A global elite gathering in the Crimea
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 15:12

NEARLY seventy years ago Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt sat at the round table in Yalta’s Livadia’s palace (pictured) and carved up the map of Europe. Last weekend, their ghosts must have been disturbed by the pow-wow of politicians, thinkers and businessmen who gathered in the same palace for the annual meeting of Yalta European Strategy, trying to reshape Europe one more time.

The elegant white palace combines Neo-Renaissance style with the light subtlety of Moorish architecture. Loaded with symbolism, it is the place Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian tycoon with a taste for intellectual debate, chose to set up his conference ten years ago. Hardly any speaker did not reflect on Yalta’s history. But never before have these reflections been as fitting as this year. The future of Ukraine, a country of 48m people, and of Europe was being decided in real time. The Yalta conference, now in its tenth year, was a display of fierce diplomacy, formidable brain power and the precarious position of the European Union.

The guestbook read like a Who's Who of Europe. Mario Monti and Gerhard Schröder, a former...Continue reading

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