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Debts after the collapse of the country of Yugoslavia into independent states grew 4.5 fold: from 20 to 90 billion Euros. An article in the Slovenian newspaper "Diary" recently covered this. The new countries in the Balkans are in a debt trap from which they will not be able to escape for a very long time.

Slovenia became a champion - a member of the EU since May 2004. Today, the debt of this “country on the sunny side of the Alps” is 28.8 billion Euros. However, in Ljubljana this is not viewed as a particular cause for concern. The Government believes that Slovenia’s economic potential can repay the loans on time. The population finds it difficult to believe in such optimism. After all, the interest debt is growing every day. Leading economists estimate that by the end of 2014 Slovenia will owe the IMF and other lending institutions in Europe, 81 per cent of its GDP.

The outcome of the French municipal elections of March 2014 and the European elections of May 2014 will require action from France’s government  for the rest of Hollande’s charge.

Two events embody and manifest the present state of France: the national municipal elections of March 23 and 30, and the European elections of May 22-25, 2014.

First, if the French municipal elections of March 23 and 30 have given one clear indication of what to expect from the three years remaining of President François Hollande’s tenure, it is that the galloise left is in full retreat. The Parti Socialiste (PS) under François Hollande lost the French municipal elections of March 2014 in a landslide due to mismanagement, unaltered bureaucracy, and authoritarian behavior. Their defeat was also due to their failure to accomplish the reforms promised during the 2012 presidential election campaign. It indirectly also empowered its opponent, the radical right of the anti-European and ultra right Front National (FN) led by Marine Le Pen. Front National scored up to 47 percent in cities like Béziers in Southern France, gained twelve city mayors as well as 1,546 and 459 councilors at two different levels of local government, and was installed as third-largest party of France. Other cities conquered by FN were Reims, Quimper, and Angers. A jubilant Le Pen stated that “this is the greatest success in our history.”

According to Karl Aiginger, the director of Vienna’s Economic Research Institute Wifo and adviser of the European Union, after five years of debt and currency crisis, Europe in May 2014 has arrived back at the point of 2009 when the worst started.

That means that the


Exclusive: As the post-coup regime in Ukraine sends troops and paramilitaries to crack down on ethnic Russian protesters in the east, the U.S. news media continues to feed the American public a steady dose of anti-Russian propaganda, often wrapped in accusations of “Russian propaganda,” Robert Parry reports.

The acting president of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is ordering an “anti-terrorist” operation against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, while his national security chief says he has dispatched right-wing ultranationalist fighters who spearheaded the Feb. 22 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

I recently re-visited Serbia on a business trip. In Belgrade, as usual, the people live a modest life. The only pleasure which the Serbs have never denied themselves, and apparently will not give up, is a chat over a cup of coffee in the numerous and very cozy cafes . They are always

I think the Geneva meeting was a belated realization of something the ex-president Viktor Yanukovich suggested doing back in November 2013, when the first scandals around his refusal to sign the Associsation Agreement with the EU erupted. At the time (which looks like a distant epoche now) he suggested TRILATERAL negotiations between Ukraine, the EU and Russia, to sort out all the differences. The EU then refused, saying that Russia was one party too many at the talks. The coup d'etat, the takeover of Crimea and the Ukrainian East's own Maidan became consequences of this refusal to (tri)dialogue. In Geneva, there was not only a trilateral meeting, but one more important party joined - the United States. But there is agian one more party still missing - the representatives of the East Ukrainian protesters. This time, Russia suggested their participation and the US said it was one party too many. That means that the protest in Eastern Ukraine will continue, since the grievances of these people won't be addressed. (Why? Because the registered desire of the Geneva meeting to "disarm all the illegal armed formations" will be interpreted by the Ukrainian government as being directed against the pro-Russian protesters in the East in the first place. And the promise of "inclusive" constitution is too vague to include what the protesters want - federalization and more rights for the Russian language). By refusing to see the REAL grievances of Russian-speaking Ukrainians (and Russians before them), the Western partners of Ukraine multiply the number of aggrieved parties. And each time they finally agree to let the "unloved" party to access the talks (like they agreed to invite the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to Geneva), it is already too late. By that time, the situation degenerates further, with new aggrieved sides appearing in bad need to have their voice at the talks (again denied by the EU and the US). The conflict in the East of Ukraine won't stop, until the Western parties learn to see it as a genuine protest and not a Russian “incursion.”

Ukrainian Government Retakes Buildings Occupied by Secessionists

 

Top News: The Ukrainian government in Kiev said this morning that they had regained control over government buildings seized yesterday by pro-Russian separatists in Kharkiv. Government buildings in the eastern

The main core of the book Af-Pak: the challenge of stability (Francesco Brunello Zanitti, Af-Pak: la sfida della stabilità, Fuoco Edizioni/IsAG, Rome 2014) is the presentation of future hypothetical scenarios of Afghanistan and Pakistan, considering ISAF’s withdrawal

The causes of Moscow’s action in the Ukrainian crisis are much more complicated than that represented by the stereotypical analysis in the Western media and academic circles.

The dominant discourse in the U.S. and Europe is a consensus that the Kremlin is commanded by one man