Navigation

 

Press review | 25/07/2014

 

MAIN FOCUS

  » open

Proposal for a truce in the Gaza conflict

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry have been active in the Middle East since Monday. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry has presented a ceasefire proposal to both conflict parties in the Gaza crisis. According to Haaretz newspaper, the fighting is to stop for a week to make way for Egyptian brokered talks on finding a long-term solution. Commentators stress the urgent need for a ceasefire and discuss the Arab world's passivity in view of the violence in Gaza.

Milliyet - Turkey

Disaster worsening with each minute that passes

A ceasefire is needed as quickly as possible, the conservative daily Milliyet urges: "With every hour and minute that passes the disaster worsens. ... A lasting ceasefire in which the weapons are stilled so that the injured can be tended to and a political solution sought must be achieved now. ... Quite honestly this is not the right time for a debate about whether the prerequisites for negotiations must be fulfilled first for a ceasefire to begin, or whether the ceasefire must come first and then the negotiations. But clearly the mediators have been having this discussion with the conflicting parties for three or four days now. ... The solution to this age-old conflict lies not in a military front; it must be found through political channels. A ceasefire should not be a brief 'pause' in the attacks. All sides, including Hamas, must use political channels to reach an agreement that should be a 'new start'." (25/07/2014)

Der Tagesspiegel - Germany

Arab world passive on Gaza

The biggest protests against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip aren't taking place in the Middle East but in Europe, a situation that has much to do with the political configurations three years after the Arab Spring, the liberal daily Tagesspiegel believes: "The region is becoming increasingly divided into hyper-authoritarian police states on the one hand and failed states on the other. ... Absorbed with their own downfall, the failed states like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Lybia are completely caught up in their own affairs. The authoritarian states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates basically tolerate no domestic dissent whatever these days. ... At the same time their leaders are doing all they can to throttle the Islamist movements which they see as the main cause for the downfall of the region and a huge danger to their own rule." (25/07/2014)

lrytas.lt - Lithuania

UN Council plays into Islamists' hands

With its resolution to investigate possible war crimes in Gaza the UN Human Rights Council has got it all wrong, journalist Arkadijus Vinokuras writes on web portal Irytas.lt: "This move does the Palestinians a disservice and reaches out to the terrorist organisation Hamas and other political Islamists instead. But bearing in mind the Council's membership, any other outcome was unlikely. The current members include: Burkina Faso, Benin, Congo, China, Cuba. ... [The Western states] that just a few days ago were still resolutely against Hamas's terror did nothing to contradict the resolution of this phantasmagorical fraternity of 'fighters for human rights'. ... The Western countries will continue to try to shirk their responsibility until the political Islamists are standing at their door. When the Nazis and Soviets stood before that door, the Americans came to the rescue. Who will come the next time around?" (25/07/2014)

POLITICS

  » open
Frankfurter Rundschau - Germany

Yatsenyuk's resignation courageous if overdue

The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned on Thursday after Vitali Klitschko's party Udar and the nationalist Svoboda left the coalition in protest at the new budget. The left-liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau describes the resignation as a hazardous if overdue step: "Courageous because after the tragedy of flight MH17 the country is faced with an intensification of the conflict in the east. Overdue because for months the government of the talented Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has committed mistake after mistake in its anti-crisis policy. For that reason it bears much of the blame for the escalation, independent of Russian aggression. Yatsenyuk and his team were completely unable to reunite the Ukrainians in the east and west. ... However his resignation shows something else too: unlike in Russia, the rules of the democracy hold sway in Ukraine. And unlike in Moscow, the spirit of freedom thrives in Kiev." (25/07/2014)

Reflexió - Hungary

EU can't get tough on Russia

Little can be expected of the EU as regards resolving the crisis in Ukraine because it is led by toothless tigers, journalist Gergely Szilvay maintains in the opinion portal Reflexió: "The EU and the Western world are afraid to adopt a resolute and tough stance in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. All they are capable of is uttering warnings; the mere thought of military action makes them shudder with fear. But the other side, in this case Russia, only understands harsh tones. ... The EU leaders are a bunch of technocrats who are afraid to act in unison. They cling to their dream of human rights and democracy but are incapable of defending these values in a united and resolute manner." (25/07/2014)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

Poland complicit in CIA prison torture

The European Court of Human Rights found Poland guilty of complicity in the unlawful detention and torture of two terrorist suspects in a secret CIA prison. The Polish government should have uncovered the case much earlier, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza writes, annoyed: "The judgement is very embarrassing. But our government only has itself to blame. If it had handed over all the requested documents to the court, the judges could at most have accused it of taking too long to investigate the case and not doing it properly. But as things stand Poland directly violated the ban on torture and unlawful detention. Because Poland didn't hand over the documents the court was able to argue that it closed its eyes to what the US was doing here. ... Now we must investigate the affair to the bitter end to show we won't let our government get away with violating human rights." (25/07/2014)

El País - Spain

Spain needs territiorial reform like France's

The French National Assembly approved a territorial reform on Wednesday that will reduce the number of French regions from 22 to 13 in a bid to cut administrative costs. Spain should follow this example, the left-liberal daily El País comments: "The French regions are the product of a decentralisation effort that barely created any territorial identity. Their function is limited to supporting economic development, building and maintaining schools and promoting tourism and transport. With around 80000 employees they employ far fewer people than in Spain, where more than a million public servants work for the autonomous regions, which constitute an important political administrative unit. Apart from these differences, [Prime Minister Manuel] Valls' initiative should stimulate the debate about the overdue reform in Spain for eliminating double structures and functions in public administration and cutting costs." (25/07/2014)

REFLECTIONS

  » open
ETC - Sweden

Johan Ehrenberg on melting nations

The independence movements in Scotland, Catalonia and eastern Ukraine have triggered a debate about whether in future there will be more nation states than there have been up to now. However the founder and publisher of the left-wing daily ETC, Johan Ehrenberg, sees the nation and nationalism as outdated concepts: "We live in nations that have become less and less interesting through globalisation and technology. A functioning local economy is more important for inhabitants than the Reichbank's defence of the 'Swedish currency'. A global environmental movement is more important for our future than an inquiry by the [Swedish] energy authority. Because the nations are growing weaker, nationalism is naturally gaining new breeding grounds. But it doesn't stand a chance if the socialists stress the need for federalism and cooperation. It is passé. It ended long ago, even if we haven't yet noticed the movement under our feet: the nations are softening and melting away." (25/07/2014)

La Stampa - Italy

For Cesare Marinette Paris must be active in Europe again

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble backed his French counterpart Michel Sapin at a meeting last week. He voiced his faith in the latter's budgetary policies despite the slow progress in reducing France's new debt. But where is the France that once played an active role in Europe, the deputy director of the liberal daily La Stampa, Cesare Marinetti asks: "There was once a country that created Europe. When its president [François Mitterand] took [Helmut Kohl] by the hand on the fields where, decades before, their fathers lay in trenches full of blood and mud, everyone knew that a new chapter in history had begun. This country seems but a ghost of its past today. France is insecure, divided, weakened, incapable of adopting its rightful role. But if it's true that Europe is no longer dependent on Paris, it's also true that it is impossible to create a Europe without France. ... But where is the France that Europe now needs?" (25/07/2014)

ECONOMY

  » open
Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland

China risking new cold war

The plan of the Brics states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to establish their own monetary fund is a further step on the path to a new cold war, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino fears: "There's no doubt, China is the motor behind the initiative. ... Because Beijing has every reason to believe that the US will refuse to grant the Asian giant more international clout, and even take steps to prevent its rise. With its growing economic importance and strengthened by the strategic alliance with Putin's Russia, China is now questioning the role of the dollar, shaking one of the pillars that support the American superpower. ... It is almost certain that China's attempt to challenge the dollar will further deteriorate the international climate. It opens a new and dangerous chapter, and hastens the march toward a new cold war." (25/07/2014)

Irish Independent - Ireland

Another bubble on Ireland's property market

House prices in Ireland rose by 24 percent on average in the last year, the Central Statistics Office of Ireland announced on Thursday. The conservative daily The Irish Independent feels reminded of the real estate bubble that burst in 2008 and the economic crisis that ensued, and calls on Prime Minister Enda Kenny to intervene: "High house prices inevitably trigger wage demands and this in turn erodes our competitiveness which has just recently begun to improve. To this end, low house prices, rather than high prices, should be the endgame. The politician in Mr Kenny may welcome the short-term electoral benefits that will come his way if he continues to preside over a house-price boom. The statesman should act now to halt an all-too familiar scenario which could end up posing another death threat to our economy." (25/07/2014)

CULTURE

  » open
Vesti - Latvia

Cultural sanctions a good compromise

Denying entry to three Russian pop stars and preventing them from playing at the New Wave music festival in Jūrmala was a clever move on the part of Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, the Russian-language daily Vesti believes: "In fact the Latvian foreign minister made a brilliant decision when he chose the lesser evil. ... As opposed to most EU and Nato countries, Latvia has very close economic ties with Russia. The worst that the foreign ministry could have done would have been to interfere with the economy. Economic sanctions against Russia would mean the loss of many millions of euros, bankruptcies and thousands of unemployed. Since the foreign ministry had to react this time round, cultural sanctions were less dramatic than economic ones. The jobs remain secure and our partners in the EU and Nato are satisfied." (24/07/2014)

SOCIETY

  » open
La Croix - France

France not experiencing a Kristallnacht

Panic mongering about a new wave of anti-Semitism should be avoided in discussion of the riots that accompanied pro-Palestinian demonstrations on the weekend in Paris and its suburbs, the Catholic daily La Croix warns: "Often we hear that the 'new anti-Semites' are the culprits. Of course clear cases of anti-Semitism must be condemned with utmost severity. Nevertheless it must be stressed that the riots were contained, even if some images made it look like France was going down in flames and that we were witnessing a new Kristallnacht. ... And the riots that did take place must not make us forget that many pro-Palestinian demonstrations like the one on Wednesday night in Paris took place without incident. The violence shouldn't be played down, but it shouldn't be exaggerated either. Yes, people are right to express their emotions. But these must not get in the way of a level-headed understanding and assessment of the facts." (25/07/2014)

Die Presse - Austria

Turkey exports anti-Semitism to Bischofshofen

Israeli football team Maccabi Haifa's friendly game against the French team Lille in Bischofshofen, Austria, was disrupted on Wednesday after pro-Palestinian demonstrators of Turkish origin stormed the pitch and attacked the players. Europe must take action to counter the militant anti-Israeli propaganda from Ankara, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse comments: "What happened in Bishofshofen highlights a genuine, dangerous problem for security in the entire Mediterranean region. Turkey is successfully exporting a new militant anti-Semitism to Europe. .... Hundreds of associations with direct ties to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's headquarters are spreading the extreme rejection of the state of Israel that has come to a head in the protests against the new Gaza war - also, and in particular in Austria. The argument that not all criticism of Israel is automatically anti-Semitic is out of place here. In the most recent demonstrations across Europe no distinction is made between the inhabitants of the state of Israel and the Jews." (25/07/2014)

Protagon - Greece

Poverty can be fatal in Greece

A seriously ill 56-year-old woman died in Chania on Crete on Wednesday after the state-run electricity company DEI switched off her power supply because she hadn't paid her bills. The bed-ridden woman was dependent on electric medical equipment. Web portal Protagon denounces the helpless situation of destitute Greeks: "The risk of dying or becoming seriously ill is unfortunately very high. People with disabilities are mostly ignored by the media when they constantly point to the incredible difficulties they face in everyday life: the long wait for disabled passes, disability reports that are only valid for a short period, after which they must be renewed, social benefits cuts, etc. All this means that a human life can easily be lost. And when the case in question isn't as shocking as that in Chania, we never even hear about it because many people's deaths go completely uncommented." (25/07/2014)

Other content