Press review | 24/10/2014



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Attack in Ottawa

The attacker shot a guard at the National War Memorial before storming the parliament. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


After the attack in Ottawa on Wednesday in which one person and the gunman were killed, investigators are trying to establish the motive. According to media reports, the attacker was known to the authorities and may have had Islamistic reasons for his actions. Religious converts must be watched more closely, some commentators write. Others doubt that constitutional states can effectively thwart individual perpetrators.

The Times - United Kingdom

Keep an eye on converts

The attacks in Canada should come as a wake up call for the West's security services to heighten their surveillance of religious converts in the social media, the conservative daily The Times warns: "The two incidents do, however, make plain that western counter-terrorist specialists should not concentrate exclusively on the threat posed by trained jihadists returning to their native countries primed to kill. Those who stay at home, radicalised by militant preachers and above all by the buzz of like-minded people on social media, are of equal menace. The security services have monitored such Muslim converts as best they can. As long as they are not part of a criminal conspiracy, however, it is difficult to control their movements or gauge their intentions." (23/10/2014)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Rule of law helpless against IS's lone wolves

The Ottawa gunman was acting alone, according to information put out by the Canadian police on Thursday. His attack demonstrates how difficult it is to prevent such amorphous acts of terrorism, the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung warns: "With the help of individuals seduced by its propaganda the Islamic State can spread terror with relatively little effort - in Canada and in any other country. This poses major challenges for the rule of law. The protection of the private sphere and the rights of the individual rule out all-penetrating surveillance and precautionary restrictions or arrests based merely on assumptions and suspicion. The current list of statutory offences can barely be stretched to include the infiltration of destructive false doctrines. Once the laws come into play it's often too late because by then the shots have already been fired. Guaranteeing security without bending the rule of law is no easy undertaking in the face of IS terror." (24/10/2014)

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands

Fighting terrorism takes determination

The international fight against the terrorist IS militia has increased the risk of terroris attacks, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad stresses: "It's no surprise that terrorism poses a serious threat. That's as true for Canada as it is for any of the other countries that have joined the anti-IS coalition. ... Terrorism is a symptom that can be combated but not entirely prevented or eliminated. In such a situation societies must show stamina and the ability to defend themselves. And politicians must be cold-blooded and able to prevent people from panicking. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper proved capable of doing so through his televised speech to the nation yesterday. He calmly reassured his fellow citizens that Canada would not be intimidated and would redouble its efforts in the fight against terrorism." (24/10/2014)

Le Nouvel Observateur - France

Era of innocence ends in Canada

The attack will worsen the social and political climate in Canada, the Canadian Alice Audrain writes in the left-liberal weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur: "Clearly security regulations will be tightened, delivering a blow to Canada's tradition of openness. The same will hold for counter-terrorism legislation, which incidentally had been under discussion in parliament on Wednesday. ... As certain political reactions already show, the Conservatives will not hesitate to play on emotions and use this shooting to toughen the laws. ... The fact that the attacker's passport had been confiscated has also been the subject of much discussion. Is this not an invitation to carry out an attack in the country one is living in instead? What is certain is that this is the end of an era for Canada: the era of innocence." (23/10/2014)


  » open - Romania

Next government in Kiev faces daunting tasks

On the eve of Sunday's parliamentary elections in Ukraine Petro Poroshenko's pro-European alliance has a clear lead in the polls. The new government will face huge challenges, the blog portal Contributors writes: "The Europeanisation of Ukrainian society is moving along at a snail's pace. The problem of systematic corruption was highlighted when the first measures for strengthening the rule of law and creating more administrative transparency were taken. The Ukrainians will have the hardest time understanding that Putin and Russia are not responsible for all their difficulties, problems and failures. ... No president or prime minister can accomplish miracles. And there is no magic formula for Ukraine's gaping deficit." (24/10/2014)

Sabah - Turkey

PKK no longer a terrorist organisation

The Turkish government and Kurdish politicians announced on Wednesday that the peace process with the PKK could reach a successful conclusion within the next few months. Now it's time to stop referring to the PKK as a terrorist organisation, the pro-government daily Sabah writes, because the PKK has long been too powerful for that: "Is terrorist organisation the right term for a group that has been waging war against the huge Turkish army for 29 years? ... And which has a party and government representatives at home, and representatives abroad? States and governments use the term 'terrorist' for developments they want to quash and need help in doing so. In this way their leaders are demonised. Now it seems we're sitting at the same table with these terrorists, and bargaining with the 'devil'. Aid was even sent to the [Syrian Kurdish organisation] PYD, the terrorists' brothers. Was that wrong? Of course not. Because only if the 'believers' and the 'stubborn' sit down together at the same table can further bloodshed be prevented and the problem be solved by political means." (24/10/2014)

Sme - Slovakia

Human rights only secondary for Prague

Miloš Zeman became the first Czech president to make a state visit to China on Thursday. He plans to secure investments and has said he won't be criticising his host's restrictions on freedom. In the eyes of the liberal daily Sme the country has now completely abandoned the pro-human rights course of its former president Václav Havel: "Twenty-five years after the collapse of communism the Czech Republic is easing its pressure on undemocratic regimes. Zeman will represent for the first time a country that has markedly changed its foreign policy. Havel never visited China, always demanded respect for human rights and supported Tibet's independence. ... Zeman is travelling to China at a time when Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has declared developing diplomatic and economic ties with Beijing as a top priority for his government. In April Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek signed a declaration in China according to which the Czech Republic no longer demands Tibet's independence. ... The Czech Republic is changing. Human rights now play a secondary role." (24/10/2014)

Cyprus Mail - Cyprus

Nicosia powerless against Ankara

At the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday Cyprus's head of state Nikos Anastasiadis called on the EU to suspend its accession negotiations with Turkey. Nicosia has already broken off the negotiations on Cyprus's reunification because a Turkish ship is looking for gas reserves in waters Cyprus claims as its own. But this is all just a sham, the liberal daily Cyprus Mail believes: "None of these measures, unfortunately, will stop the Turkish ship Barbaros violating Cyprus' EEZ, nor is it likely that the government would secure anything other than some verbal backing for its position from international forums and organisations. The government and the parties seem content that they are seen to be doing something, even though they know it will not achieve anything. They created high expectations with their angry rhetoric and now have to pretend to be taking a tough line." (23/10/2014)


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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany

High time for Europe to stand by Ukraine, George Soros demands

Europe must finally take a more resolute stance in the Ukraine conflict, urges US investor George Soros in a commentary piece in the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, shortly before Ukraine's parliamentary elections take place: "The new Ukraine has the political will both to defend Europe against Russian aggression and to engage in radical structural reforms. To preserve and reinforce that will, Ukraine needs to receive adequate assistance from its supporters. ... It is high time for the members of the European Union to wake up and behave as countries indirectly at war. ... It is also high time for the European Union to take a critical look at itself. There must be something wrong with the EU if Putin's Russia can be so successful even in the short term. ... And Europeans themselves need to take a close look at the new Ukraine. That could help them recapture the original spirit that led to the creation of the European Union. The European Union would save itself by saving Ukraine." (23/10/2014)


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Cinco Días - Spain

Spain should become Europe's energy supplier

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on the EU to press ahead with the search for alternatives to gas from Russia in a speech at the College of Europe in Bruges on Thursday. He proposed Spain as a new platform for energy supplies from North Africa. The launch of the new EU Commission is a good time for a reorientation, the left-liberal daily Cinco Días concurs: "The EU summit taking place yesterday and today in Brussels needs to reach a consensus on the Union's energy policy, and interconnecting energy networks should also play a role here. But it's not enough to put vague goals on paper. ... Brussels needs to provide the stimulus to launch the projects that can turn these necessary projects into reality. That would be the best possible start in office for the Juncker commission. Because each day that passes without starting construction on these projects puts the EU's political independence at risk." (24/10/2014)

Jornal de Negócios - Portugal

Quantitative easing is the wrong weapon

The European Central Bank plans to combat the threat of recession and deflation with huge cash injections for banks and bond-buying programmes. But this easing of monetary policy is won't work in Europe, argues economist Daniel Gros in the liberal business daily Jornal de Negócios: "The differences in the financial structure are decisive for efforts to prevent deflation. Although quantitative easing can work in a debtor economy with a flexible financial system like the US, in a creditor economy with a conservative financial system it could be a big mistake. This is the real argument against using quantitative easing in the Eurozone - not the fear that the ECB will buy too many bonds from unreliable governments." (22/10/2014)

Huffington Post Italia - Italy

Renzi takes sweet revenge on Barroso

In the row with the European Commission over the Italian budget Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi threatened on Thursday to make the costs of the EU institutions public. Prior to Renzi's threat outgoing EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso had expressed his annoyance that Rome published a strictly confidential warning letter from the Commission on Italy's draft budget. Revenge is sweet, the Huffington Post Italia comments with amusement: "Renzi is retaliating and enjoying it. ... Because he is convinced that the European bureaucrats still haven't understood that they must embark on a pro-growth course, not a pro-austerity one. ... The end of an era, in other words. With a leak as an epilogue overshadowing the Barosso commission's last days in office. Certainly nothing compared to the storm Julian Assange unleashed with his revelations. But the little Renzi leak won't leave Brussels unscathed." (24/10/2014)


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Le Soir - Belgium

Cuts in culture budget deepen rifts in Belgium

The new Belgian centre-right government has announced drastic cuts in subsidies for culture and science. That amounts to an attack on cultural cooperation between Flemish and Walloons, the liberal daily Le Soir rails: "It's as if the government had decided that federal culture was superfluous and should be cut back to practically nothing. Numerous victims of these cuts detect the handiwork of the [Flemish nationalist] N-VA here: robbing culture of its substance effectively means scrapping the 'Belgian' projects that the two communities organise and carry out together. ... The need to economise will justify cuts in numerous areas, but it must be said that these measures will decimate the elements that bind the two communities. It's as if the cutbacks in culture follow the confederational line that is being covertly established." (23/10/2014)


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Népszava - Hungary

Orbán government drives children into poverty

One in every three children in Hungary lives in dire poverty, according to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation in September. The blame lies with Viktor Orbán's right-wing conservative government, the left-leaning daily Népszava believes: "35 percent of Hungarian children suffer from material deprivation, compared with 34.4 percent in Romania. In the other countries of the region, for example Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic, that figure is around six to seven percent. ... Clearly the catastrophic economic policy is responsible for the situation. On the one hand hundreds of thousands of skilled workers are leaving the country, on the other the middle class is growing poorer by the day. The bottom line is: countless regions in Hungary (experts talk of 30 in all) are becoming increasingly backward." (23/10/2014)

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