Europe between past and future

Jan 7, 2014

Zimbabwe: Govt to Quash Pirate Radio Stations/ Polish PM vows veto on EU migration rules amid British row/ UFO at Bremen (Germany)

UFO at Bremen (Northwest Germany).

Polish PM vows veto on EU migration rules amid British row

 Poland's prime minister on Tuesday waded into a high-pitched British row over welfare benefits for migrant workers, insisting his EU state would veto any proposed changes at the European level.

Centre-right Prime Minister Donald Tusk made the statement after his British counterpart David Cameron urged changes to EU treaties allowing the UK to withhold welfare benefits like child allowances for workers from other member states.
Cameron had singled out Poles as he made the case for change, according to the BBC.
"If anyone, whether it is premier Cameron or anyone else, will want to change the European treaty to make this possible, Poland will veto it, today, tomorrow and forever," Tusk told reporters.
But he acknowledged Cameron's right to plug legal loopholes in domestic welfare laws that lead to abuses.
"If Prime Minister Cameron wants to change rules (...) which are flawed and allow people to abuse social welfare in Britain, of course he has the right to do it," Tusk told reporters in Warsaw, referring to strictly British legislation.
"But it can't apply to just one national group. It must apply to all potential beneficiaries," he said, adding that "no one has the right to single out Poles as a special group that is abusing or taking advantage".
Tusk also told reporters he was due to speak with Cameron by telephone on Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from eastern EU states have made Britain their home since the bloc's "big bang" expansion in 2004 and Poles constitute the largest single group.
Britain and Ireland were among the few older members to fully open their labour markets to newcomers a decade ago.
Cameron has termed that open door policy a "monumental mistake", provoking a lively reaction in Poland with anti-communist legend Lech Walesa insisting Britain was being "shortsighted" and "unreasonable" on the issue.
On Monday, the British PM was also criticised for his comments by the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.
"If Britain gets our taxpayers, shouldn't it also pay their benefits?" Sikorski asked in English on Twitter. "Why should Polish taxpayers subsidise British taxpayers' children?"
Around 640,000 Poles live in Britain, according to official statistics released in 2012, but the Polish community estimates the real figure might be as high as one million.
Last month the British government rushed through measures restricting access to unemployment handouts for new EU migrants, over fears of "benefit tourism".
Fears of a massive influx of Romanians and Bulgarians following the relaxation of EU labour market restrictions on January 1 have been whipped up by some Conservative backbenchers and right-leaning newspapers.
Despite the media panic, the feared flood of Romanians and Bulgarians had yet to materialise a week into the new year.


Zimbabwe: Govt to Quash Pirate Radio Stations

In terms of community broadcasting, Timba said, Zimbabwe had the capacity to issue 60 community broadcasting licences. 
GOVERNMENT will do away with pirate radio stations through opening up airwaves, a situation that would render them redundant, Parliament heard. Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Supa Mandiwanzira told Senate that people were made to listen to pirate radio stations because of the failure by Transmedia to provide signal of legitimate radio and television broadcasting content throughout the country.
He was responding to a question from Mashonaland Central Senator Alice Chimbudzi (Zanu-PF) on what Government was doing to deal with private radio stations.
"The Ministry considers these pirate radio stations as a nuisance that we must get rid of," said Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira.
"In the majority of cases the Zimbabweans who listen to these pirate radio stations do so out of desperation because they are unable to get a signal of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in the area they stay.
"So they have no choice and end up, by default, listening to these pirate radio stations." The radio stations, said Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira, had failed to achieve their regime change agenda following the resounding election victory by Zanu-PF in the harmonised election on July 31, 2013.
He said his Ministry had a fresh impetus to roll out transmitters through Transmedia across the country to enable everyone to get signal of ZBC radio and television and other legitimate broadcasting institutions.
The roll out would be achieved through digitalisation of Transmedia from analogue, a project that he said required US$30 million to cover the whole country.
He said another way of dealing with pirate radio stations was to open up the airwaves, a situation he said started two years ago by licensing ZiFM and Star FM radio stations.
"The Ministry has started the process of opening up the broadcasting industry to other players. Very shortly the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe will be calling for application to license other radio stations," he said.
"In addition the Ministry is also consulting with a view to license community radio stations in the not too distant future. So we believe as a Ministry that once we address the issue of transmission, once we address the issue of choice, where you have multiple choice we will render the pirate radio stations irrelevant."
Responding to another question, Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira said payment of ZBC licenses had nothing to do with the content but possession of a signal receiving gadget. Bulawayo Metropolitan Senator, Siphiwe Ncube (MDC-T) had asked what Government policy was regarding ZBC licence considering that it was also on Dstv channel where it is being paid. The Deputy Minister said there was a misconception from some people who think that they were being levied to pay for what they see yet it was about owning a receiver.
"There is no relationship between licence fee and content. ZBC, according to the law, is a collection agent, you are not paying for the quality," he said. Deputy Mininister Mandiwanzira said no wonder why ZBC inspectors were seen even in areas where there was no ZBC reception.
Responding to another question, the Deputy Minister re-affirmed the requirement by broadcasting stations to play 75 percent local content.
He said the 75 percent requirement was also an empowerment tool for local artists.

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