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Guest Cal

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Okay, I know this is a bit random but I think it could be a good discussion topic about the changes in Europe an to see what people's views are about the continent.

I'll get started then. :P

I was watching a few shows about the history of Europe and I found it quite interesting the way Europe was "back in the day". Eastern Europe was all different and stuff. It's cool to see what it used to be. To be honest, I liked the way Yugoslavia broke up in to different countries - Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia were all Yugoslavian. Now it looks like Kosavo might become an independent state! Yay. :D I'm not sure what will happen with Vojvondina, I haven't heard anything about that becoming independent. It would be great if it would though. But I do find it quite difficult to keep up with all these changes. :P Europe in the 14th Century was way different:


Now on to the Languages. I love the way each country in Europe has it's own language. Their language may not be their first language, but it's still their own and unique. I don't like they way our language (Irish) is declining rapidly. This is due to the high numbers of foreign nationals coming in to the country, mainly Polish. I heard that to be a cop over here, you don't need Irish. I think this is a sigh of how quickly the language is declining and how much of an issue it's becoming.

In my opinion, I think the Germanic and Uralic languages are the nicest to listen too. I may not understand them, but I like to listen to them.

Okay, I'll stop here because I can go on for days and I didn't want to bore all of you. :P

So, what are your views?

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My uncle just came back from Europe, he went to Milan, and all these other awesome places, and he said it is so beautiful now, and really done up gorgeously (made up word). I really want to go now. I want to go to Paris, Milan, Italy, London, Spain and other places that i cant think of at the moment.

Languages, i love love love the Spanish language, and Italian. Ive alwayz wanted to learn those two, especially Spanish.

Ooo...now i really want to go <_<

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I've always wanted to go to Europe. I saw a musical based on Eurovison last night which was hilarious, and basically mocked all the countries, but still. Europe is awesome.

Also, I intend to marry and Irishman and live in Europe for the rest of my life.

Down to the serious stuff. I do love how each country has it's own, (almost) unique language. I know a bit of French, a teeeeeeeeeensy bit of Gaelic and enough Spanish to understand most musical terms. But I would LOVE to learn more, and travel all around Europe teaching English and drama.

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It is pretty cool how each country has their own language...'coz I'm not actually English although I live in England its really weird speaking my home language because I'm just soo used to speaking English!

Cal: I agree with you about French thats why I don't do the work and sit there texting people my phone! But I do both French and German so it gets a little confusing.

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I like Spanish too, but unfortunately I'm learning French... :P I like French but I find some of it boring and too difficult.

I did French and German at school. It annoyed me though, I really wish we had been given the opportunity to learn Italian or Spanish.

I really love the Italian language, its beautiful. Im going in August and I really need to start learning it more fluently. I no a few words and sentances, but nothing major. Its quite a hard language to learn though. Spanish is the easier one out of the two :)

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^^ I'm taking Italian at 'A'-Level, and I honestly don't think it's that hard. I've learnt bits of French and Spanish before and I find it easier to learn than those two.

Reading a book in Italian, however, (as I am meant to be doing at the moment :P) is a whole other kettle of fish! I think I'll just buy the English translation, or read a synopsis on t'internet, to make life a little easier for myself. :P

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I'm really happy to live in Europe! I love how every countryis unique, and has it's own language, history and stuff, but yet, we're all part of something bigger. I can speak 4 languages that are used in Europe, which are Dutch, English, French and German. And I'm hoping to learn Spanish or Italian soon. I think it's important to know many languages, becuse like Cal said, it happens more and more that the original language of a country starts to disappear.

For example the Netherlands, it's terrible over there! Both Belgium and the Netherlands have Dutch as language, and they used to be quite alike, but over the years the two have really grown apart. The Dutch that is used in the Netherlands takes more and more English words on board, and it really has become a total different language. If I hear young people from the Netherlands talk I sometimes wonder if they're talking Dutch or English. I would hate it if that happened here!

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  • 7 months later...

Sorry to raise this from a very certain death - but I've got news! :D

EU prepares for Kosovo independence

CNN) -- A European Union official said Monday it is "likely" the union will authorize a "security and justice" force for Kosovo this week, ahead of an expected declaration of independence by the state's newly elected leader.

The EU official spoke on the condition he not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The European Union has long planned a transitional force for Kosovo, which, for now, is a part of Serbia.

The province is expected to declare independence by the week's end.

Serbia opposes plans for its province to break away -- as does Russia, Serbia's historical ally, which has promised to block any recognition of an independent Kosovo at the United Nations.

Despite the harsh words from opponents, analysts say they don't expect violence. Serbia's displeasure at an independent Kosovo is tempered by its president's ambition to join the European Union, which supports independence, and regional neighbors such as Albania and Macedonia are cautious.

Observers have anticipated Kosovo's independence for months, ever since two years of U.N-sponsored talks to determine Kosovo's final status ended without agreement.

The pace accelerated last month when Kosovo's assembly approved former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci as prime minister. He made declaring independence his top priority, and over the weekend, Thaci said he had finally set a date.

"This weekend will be the last one before Kosovo declares independence," Thaci said Saturday.

Indicating it expected an imminent declaration, the European Union was finalizing plans to send an 1,800-member security and justice force to Kosovo, an EU official said Monday. The force, approved by EU leaders in December, will gradually take over from U.N. police and also will include judicial and legal personnel.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority will be under close scrutiny after independence, especially about honoring the rights of the Serbian minority, who currently live in enclaves protected by NATO forces. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo outnumber other ethnic groups, the largest being the Orthodox Christian Serbs, by about 9 to 1.

Protected Serbs have expressed fears of being further cut off from Kosovar society, and some even talk of leaving Kosovo altogether.

But Kosovo Albanians say memories of their persecution at the hands of the Serbs in the late 1990s are too fresh to reciprocate, and analysts say they're not likely to.

"The one thing the U.N. and the Kosovar government have done very well is stressing the right of the remaining Serbs to remain in place," said Tomas Valasek, director of foreign policy and defense at the Center for European Reform in London.

Valasek said the United Nations, which has administered Kosovo since 1999, has worked closely with Kosovo on a policy of "standards before status," making sure the government adheres to international standards -- such as protecting minorities -- before it can declare independence.

Serbian fears may be justifiable, Valasek said, in part because Thaci is the former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which rose up against Serb rule at the end of the last decade. But he said Thaci has worked hard to address the concerns.

"I think (Thaci) genuinely wants to be seen as the leader of a country rather than an ethnic guerrilla," Valasek said.

Under international pressure to stop the uprising in Kosovo, Serbia cracked down on its ethnic Albanian population. But in 1999, amid grave human rights abuses in the fighting, NATO forces drove out the Yugoslav troops and ended the war.

About 16,000 NATO troops remain in the province.

Serbia's opposition to Kosovar independence may be rooted in the fact that it has seen its power diminish gradually since the Balkan wars began in the early 1990s, analysts say. As the years have passed, the former Yugoslavia has gradually lost the republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Macedonia.

"All the Serbs see is that they've been losing power," said Robin Shepherd, a Europe and Russia analyst with Chatham House, a London think tank. "It also touches upon the sense of a nation in decline, and that's really what makes it a heated problem."

Opposition also comes from Russia, which feels a bond with Serbia as a fellow Slavic Orthodox nation.

"There has always been a strong theme of Slavic brotherhood running through Russian foreign policy," said Valasek.


I thought I'd never see the day. :P:D

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