In Europe, the past two weeks have been a time of respite from politics as people celebrated Christmas and new year. At the same time in Kyiv, thousands of Ukrainians kept spending day and night on “Euromaidan”, protesting against the blocking of their road to Europe.
Former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been freed on December 20th, bringing an end to more than a decade behind bars after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, signed a decree pardoning him.
On December 17 the Council of the European Union decided that Serbia can start the EU accession talks in January 2014, rewarding Belgrade for democratic reforms and its efforts to normalize relations with its Pristina.
From 29 November to 1 December the European Forum, in cooperation with the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS), the UK Labour Party and the Unified Socialist Party in Morocco organized the third and final seminar of the Future Leaders Training. The young and promising future politicians came from social democratic and left progressive parties from Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
De afgelopen week zijn de protesten in Oekraïne steeds prominenter op het Nederlandse nieuws gaan figureren. De protesten die begonnen met tien duizenden zijn uiteindelijk geëscaleerd tot honderden duizenden mensen die nu non-stop protesteren in de straten van Kiev en andere Oekraïnse steden. Wat begon als een pro-Europa protest – en tegen de keus van de regering om een associatieverdrag met de EU op het laatste moment toch niet te tekenen - lijkt uitgegroeid tot iets veel groters. We vroegen onze partner in Oekraïne, de Institute for Democracy and Social Progress (IDSP) om commentaar. Directrice van IDSP, Olena Lukaniuk, geeft antwoord.
On 16 November the II Forum of the NEW SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM took place in Kiev. The platform brings together young, progressive social democrats from accross Ukraine, to form the new, modern and European social democractic core in Ukraine.
Turkey's hopes for a new constitution, meant to improve democratic freedoms and to further distance it from the era of military coups, suffered a setback on November 18th when a cross-party commission admitted it has failed in drafting a new charter.
On 8 November Egypt´s Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, said Egypt will hold parliamentary elections "between February and March", to be followed by presidential elections in early summer. The elections will replace the leaders appointed after the army ousted elected president Mohamed Mursi in July. Fahmy said in an interview with international media that the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Mursi's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, "is still legal in Egypt" and free to participate in the parliamentary election.