Press review | 24/11/2015



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Europe in the grips of fear

An empty shopping mall in Brussels: Belgium's National Security Council has prolonged the highest terror alert until Monday. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


In view of the tougher security measures in Europe after the Paris terror attacks, the press asks how much freedom states can sacrifice in the name of security? While some commentators warn against tighter controls, others see people's fear of surveillance as a joke.

Der Standard - Austria

Security policy dividing EU

The question of how much freedom should be sacrificed for the fight against terror poses a threat to EU unity, the centre-left daily Der Standard comments: "France has not only invoked the EU mutual defence clause. Paris (and other states) will also demand a tougher approach on security and justice. In these areas the interests of the member states vary widely - almost even more than on euro policy. For the French, data control and storage are just as acceptable as the fact that for terrorist suspects certain civil rights no longer apply. In Germany in particular, which has been spared from terrorist attacks so far, the opposite seems to be the case. ... If the EU wants to preserve its openness and lack of border controls it urgently needs to reach a consensus with its member states on freedom and security. If it doesn't, the Union could begin to crumble." (24/11/2015)

Sme - Slovakia

Ridiculous surveillance fears

Tougher controls won't turn the countries of Europe into police states from one day to the next, the liberal daily Sme is convinced: "Up to now the Belgian police is only allowed to search homes between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. So the terrorists can sleep peacefully. Should this make us laugh or cry? … The EU Parliament is also blocking an eight-year-old draft law that obliges airlines to gather passenger data. Security experts say the data could help uncover entire networks of jihadists. But MEPs talk of this being too great a violation of the private sphere. It's paradoxical: people reveal all kinds of things about themselves on the web but are scared by the idea of airlines retaining their names and the credit card numbers they have no qualms about using to buy stuff online." (24/11/2015)

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - Poland

Don't succumb to intimidation

Terrorism will always exist but Europe must keep a cool head, philosopher Marcin Król writes in the conservative daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna: "The terrorists hadn't struck for some time. However that's not because our European security services worked so well but because the terrorists were in disarray after the death of Osama bin Laden. Now Islamic State has given them backing. ... Basically no one is safe from terrorist attacks. But that doesn't mean we should let ourselves be intimidated. And the politicians must finally start thinking in bigger categories and looking ahead. If liberal European freedoms are now curtailed then the terrorists and other enemies of democracy like Putin will have achieved their goals. The attacks in Paris are certainly a tragedy, but we have to maintain a sense of proportion." (24/11/2015)

The Independent - United Kingdom

Europe defiant in the face of terror

Despite the terrorist threat people in Paris and other European cities are getting on with their lives as best they can, writes the centre-left daily The Independent approvingly: "The overriding mood, in Paris and across the world, is one of determined optimism, a resistance to division and fear. It is heartening to see so many stand against giving the terrorists what they want. Being reminded of the universal defiance, resolve and courage that the majority of humankind has in its weaponry is a silver lining in a time of enormous grief. And watching Europe bounce back from the threat of all-consuming hatred is enough to make you smile - however briefly." (23/11/2015)


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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Anti-IS alliance could pull Nato apart

The collaboration between Paris and Moscow in the fight against the IS in Syria could pose major problems for the Nato alliance, the conservative-liberal daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung comments: "The most recent developments could be the acid test for Nato, particularly if Washington and Ankara pursue contradictory alliance policies or if France moves too close to Russia for its partners' liking. The Eastern European Nato states in particular are critical of close collaboration with Moscow. The annexation of Crimea is still a fact, as is the occupation of other areas in Ukraine by Russian-supported rebels." (24/11/2015)

L'Orient le Jour - Lebanon

Global perspectives: Books rather than bombs against terror

The reactions to the terror attacks in Paris and Beirut should not be limited to military measures, the Lebanese daily L'Orient-Le Jour writes: "Fighting the IS is good. Stopping it from growing larger is better. Giving reasons to live to those who let themselves be persuaded that the best thing to do is kill themselves is better still. The combined defence budgets of the top ten world powers amount to more than one trillion dollars per year. That's a 1 followed by twelve zeros. And, as the laureate of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Peace [Kailash Satyarthi] so fittingly put it, what if we invest part of this budget into parachuting books instead of weapons? Deploy teachers rather than soldiers? What if, instead of creating more orphans, we tried to find families for those who have lost everything? And what if, instead of playing the sorcerer's apprentice and letting the broom do all the cleaning, we finally decide to clean things up ourselves? (21/11/2015)

24 Chasa - Bulgaria

Border controls won't save us from enemy within

At their meeting in Brussels on Friday the EU interior and justice ministers agreed on a counterterrorism package that includes tighter controls on the EU's external borders, also for EU citizens. The daily 24 Chasa doubts the measures will help: "Are we seriously supposed to believe that this will discourage the terrorists? As we saw after the attacks in Paris, many of them had legitimate French and Belgian passports. They were citizens of Schengen countries! The problem of the rich EU countries isn't the open borders. The problem is that for the last few decades they have been letting in migrant workers from Islamic countries without sufficient controls. Clearly they haven't been able to integrate them properly." (23/11/2015)

Avvenire - Italy

Dangers of drone war underestimated

Four former US Air Force drone pilots have written an open letter to US President Obama, the US secretary of defence and the CIA chief warning that drone wars promote the recruitment of new terrorists and destabilise the world. The use of drones is counterproductive, the Catholic daily Avvenire concurs: "In addition to armed conflict, war strategy has always been also about conquering hearts and minds. In other words, those waging the war have always relied on communication and in many cases on propaganda to show their motivation in the conflict in a positive light, hoping that this will secure them the population's support. But the use of drones, which dehumanises the already brutal practice of war, is currently making it very difficult to conquer hearts and minds." (24/11/2015)


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El País - Spain

Lluís Bassets on history repeating itself in the war on terror

Europe must not repeat the mistakes made after 9/11 in the war on terror, warns Lluís Bassets in his blog with the centre-left daily El País: "Everything that is happening now has happened before. As if he were reading a script written by someone else, François Hollande seems to be following the same steps George W. Bush took 14 years ago. And not just the president, but all France, Europe and the world are confronted with a horror film, a nightmare with which we are already familiar - and we run the risk of repeating the same mistakes. … If the global war on terror really was a war, fourteen years later it seems clear that we are losing it. The mistakes made back then explain today's disasters, so if we repeat them we will be deepening the rifts that will be our downfall tomorrow. … The real strength of the Islamic State - its territory, the weapons it seizes from dismantled armies and the many warriors it recruits - are the result of three Arab states being destroyed since 2003 without plans or resources for the construction of stable alternative structures being provided." (23/11/2015)


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The Irish Times - Ireland

Risky bank bailout paid off for Ireland

The Irish government has announced plans to start selling shares next year in the Allied Irish Banks (AIB) group, which was nationalised in 2009 to avert bankruptcy. The group's positive performance since its bailout justifies what at the time was a risky operation, the centre-left daily The Irish Times comments in praise: "For most people, a key concern is whether the €21 billion advanced by taxpayers to save AIB can be repaid. ... And AIB's former chief executive David Duffy, when asked when full repayment was likely, indicated 10 years. From a position where some years ago the bailout of AIB was seen as a high-risk gamble, given doubts about the bank's basic solvency, its strong recovery and the prospect of full repayment of its bailout money is a prospect few then would have envisaged." (23/11/2015)


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Slobodna Dalmacija - Croatia

Only Muslims become terrorists nowadays

Those who explain terrorism as the result of failed integration are ignoring the facts, the liberal daily Slobodna Dalmacija argues: "This terrorism doesn't only happen in European cities, but also in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, Kenya, Mali, Bosnia, etc. ... The terrorists in Paris, London and Madrid are often born, educated and employed in these very cities. What's more, this terrorism is never seen among immigrants from Italy, Croatia, India, Brazil or Portugal, some of whom are integrated and some of whom are not. ... True, not all Muslims are terrorists, but all the terrorists of this new wave of violence are Muslims. You can't deny that this is a war of religion and civilisation on the part of radical Muslims, waged against Christians and other non-Muslims." (24/11/2015) - Lithuania

Exodus to Europe: Lithuanians must integrate themselves first

According to a current survey by the opinion research institute Spinter tyrimai, sixty percent of Lithuanians are against the country taking in refugees. This shows the country's citizens aren't mature enough to be part of Europe, the monthly magazine IQ contends: "Now that Europe is in the grips of an almost unmanageable refugee crisis, for the first time [since joining the EU] we have the opportunity to play the role not only of recipient but also of donor. This is a unique opportunity for us to come across as strong and self-assured. ... Almost 27 percent of the population is for taking in refugees, while only 17 percent says this would be an expression of humanity and solidarity with Europe. The rest hope that the foreigners won't stay here for long. ... That only allows one conclusion: first of all thousands of Lithuanians need to integrate [into Europe], because their superstition and fear are preventing them from feeling the compassion and humanity that are part and parcel of the European's DNA." (24/11/2015)

Hotnews - Romania

Romania's enemy doesn't wear a suicide vest

Romanian-style terrorism takes the form of omnipresent corruption, the news portal Hotnews writes: "The terrorist next door doesn't carry any automatic weapons or bombs, and he doesn't wear a suicide vest. Nevertheless everything he does is dynamite for the state and for the people who put their trust in it. ... Even today our judges, police, mayors and politicians demand bribes. In recent years it has become increasingly clear that no one can escape the investigators of the anti-corruption authority DNA, but nevertheless we live with the terror of widespread corruption. ... For decades the Western states will have to fight the hidden threat from terrorists who grew up in their suburbs and spread terror in the heart of the nation. Romania too will have to fight for at least one generation until the terrorist next door is a thing of the past." (24/11/2015)


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Eesti Rahvusringhääling - Estonia

Too many terror warnings only create panic

The media are caught up in a race to provide news updates on the terrorist attacks that do little to clarify the situation, the website of the Estonian broadcaster ERR complains: "Sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves if the race among the media - above all among the online media with their ability to provide quick updates - serves any purpose at all. Does it help us, and above all does it help our audiences? That is the question that must guide us, regardless of profit margins. This is particularly relevant at times when the mood is very tense in many European countries. What is our moral duty to our readers, listeners or viewers - to pour even more fuel on the fire, or to make events more understandable to them?" (24/11/2015)


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Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland

Why doping investigations are unfair too

The World Anti-Doping Agency Wada suspended its Russian subsidiary Rusada at the start of November owing to doping violations. On November 19 it announced that it was also investigating other countries. Wada is applying double standards, rails journalist Marcello Foa in the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino: "As I, one of just a handful of journalists, already wrote on November 9, not just Russia but other countries too were subjects of the investigations. But we learned nothing about them because the corresponding section of the Wada report was kept secret. On November 19 Wada published that section and - who would have guessed - we discover that five other countries weren't observing the new anti-doping regulations. Six other countries have been placed under observation. Only a few people, you and I, dear reader, get to hear about this. … In the collective conscience Russia remains the only bad guy. The timing of this spin-doctor operation was once again perfect. That's the way of the world when you know how to manipulate information." (24/11/2015)

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