On 5 April 2010 the new EU Visa Code became applicable, concerning short-stay visas (for 90 days). The Visa Code affects third-country nationals, who want to travel to the 22 EU states and the three non-EU members of the Schengen area, without internal border controls. More than 10 million visas were issued in 2008.
European officials agreed Sunday to make as much as $40 billion in below-market-rate loans available to Greece, hoping to allay fears about a possible economic collapse in the country.
from Stephen Spillane by Stephen
Third-country nationals legally residing in the Schengen area on the basis of a long-stay visa have been unable to travel to other member states during their stay or to transit through the territories of other (EU) member states when returning to their home country.
Angela Merkel is a Chemist. In her doctoral thesis – entitled ?Untersuchung des Mechanismus von Zerfallsreaktionen mit einfachem Bindungsbruch und Berechnung ihrer Geschwindigkeitskonstanten auf der Grundlage quantenchemischer und statistischer Methoden? – she demonstrated herself to be a thoroughgoing expert when it comes to analysing the speed of disintegration of chemical compounds once the bonds which hold them together are weakened. Unfortunately she is now having to apply all this acquired expertise and know-how in a determined attempt to avoid the break up and falling apart, not of a highly complex chemical substance, but of an even more complex economic and political one, and the bonds which are the focus of all her attention right now are not chemical, but financial and social.
Following the accidental death of President Lech Kaczy?ski, the speaker of the Polish parliament Bronis?aw Komorowski has taken over the affairs of state as acting president. In the eyes of the press this gives the ruling party of which Komorowski is a member enormous power, while the Kaczy?skis’ opposition party faces difficult times.
The right-wing conservative Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz) easily won Hungary’s parliamentary elections on Sunday in Hungary with 52.7 percent of the vote. The governing Socialists only managed to obtain 19.3 percent. The right-wing extremist Jobbik party entered parliament for the first time having gained 16.7 percent. While some commentators see the Right’s victory as the beginning of a new era in Hungary others fear a rude awakening.
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. This phrase keeps springing to mind following the first round of the Hungarian elections on Sunday. The right-wing opposition swept to power in all but one of the 176 constituencies. To put this in perspective, if a first-past-the-post system were used, the Socialist Party (MSZP) would only have 1 MP, out of 176. This does not look like a strong basis for recovery. The right-wing will be able to change the constitution and create a political map of their own making.
Here is my take on the Kaczynski plane crash from this morning’s London Times
April 12, 2010
Behind the grieving faces is a thriving nation
The spotlight on Poland today will burn increasingly brightly in the coming years
A Greek man has taken umbrage over the use of his face on Swedish containers of Turkish yoghurt. The offended party is not interested in reconciliation, either: he has sued Lindahls, the dairy company that puts out the item, for almost $7 million.