The news to 8 March 2013. Happy International Women’s Day.
5 March: Moldova‘s government fell after 54 of 101 deputies voted with a no-confidence motion sponsored by the Communist Party. The administration had been hit by scandals, but the Communist Party objected to the pace of European integration. An Association Agreement may not now be signed at the European Partnership summit in Vilnius this November.
7 March: There was a mounting sense of crisis in Ukraine as opposition deputies blocked the speaker’s podium in the Verkhovna Rada for the second time this year, preventing the legislature from conducting business. The protest was sparked by government efforts to strip Batkivshchyna deputy, Serhiy Vlasenko of his parliamentary mandate for offering legal advice to his Party’s nominal leader, Yulia Tymoshenko – a move quickly condemned by EU and US leaders. Speaker, Volodomyr Rybak, has suggested that the Rada, elected just five months ago, could be dissolved if the deadlock continues.
7 March: The death of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, called into question the continued closeness of Venezuela and Russia, with some analysts pointing to a lack of funds for the former’s arms orders. Leaders of the two countries were nonetheless at pains to emphasise the strength of their relationship.
Source: Financial Times
7 March: Germany vetoed the extension of the Shengen visa-free zone to Bulgaria and Romania, citing corruption as their chief concern.
Source: Deutsche Welle
28 February: Bulgaria‘s President called new parliamentary elections for 12 May after the resignation of the government.
Source: Washington Post
6 March: Poland’s Central Bank cut the base interest rate by 0.5% to a record low of 3.25%, a year after tightening monetary policy. In light of the continued problems in the Eurozone, Poland has now opted to weaken its currency in order to improve its competitiveness.
Source: Financial Times
4 March: Georgia‘s President and Prime Minister, Mikheil Saakashvili and Bidzina Ivanishvilli met for only the second time since the latter triumphed in parliamentary elections in October 2012. Saakashvili sought to bind his Prime Minister to the continuation of his pro-Western foreign policy, while Ivanishvilli sought to gain support for a constitutional amendment increasing the power of parliament. Signs of agreement were few and far between following the meeting, but a document charting a common foreign policy course was later ratified by Parliament.
4 March: The Czech Senate voted to bring treason charges against outgoing President, Vaclav Klaus. The charges relate to the use of presidential pardons and the cancelling of extended court cases, which critics allege will hinder the fight against corruption.