Tirana, on 14 May another demonstration of the opposition Social Democratic Party (PS) was held. Approximately 10,000 people took part in it. Demonstrations were also organised in other towns in the country. A growing political crisis may affect the assessment of Albania's motion for EU membership.
Analyses
2010-05-19

On 17 May, the Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan paid a visit to Baku, where he met President Ilham Aliev. The visit’s main aim was to build up his country’s strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, which has been undermined by the Turkish/Armenian rapprochement which was forced through over the last year by Ankara.
Analyses
2010-05-19

On 14 May a mass protest, in which between 1500 and 3000 people took part, took place in Mezhdurechensk (Kemerovo oblast), after the disaster in the Raspadskaya mine in which 66 miners and rescue workers died (a further 24 are as yet unaccounted for). On that same day, clashes with the police took place, and a group of demonstrators who blocked the railway lines was arrested. Despite the district authorities’ declaration of their willingness to make concessions, an escalation of the protest was announced; this proves that the authorities’ reaction was insufficient, and the situation in the mines may be a source of social protests.
Analyses
2010-05-19

On 11 May, Georgian television released the results of an opinion poll for the elections to mayor of Tbilisi, planned for 30 May. According to the published data, the highest support (57%) is enjoyed by Gigi Ugulava, the candidate of the ruling party, who has held that office since 2005. The most popular opposition candidate, Irakli Alasania, can count on a mere 7% of the vote. The poll results confirm the Georgian opposition’s weak position and its poor chances of a good result in the upcoming elections.
Analyses
2010-05-19

On 13 May, President Dmitri Medvedev appointed General Vladimir Rushailo to the position of special representative for relations with Kyrgyzstan. Next day, Rushailo paid his first visit to Bishkek. The creation of this position gives Moscow a strong instrument for an active policy in crisis-hit Kyrgyzstan.
Analyses
2010-05-19

On 13-14 May, opponents of the interim government took over the local government buildings and blockaded airfields in the main towns of Kyrgyzstan’s southern districts. The authorities regained control thanks to the deployment of internal troops (in Osh) and the use of its own supporters (in Jalalabad). Three people died and several dozens were injured in the clashes. The interim government called these events an attempt at counter-revolution funded by representatives of the regime of Kurmanbek Bakiev, who was overthrown on 7 April. Irrespective of the real causes, these events confirmed the weakness of the government’s control over the country.
Analyses
2010-05-19

A joint declaration signed by the presidents of Ukraine and Russia, Viktor Yanukovych and Dmitri Medvedev, on 17 May concerning the conflict between Moldova and Transnistria marks a significant change in Ukraine’s attitude and its shift towards the Russian position on this issue. The announcement of this declaration, one week before the meeting of all interested parties (the so-called 5+2 format) scheduled for 25 May, suggests that Russia is taking advantage of a change in the ruling team in Kyiv and the lack of political stability in Chisinau to activate its policy towards the frozen conflict in Moldova. It is possible that Moscow is counting on bringing about a resolution to the conflict on its own terms. In turn, the concessions from Kyiv are opportunistically motivated, and for the time being, largely declarative. The declaration does not mean that in the future Kyiv will necessarily provide Moscow with consistent support in this matter.
Analyses
2010-05-19

During the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s visit to Turkey on 11-12 May, a range of agreements was signed, the most important concerning the construction and use by Russia of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu. The results of the visit showed that Russia’s increased presence on the Turkish energy market is key instrument of Moscow building up its political influence in Turkey.
Analyses
2010-05-19

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