Samstag, 20. September 2008

Mainstreet in Bratislava

From the 17th to 19th September I attended a conference in Bratislava on the Visegrad countries (Hungary, Poland, the Slovak and Czech Republic) security perceptions, which was designed to foster a consensus on whether the Visegrad states should develop a common security identity within NATO. The conference ended with no agreement, but it was fun. On the 19th, the foreign ministers of Poland and the Slovak Republic were also attending the conference and were having their own little panel on security perceptions of the Eastern European countries. I was the only German in the room, when the Polish foreign minister Skikorski suddenly said: "Let me reassure you, we have no intention of invading Germany." A relief of some sorts, but though that caught me off guard, it was even more fun, when the Slovakian forein minister Jan Kibus gave his presentation. During his speech I suddenly heard the James Bond theme. While the theme got louder, Skikorski - kind of James Bond character anyway - pulled out his mobile and switched it off and the music was gone. Efraim Inbar, of the Besa Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel characterised the European sanctions against Iran as "vegetarian" and the wine in Matysak-hotel is really tasty.

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