Por Peter FieldmanThis has been a tough year for Greece. In January, elections brought the radical left wing party Syriza to power for the first time in a coalition government and its charismatic leader 41 year old Alexis Tsipras became a central figure in negotiating Greece's bail out with the European Union, Central Bank and IMF.
Exactly two hundred years ago, during the winter of 1814 through to June 1815, Europe's principal nations were locked in negotiations to determine the future of the continent at the Congress of Vienna. The participants included ambassadors from virtually every European state, region and city as well as special interest groups. Their aim was to restore or modify borders to bring peace to the continent in the aftermath of the French revolution and Napoleonic wars.
On 24th May voters went to the polls in thirteen Autonomous regions and over eight thousand municipalities in Spain's regional and municipal elections. The result of 24- M has turned out to be a second «Transición.» After almost forty years of domination since the country became a democracy, the two major parties - the right wing PP and socialist PSOE - have been shaken to their foundations by the rise of two new parties and the fragmentation of the vote.
D-Day 1944: the largest invasion force in history successfully landed on the shores of Normandy to end the Nazi domination of Europe. But without the contribution of a self made, Spanish double agent, the outcome of the Second World War might have been different,
Juan Pujol Garcia was born in Barcelona in 1912. He first experienced conflict during the Spanish Civil War joining the Republican cause. Rejecting communism, he defected to the Nationalists during the battle for the Ebro in 1938. However he lost faith with the Fascist regime and ended the war in prison. He was proud to have fought for both sides without firing a shot and at the outbreak of the Second World War with Spain neutral, decided to help the allies.
Lovely to see how elected representatives think they are so special. Esperanza Aguirre seemed unaware that bus lanes, especially in Gran Via (centre of Madrid), are designed for buses and taxis and not politicians. Of course «everyone is equal before the law.» This applies particularly to those implicated in the long running Noos, Ere, Gurtel and Bárcenas sagas. The role of Party Treasurer must be particularly well paid if in the space of ten years it is possible to save more than €40million in a Swiss bank.
«I can promise and I promise.» Undoubtedly the passing away of Adolfo Suarez last week was a monumental event. I managed to join the media cattle pen outside the Congress when the funeral cortege arrived and was fortunate to be able to walk up the carpeted steps and enter the main entrance to file pass the flag draped coffin as it lay in state, like the thousands of people of all generations who had spent hours lining the streets to pay their last respects to the man who brought democracy to Spain.