December 6, 2023

European leaders try to stop Orbán derailing Ukraine’s EU accession bid

Hungary’s PM, the union’s most pro-Russian leader, wants the issue off the agenda of a summit next weekEuropean leaders are scrambling to rescue a plan to begin European Union accession negotiations for Ukraine, as Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, vows to block the decision at a summit of EU leaders next week.The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is due to host Orbán for dinner in Paris on Thursday, while the European Council president, Charles Michel, was in Budapest last week looking for a way out of the impasse. Continue reading...
November 19, 2023

Kinderland by Liliana Corobca review – a bleak but beautiful tale of survival

A 12-year-old girl is obliged to care for her younger siblings in a powerful novel about rural destitution on the edge of EuropeLiliana Corobca’s Kinderland is the story of three children in contemporary Moldova whose parents have gone abroad to work. The novel opens with the middle child, Dan, crying because there’s a tick on his stomach. His sister, Cristina, who narrates the book, doesn’t know how to remove it and so she goes out into the street, asking for help. We at once get a sense of the precariousness of their existence, the dangers that surround them. Cristina is 12 when Kinderland begins, Dan is six and Marcel a toddler. Cristina looks after not just her brothers, but also the pig, dog, cat and chickens that the family depend upon.The book is structured without chapters, nor with any strong sense of narrative progression; rather, it works by accretion, taking us into the small moments of sublimity and loss that make up Cristina’s life. We learn that the family’s father is in Siberia, the mother working as a nanny in Italy. “Mom said she’d go for a year or two, until Dad pays off his debts. Then she left, and that year or two never seems to end.” We understand that the children’s situation is symptomatic of a deep malaise in this forgotten corner of rural destitution. Everyone is leaving: for the capital, Chişinău, for “long money” abroad, for other villages – even the priests are going to “other villages where people were stupider and more willing to give them money”. Those who stay drink, argue and beat their children. Whenever her brothers miss their father, Cristina takes them to watch a dad who has stayed as he drunkenly lays into his children: it’s a bleak existence redeemed by the narrator’s tenderness and resourcefulness. “Hold up your heart with just the tips of your fingers and blow on it hard, until it flies away to Mom,” she tells her brothers. Continue reading...
November 9, 2023

The Guardian view on the EU and Ukraine: creating a new Europe will take time | Editorial

Brussels was right to recommend that accession talks should begin with Kyiv. But the road ahead will be long and complexResponding to recent talk of “war fatigue” in the west, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently acknowledged the gruelling nature of the attritional conflict that has been forced on Ukraine by Vladimir Putin. “Everyone is getting tired,” Mr Zelenskiy said at a press conference in Kyiv last weekend, held jointly with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. Nevertheless, he added, he was confident that support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russian forces remained robust.That view was vindicated on Wednesday, when Ms von der Leyen recommended that the European Union begin membership talks with Ukraine. This was a necessary and much-needed act of solidarity – all the more so at a time when international attention is focused on the tragic events in the Middle East. Ukraine has ended up paying a fearful price for the pro-EU sentiments and aspirations expressed in the Maidan Square demonstrations 10 years ago. The imminent beginning of accession talks with Brussels represents an important symbolic moment. And symbols, when realities are so grim, matter. Continue reading...
November 9, 2023

Moldova to stamp out oligarchs in EU membership push: foreign minister

Moldova will limit the "toxic influence" of Russia-backed oligarchs who use hybrid warfare to undermine the country’s democracy in its push for EU membership, foreign minister Nicu Popescu has told Euronews.
November 8, 2023

European Commission recommends opening EU accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova – Europe live

European Commission to unveil enlargement report assessing the aspiring European Union members“The neighbourhood, our neighbourhood has to choose where they want to go,” the commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said in her press conference.“And the western Balkans, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine chose very clearly where they want to go,” she added.If you look into the report and you see the list of reforms, it shows determination, the steadfastness and the political will of the population the people.I’m very confident that Moldova will move on because your track record is impressive under very difficult circumstances. Continue reading...
November 8, 2023

EU accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova should start, Brussels say

European Union leaders should allow formal talks on Ukraine and Moldova’s accession to the bloc to start once both countries have finalised the necessary reforms, the European Commission has said.
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