Europe in 2007
What is in store for new year's Europe? We look at the upcoming leaders, movers and shakers who will transform the face of the EU in 2007
January 2007: New faces in the European Union
Slovenia joins the Euro zone
The Alpine state becomes the first 'new member state' to join Europe's single currency, from the bloc of countries that joined the EU in May 2004. 250 Tolars suddenly becomes one Euro - Slovenians have welcomed the news warmly.
Bulgaria and Romania 2007 - 'young' EU debutantes
After seven years of fervent negotiations, two more post communist countries have been given the green light to join the EU family. Given their economic situation - currently plagued with corruption and organised crime amongst others - the union has imposed harsh conditions to assure that both Balkan countries will effectively fight aforesaid scourges. Hopefully, in the future we will have to pass just one frontier going to Romania - the official one.
February 2007 - Russia cruises to European gas market domination
Launched in 2005, the infamous Gazprom's Baltic pipeline project is scheduled to reap its first benefits in early 2007. It will link Vyborg and Greifswald along a mammoth length of 1200 km. The project itself has sparked tumultuous discussion, raging most furiously in Poland and Ukraine. The two nations cannot avoid having been bypassed; the transport route simply does not traverse their territories.
March 2007: EU/EC blows fifty candles out
If there was a European God, then he created the 'EEC' on 25th March 1957. The 'legendary six' (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) signed the Treaty of Rome and the 'European Economic Community'was born. Though many periods of its Abrahamian life were marked with painful drawbacks, the communities have always been able to shrug off and stubbornly cut their way forward as a team. Although the EU called off all the bombastic events originally conceived to mark this anniversary, we all should lift our goblets and give a toast: a long life!
April 2007: Royal! v. Sarkozy?
It seemed crystal clear for months that Nicolas Sarkozy would run for French presidency in April 2007. How do matters appear now? Sarkozy cannot even be sure which female opponent to shield himself, and at which moment to dodge the line of fire. Michele Alliot-Marie has fiercely contested his candidature within 'his own' party, whilst Segolene Royal has won Socialist hearts (and European magazine covers) in the joust for le Palais de l'Élysée.
May 2007: Bye bye Tony
After almost ten years in power, the greatest new Labourer has fallen from public grace, and is set (or forced, as Cameron would say), to resign from his tenure. Gordon Brown, his commander-in-second, is sketched in to take over. Will Tony retire from politics, or should the Union fear another presidential pretender (in case it ever needs one)?
June 2007: 27 chieftains, one constitution
Is the EU constitution a 'lettre morte', or is resuscitation at the very last moment still conceivable? Will the EU leaders put on their surgeons gowns or rather snatch at their undertaker's shovels? This should be the principal issue of the '27'´s Brussels summit in the twilight of the German presidency.
July 2007: Portugal take the baton
José Sócrates will be the sovereign over the EU for six months. Will the baton become a rather green sceptre in his bright hands? Expectation is
rife that he puts an end to his country's daimonion in environment services and starts a new era of pollution shopping.
August 2007: EU humanitarian workers head home
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), with EU humanitarian workers on board, is scheduled to leave the country upon the expiry of its mandate. Through facing the wind of Iraqi tribal wars, and the ever-increasing state
of sectarian violence, these brave men and women of Europe have valiantly taken up the spirit of top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello 's legacy. Will you dare to take the same step, Mr. B.?
September 2007: UN Population Fund stands up to count
US figures are at 300 million - with Romania and Bulgaria in tow, will the EU set its record at 500 million? The report should provide some clues. It is also expected to tackle the hot European issue of immigration, recalling
big names such as Melilla or Lampedusa.
October 2007: Schengen-ised Czech Republic
November 2007: Turkey general elections - potential turn to radicalism?
Turkey has been consistent in knocking on heaven's door' since 1963. Its efforts reached their climax in 2004. Nevertheless, since then on, the EU has been forced to freeze one negotiation chapter after the other. These elections will help decide whether the Union will ever welcome the 'sweetest' country on the continent - its sweetness of course judged on the grounds of its coffee.
December 2007: Slovenia goes from eurozone to euroking
It's to be a special year for Slovenia; they started off our agenda by making history in joining the EU currency club. We leave 2007's agenda by imagining how the first ex-communist state will run the EU in a year's time. With a firm organisational stance on how they will develop the union, and other politic enlargement ambitions, it will be interesting to see what kind of EU they hand over to France six months later.