FANNING FLAMES ON LONDON'S OVERHEATED HOUSING
Emil Boc, former prime minister and mayor of Cluj-Napoca, is fighting for reform in Romania.
Romania: A mayor with ambitions - Emil Boc had to step down as Romanian prime minister in 2012, but now, as mayor of Cluj-Napoca he's fighting for reform in his country and trying to improve Romania's image. Cluj-Napoca is Romania's second-largest city and through history it has been shaped by Hungarians, Germans and Romanians. What city could be better suited to demonstrate to a crisis-ridden country how pragmatic, reformist policies that conform to EU standards can succeed? For Mayor Boc, at least, Cluj is much more than the capital of the historical region of Transylvania. He sees it as a basis for Romania's renewal. Czech Republic: Roma under suspicion - Whether it's accusations of child abduction or defrauding the welfare services, the prejudices against the Roma people in Europe are huge, even when there's actually something to celebrate. At first it was a sensation. In early June a young woman in the Czech Republic gave birth to healthy quintuplets. Citizens and national businesses offered help and donations. But soon the young parents, who belong to the Roma minority, were being subjected to racist abuse on the internet and social networking sites. The commentators accused the couple of sponging off the system. Germany: The cattle whisperer - An EU regulation requires all cows to be marked with ear tags. A German organic farmer says the procedure is painful and is refusing to implement it. 71-year-old farmer Hermann Maier is a real maverick. The cattle on his pastures near Stuttgart are given no antibiotics or hormones, and no ear tags. That means he is contravening EU law, which says all calves have to be tagged. Instead, he prefers to microchip his animals. He says the procedure is not only painless but also reliable. But the Baden-Wurttemberg state government in Stuttgart wants to put an end to the microchipping practice, because it fears losing EU subsidies. Britain: The punters are back - The British government says it will make the dream of home ownership a reality. But experts are warning of a housing bubble and the banks already scent huge profits. David Cameron's government is guaranteeing and boosting mortgages even for buyers with a downpayment of just 5 percent - in other words, those who can't actually afford a house. That's fanning the flames on London's already overheated property market. The city is becoming increasingly unaffordable for ordinary citizens. House prices are rising by more than 1,000 euros a day.