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EXCLUSIV. Michael Binyon, The Times: European and national governments have to work hard to maintain enthusiasm for the European ideal



Michael BINYON, writer at THE TIMES, thinks that the European and national governments have to work hard to maintain enthusiasm for the European ideal. One of the most experienced journalists in Europe, correspondent in Bruxelles and Moscow during the Cold War, analysed the European Union situation, in an interview for one of the most important European and Global Affairs in Romania,, at Astana VI Economic Forum, Kazahstan.

michael binyonCalea Europeana: Thank you for your willingness to offer us an interview. We are sure that a represent an important part of the history that the journalism has and you know, maybe better than everyone else, how the Eastern part of Europe developed and its relations with Asia. What do you think about the steps that Europe took in the past 50 years?

Michael Binyon: It’s a very interesting question because I’ve seen it in various stages. I was correspondent in Brussels in 1988 and 1989, it was the time for all the changes in Eastern Europe so I saw these changes from the West European point of view, both the economic and political, and that was extraordinary. Also, I’ve seen how it used to be in Eastern Europe because I was a correspondent in Moscow for five years, in communist times, in Brejnev’s time, from ’77 to ’82. So I knew how far Eastern Europe needed to come to come to reach the kind of level of freedom and authority , experience, know-how that was already taken for granted in Western Europe. I think all the continent has come a long way. It’s been the joining together of two cultures or two parts of the continent that were separated by  force after the II World War and  think that now, any younger person, more or less takes it for granted, that Europe is one continent with one kind of aim and one ideal of prosperity and happiness whereas 30 years ago, it was two continents: Eastern Europe and Western Europe.

Calea Europeana: Is it a one way road? Some people say that it is not an irreversible process, so the peace and the prosperity in Europe can be affected, the Europeans should work more and pay more attention to this prosperity and peace.

Michael Binyon: I think it is a big danger, because if the prosperity gets stuck, if the Europeans can’t solve the problem with the currency, and if unemployment and austerity measures create real social dissatisfaction, and particularly unemployment for young people, we will see sever danger to the stability and prosperity and indeed the democracy that we have taken for granted, especially in Western Europe. Look at what is happening in Greece, for example, you can see the rapid growth of the Golden Dawn, far-right, kind of a fascist party, with all sorts of totalitarian ideas. You see tremendous anger among youth groups in Spain, France, and places where there is high unemployment among young people and a disenchantment with the political leadership of Western Europe. This could happen in the East and in the West, it depends whether the economic situation shows some sign of improving or whether long term outlook is very gloomy, and I think leaders of all Europe should do much more to try to understand the dangers and make sure that they don’t lead to political instability.

Calea Europeana: You talked about the Cold War that divided Europe at the time. Now, the economic crisis seems to split once again Europe between the North and the South.

Michael Binyon: That is very true because the South was always the poorer part of Europe, economically, the situation was a lot less favorable than for Scandinavia or Germany. They then had an almost artificially high rate of growth. After the EU was formed, many Southern countries came into the Union with tremendous opportunities for cheap money, investment and to really stretch their opportunities. Unfortunately they didn’t take the kind of infrastructure measure that they should of taken and also they didn’t make the political reforms that were needed. For example, in reducing bureaucracy, in fighting corruption in places such as Italy, where prosperity has masked the fact that actual state didn’t function very well and now we find the leadership of many Southern countries is not strong enough to take the measures that are necessary. For example, in Greece, it’s been known for a long, long time that there was a lot patronage in the appointment of people to the civil servants. People got jobs there because their uncle, their cousin was a member to the civil service. That was no way ro run a civil democracy. And those reforms should have been made, but they weren’t. When the economic challenge comes, the political leadership in Southern Europe, unfortunately, is not sufficiently robust to be able to find the answers. North Europe, particularly places like Scandinavia, which has had a great deal of prosperity and political stability for a very long time are in a much better position to deal with these challenges.

Calea Europeana: Do you think the next step, because I’ve heard a lot of opinions here, at Astana, saying that Germany should do something? Southern states started to push pressure on Germany, maybe even France. How long do you think Germany will resist to these pressures and which will be its response?

Michael Binyon: Well, I think the Germans would be a little bit angry with these calls for them do more, because the Germans say “look at the amount of money we’ve already put in the economies of South Europe, look how much the Germans have paid for Greece”. And there is a very understandable feeling among ordinary German voters that why should the Greeks retire at a much earlier age, why should they have such long holidays and why should German tax payers pay for that? If the Greeks want to live better, they should work harder, that’s their view. On the other hand, it’s perfectly true that Germany of all has had the most success and prosperity than all other states from the creation of the euro zone. And the euro zone, by definition, means the weaker members will be easy market for the stronger members. So the German prosperity is the result of them having access to the markets of Southern Europe and to some extent, they have exploited this prosperity for their own needs and their own end. So they do have a responsibility to help those countries that have suffered as a result to their lack of competitiveness. So I think that if the Germans want their big single market continued, they have to do a lot more to pay for it, in the sense of probably permanent transfers of money to the poorer countries.

Calea Europeana:  Do you think that after 50 years we will be paying the same respect to personalities such as Jean Monnet or Robert Schuman, the fathers of the European project? Looking to van Rompuy, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, will their political level seen through their vision as European leaders will be the same as the one 50 years ago?

Michael Binyon: I don’t think it’s the same urgency to create a European Union because the generation of Jean Monnet was the generation that lived through the II World War. When Europe was devastated by political conflict and by fighting, and that is not the memory of the general public, so as a result you are seeing that people taking European unity more or less for granted. They don’t see it as a great mission, they don’t see it as a civilising mission to bring Europe together, there is not the same passion attached to this idea and therefore, people still feel more attached now to their own home countries.

They feel part of Europe, but equally, they feel that what matters is what their own governments do and how they respond to their feelings in say France, or Netherlands, or wherever it may be. The Netherlands  is a good example, it was a country that was the most European of them all, the founding member to the common market and now you’ve seen a tremendous change in the mentality where a lot of Dutch people are angry at the way their own government has handled situations, especially things such as immigration and where there is some resentment to the central power in Brussels, a feeling of unelected bureaucracy, so I think that the European leaders today and national leaders do have to work quite hard to maintain enthusiasm for the European ideal.



Michael Roger Binyon is an English journalist and eminent foreign correspondent, known for serving as The Times’s Moscow Correspondent as well as reporting from Berlin, Washington and all over the Middle East. He is currently a leader writer for The Times and occasional arts and books critic.

He reported from Moscow in the 70s, and went on to cover the fall of the Berlin Wall and numerous Middle East conflicts. Other positions he has held at The Times include: diplomatic editor, Washington bureau chief and Brussels correspondent.


Svyatoslav Anatolyevich Timashev. Collective Nobel Peace Prize 2007 – Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation



Svyatoslav A. Timashev is a member of the Interstate Council on the issue of “heavy reliability pipelines”, a member of the Scientific Council and the Dissertation Council, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the editorial boards of domestic and foreign journals and a founding member of the International Association for design reliability and safety.

sSvyatoslav A. Timashev, a Russian citizen, was awarded a collective Nobel Peace Prize for developing methods of CO2 sequestration from the earth’s atmosphere and its disposal, together with a group of scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who together formed the International Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Department of Environmental Protection in 2007.

For his achievements, Svyatoslav Anatolyevich was awarded the VSNTO (All-Soviet Union Council of Technical Society) (1969), the medal “For Valorous Labour” (1970), the Expert Public Education Badge (1984), a COMADEM Magazine prize for the best publication in 2000, and was dubbed Knight of Justice – Commander of the Sovereign Order of the Orthodox Hospitaller Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.

S.A. Timashev shaped a new direction in the theory of reliability of large mechanical systems, solved the problem of optimization of the critical systems operation in multi-level governance class. He is the holder of nine copyright patents and author of more than 250 publications, including 19 monographs.

Svyatoslav Anatolyevich created software systems for the optimal management of the operation of oil and gas pipelines, three generations of industrial electronic systems of vibration protection, vibration diagnostics, tribodiagnostics and monitoring of energy machinery and equipment and is the founder of a new section in the theory of reliability monitoring.

He developed the scientific bases of the theory and a fundamentally new method for optimizing the operation of a complex object by the criteria of reliability and safety, as problems of multilevel governance of stochastic processes of degradation and recovery. These systems are used successfully in the Russian oil and gas industry, aviation, heavy engineering, metallurgy and other industries, as well as in university educational laboratories.

All these works have received wide domestic and international recognition, as evidenced by the election of S.A. Timashev as a member of the RF Academy of Quality Problems, a member of the Washington Academy of Sciences (USA) and the Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology (USA).

On July 26 the laureate S.A. Timashev celebrates his 79th birthday and the 58th anniversary of the start of science teaching career. He was born in Harbin, northeastern China, one of the main transit points for trade with Russia. He graduated with distinction from the Ural Federal University (formerly the Ural Polytechnic Institute).

From 1987 to the present time Professor Timashev has been the head of the Reliability Laboratory of the Engineering Complex Problem Division at IMET UNC AN SSSR.  He is also Director and Academic Advisor at the Science and Engineering Center “Reliability and service life of large systems of machines” at UNC AN SSSR.







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VIDEO Astana Economic Forum. Interview with Eric Maskin: Kazakhstan can be a force for modernization in the Eurasian region



Interview taken by Razvan Buzatu, from, with Professor Eric Maskin, PhD, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Adams University Professor at Harvard University.

He is renown at international level for laying the foundation of mechanism design theory. During his career, he contributed to game theory, contract theory, social choice theory, political economy as well as other areas of economics.  

maskin caleaeuropeana


Razvan Buzatu: Professor Maskin, thank you very much for accepting this discussion for Calea Europeana. First of all: why Astana?

Eric Maskin: Well Astana is now holding one of the big economic forums in the world so it’s a natural place for people who are interested in issues of our time to meet. So, I’m glad to be one of the many participants.

RB: Well, Astana these three or four days is becoming the center of the world, right, and speaking about economics and how the world works at this moment, how do you see Kazakhstan involved in the global economy?

EM: Kazakhstan has an interesting position economically and geographically. It’s close enough to Europe so that it has close ties there, but it’s also close to the Far East and given its pivotal location we can expect great things from Kazakhstan in the future.

RB: Do you think that it can play a regional role in the Eurasian region?

EM: I hope it does. Kazakhstan seems to be forward looking, progressive country and I think it can be a force for modernization in the Eurasian region.

RB: Professor Maskin you’ve designed a well known design mechanism theory, and I was wondering if you can share with us a little bit of your thoughts on how can design mechanism theory, involving also Kazakhstan, can have positive implications on the European Union economy and Eurasian economy.

EM: Well, mechanism design theory is all about how do you create the institutions for aligning incentives. Of course, each country has its own goals which are not necessarily exactly in alignment with other countries’ goals and it is the function of international institutions to reconcile possible conflicts, this could be done through international organizations, through treaties, through political unification, but mechanism design teaches us that is not enough to, say, write a treaty, say, to promote trade, but the treaty has to be written with care to make sure that all the countries who are going to be signing this treaty actually benefit from it and that may involve a series of concessions on both sides, concessions about giving something up but the benefits from conceding is that now you have an international institution which enables you to take more from other countries.

RB: Very interesting, I was talking a little bit earlier with the Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization, and he said that the new Bali Package that they established in December last year was a negotiation and was a break through, it was basically a new step forward for the WTO in terms of negotiating between India and China and also Cuba and USA, and also USA and India, so they reached to some sort of an agreement, some sort of compromise so that they can benefit economically; in this sense it resembles a lot with the design mechanism theory.

EM: It does in deed and in fact I think that the principles from the theory have now permeated people’s conciseness enough so that when these treaties are hammered out mechanism design theory plays a role.

RB: I will go now to the other side of the world: I believe you know very well what happened in Ukraine at the end of last year and the begging of this year. How do you see mechanism design theory, using mechanism design theory, in establishing a balance in the actors that are involved and are interested in what the path of Ukraine will be in the future.

EM: That’s a very difficult question, if I knew how to solve the problem of Ukraine I would be able to perform miracles so I don’t have any magic bullets for solving the Ukraine problem. All I can say is that we know from theory that the answer to conflicts is not typically the way of isolation and I would be worried if as a result of the tension in the Ukraine, if Russia for example became more isolated from the rest of the world and from Europe in particular to the extent that the countries continue to communicate with one another, continue to trade with one another, continue to cooperate with one another, that’s the way that the international tensions are resolved. Breaking of communication, breaking of trade I’m afraid that’s the risk of heightening tensions even further so I very much hope that the isolation doesn’t occur.

RB: Thank you very much. The theory is that the trade, at the trade level, in the Ukraine nothing has stopped but at the political level there are tensions. How do you see these things going hand in hand because some of them said “listen, it’s a real crisis” and at the trade level they say “we know it’s a crisis but we are still functioning”.

maskin2EM: “still functioning” for the time being. I think that unless they improve politically there is bound to be an economic cost in a longer term. Eventually, there can be lags either way. Economics lead politics or the other way around but not indefinitely, ultimately the two go together.

RB: Can we use the game theory and the Nash equilibrium with your theory, integrated? Is that possible?

EM: Well in fact, my theory, mechanism design, is part of game theory and uses game theoretic tools like Nash equilibrium as part of its analysis.

RB: And do you think they should be used integrated?

EM: Absolutely!

RB: How do you think we can do that?

EM: How can we apply them to…

RB: a certain event around the world, any kind of event?

RB: Use the 3 theories integrated to find a possible solution, not the solution, to an event in the world.

EM: Well, the first thing is to try to make precise what the goals of each of the parties are, but to recognize that there will always be some uncertainty about that. In games theoretic term these are games of incomplete information “I may know my goals, but I will never know your goals completely so I have to recognize that I’m operating in a situation of uncertainty. But game theory has developed tools to study interactions under uncertainty. On top of that, one way of resolving uncertainty is through a mechanism which is just an institution for international interaction. So that I think is the integration that you are calling for. Looking at the initial situation which involves a conflict of interests which is not completely understood because of the incomplete information, but layering on top of that an international mechanism, a treaty, for example or a trade agreement which brings the various parties closer together in agreement in their interests.

RB: One last question if I may? Do you see the European Union as a global actor? Like becoming the United States of Europe?

EM: I hope it will move in that direction. The European Union has successfully integrated some of its economic policy, namely the monetary side, if it can work on its other side of economic policy, namely the fiscal policy, and integrate that, I think it has a chance of having a comparable force with the USA on the global scene, but without that kind of fiscal integration I’m afraid that it will never quite have its act together.

RB: Well professor Maskin, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. I’m Razvan Buzatu, for Calea Europeana, from Astana.






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“Journalism education: from theory to practice” – I International Summit of Journalism “G-Global: World of the XXI century”



In the course of the VII Astana Economic Forum and the II World Anti-Crisis Conference “Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists” Association and “Success K” media agencyorganized a panel session on “Journalism education: from theory to practice” as part of the I International Summit of Journalism “G-Global: World of the XXI century”.

rp_Astana_symbol_-300x224.jpgThe session discussed the issues of how to organize cooperation between journalists and experts in other fields such as IT, statistics, graphic and interactive design in education, and how to transfer this experience in journalism.

The event was attended by Co-Director of National Security Journalism Initiative & Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Timothy McNulty; Director General of the Channel 7, Aziza Shuzeeva; Professor, Head of the Media Communication and history of Kazakhstan Department,Aygul Niyazgulova; Managing editor of Caspian Publishing House, Charles Van Der Liu; Director of the media school at “Kazmedia center”, Dana Rysmuhamedova; Editor-in-chief, “Finanz und Wirtschaft”, Martin Gollmer; Director of Radio “Astana”,Gulmira Karakozov. The session was moderated by the Chairman of the Board RTRC “Kazakhstan” Nurjan Mukhamedzhanova.

Most people think that it is not necessary to get a special education to become a journalist. As in case that no one will be able to do the surgery except a surgeon, no one can know better the professional tricks of historian, economist, lawyer and journalist, – shared an opinion Gulmira Karakozov, Director of Radio “Astana”, in the course of the session. Therefore, I strongly against this majority opinion. In 2005, Kazakhstan had 19 high school faculties, branches and departments that prepared professionals in journalism, and half of them belonged to the philological and historical faculties. I would like to say, the capability of journalists who were trained by linguists or historians, and taught in accordance with tutorials on journalism will not be high. This is a stumbling block in the preparation of professional journalists. Students must be  taught by a person who has experience practicing in the field of journalism, – she stressed.

Recall, a purpose of the I International Summit of Journalism “G-Global: World of the XXI century” was creation of an information platform for interaction of economics, global journalism and latest technologies.

First, in Astana well-known media persons, bright bloggers, leaders and representatives of the world’s largest media holdings, website developers, website editors, newspapers and magazines  editors, scientists, who demonstrate their achievements in the media, media tools and technologies, tried and tested skills in building information business and economic knowledge in the field of journalism brought together.




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