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Refugees drown on their way to Kos

Refugees board a boat on the Turkish coast. Every day roughly 2,000 people try to cross the five kilometres separating Turkey from the island of Kos. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

The image of a drowned little boy who was washed up on a beach on Turkey's Bodrum Peninsula was spread on the social media on Wednesday. The boy and at least ten other people drowned while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos by boat. The photo is a brutal testimony to the failure of the EU in the refugee crisis, some journalists write. Others hold Turkey partially responsible for the child's death.

Diário de Notícias - Portugal

Europe's collective shame

Deeply shocked at the scenes from a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, the liberal conservative daily Diário de Notícias voices its anger: "The lifeless body of the little boy lies in the sand until it is lifted and carried away by a police officer. At this stage we can simply no longer tolerate the brutality, repulsiveness and indifference: our individual and collective shame, the politicians who call for calm amidst such tragedy, making themselves accomplices in doing so. We won't forget this accursed beach so quickly, which could just as easily have been in Greece, Italy or Portugal. … It is happening here on our doorstep. Children, women and men are dying every day in the Mediterranean - and that can only increase the anger at Europe's senseless policies. This crisis has been going on for over a year and nothing, or very little, has been done either on this or the other side of the border." (03/09/2015)

T24 - Turkey

Turkey also to blame for refugee drama

The photo of the dead three-year-old Aylan should be a wake-up call for Turkey, the liberal online paper T24 urges: "All these refugees wanted was a better life for their children. But that's not what they got in Turkey. They were rented flats at twice the normal price, they were forced to send their children to work so they could get enough to eat, and their women were obliged to work as prostitutes. The Syrians have been living in this country for four years without any legal security, their work and their bodies are abused, they're subjected to racism, discrimination and harassment. And because Turkey benefits from this situation in every way, no one says a word. ... We lost Aylan, but we can at least prevent more Syrian children from drowning in the Mediterranean. By showing solidarity and resisting the oppression that they are subjected to. And by giving them a permanent status that will allow them to live in our country like human beings." (03/09/2015)

La Stampa - Italy

Don't avert your eyes from misery

The image of the dead boy whose body was washed up on a beach on Turkey's Bodrum Peninsula has gone viral on the social media. Mario Calabresi, editor-in-chief of the liberal daily La Stampa, defends his decision to publish it on the front page: "Not showing you this picture would have meant turning a blind eye and pretending nothing had happened. Not publishing it would only have meant pulling the wool over our own eyes and prolonging our ignorance by another day. That's why I changed my mind. Respect for this child, who together with his parents, brothers and sisters fled a war that is being waged on our very doorstep, demands that we should all realise what is going on. It demands that each and every one of us should stop for a moment and take stock of what is happening on the beaches where we spent our holidays. After that you can go on with your lives, perhaps outraged at my decision, but no longer ignorant of the situation." (03/09/2015)

El País - Spain

Face up to true scale of the crisis

A special EU summit is necessary, the centre-left daily El País demands with an eye to the images of the dead refugee child on the Turkish coast: "First of all the politicians must recognise the dimensions of this issue and say out loud that the wave of refugees demands new and ambitious solutions. Treatment is not possible without the right diagnosis. It is indispensable to hold a summit at which Europe's leaders - and not just the interior ministers and justice ministers convened for September 14 - assess the situation and take medium and long-term action including economic and geostrategic measures to address the causes of the problem. Europe can find its way and regain some of the legitimacy and global leadership it has lost if it tackles this challenge. This is the only possible solution." (03/09/2015)

POLITICS

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Wiener Zeitung - Austria

Border controls at Brenner Pass jeopardise Europe

At Germany's behest Italy has introduced new border controls at the Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria. The state-run daily Wiener Zeitung criticises the move as undermining free circulation within the EU: "One of Europe's four basic freedoms, the freedom of movement, is in great danger. The fact that Europe is not fighting tooth and nail to defend this most valuable asset is a shame - but it is symptomatic of the state of Europe's institutions. Because it is not the high number of refugees that is responsible for the undermining of free movement but the lack of European institutions to deal with them. … If the borders are closed why should people believe that a transnational currency is the right solution? And what are we to think of a Europe that allows capital to circulate freely, but not people? The national governments have once again shown that they are incapable of dealing with extreme situations that affect everyone." (03/09/2015)

Deutschlandfunk - Germany

Berlin showing solidarity out of self-interest

German politicians are only being cynical when they ask their EU partners to display a sense of solidarity on refugee policy, the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk admonishes: "Conservative [German] politicians are quick to criticise national egotism in the EU. And rightly so. ... They, themselves, however, are the last ones entitled to voice such criticism. Because when the Dublin system was reformed the last time two years ago it was Germany of all countries - still governed by the CDU and FPD - that virulently opposed a solidarity mechanism meant to relieve the 'front line' states. Now, however, is the time for solidarity, they tell us - this time because it's in Germany's interest. Such cynicism is hard to top. And their initiative certainly has nothing to do with solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes." (02/09/2015)

Financial Times - United Kingdom

Cameron underestimates British compassion

The British government is opposing the introduction of a quota system for distributing refugees in Europe and wants to take in a maximum of 1,000 people. This stance may seem too harsh even to those who oppose immigration, the conservative daily Financial Times warns: "Britain has a strong humanitarian tradition, notably in taking 80,000 Jewish refugees from Europe in the 1930s. Today, that tradition is foundering because the UK's political leaders are scared to disentangle the different aspects of the immigration debate. ... Britain's politicians have long believed that voters instinctively reward toughness on immigration. But there is a compassionate and humane streak in the British people that ought not to be underestimated. As Europe's refugee crisis develops, it is not the defensive crouch of Mr Cameron that Britons may come to admire but the courage and principle of Ms Merkel." (02/09/2015)

L'Opinion - France

Paris opts for labour minister without expertise

French President François Hollande on Wednesday appointed the former secretary of state for urban policy, Myriam El Khomri, to succeed labour minister François Rebsamen, who stepped down last month. The fact that the new minister has no experience with labour market policy won't make any difference at all, the liberal business paper L'Opinion jokes: "The president seems to have understood that, contrary to what he believed until now, it's companies, not ministers, that create jobs. And that the less the state intervenes, the greater the chances are that the bargaining partners will agree on a reform of the labour market. ... Hollande also seems to have understood that there's no need to put an expert in social affairs at the head of this ministry because the biggest challenge here is agreeing on how to communicate the month-by-month developments in the unemployment rate." (02/09/2015)

Simerini - Cyprus

Akıncı wants to dissolve Republic of Cyprus

The leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akıncı, has called for a 'new structure based on political equality', with a new name and a new flag, as a solution to the Cypriot problem. For the conservative daily Simerini this is just another name for an independent state: "If the Cypriot leadership fails to see that a new state is behind Akıncı's phraseology, then it has a huge naivety problem. First the pseudo state will be legalised under the name 'Turkish Cypriot Constituent State' with a Turkish Cypriot majority. The Republic of Cyprus will dissolve itself and adopt the name 'Greek Cypriot Constituent State'. The Republic of Cyprus will be 'dissolved' as Turkey predicted [in an official document from 2014]. Its flag will no longer fly. ... Mustafa Akıncı has this charisma. He uses a language that doesn't provoke the Greek Cypriots. Only those who look at what's behind the terminology understand what it really means." (03/09/2015)

Gość Niedzielny - Poland

Poland's pointless referendum

In Poland next Sunday a non-binding referendum will be held on electoral law issues. Former Polish president Bronisław Komorowski announced the vote after the first round of the presidential election in May. Observers saw the step as an attempt to beat off his rivals in the second round. Stefan Sękowski of the Catholic news portal Gość Niedzielny argues that the referendum is utterly pointless: "Just for the sake of winning, Komorowski set something in motion that will cost us 100 million zloty [around 25 million euros] and which puts millions of Poles under pressure to vote. I won't go to the ballot on September because I'm not a puppet that the ex-president and the politicians of his party can make dance to their tune. … Besides, the turnout will be so low that it probably won't even be valid. This is the key difference to elections, in which someone always wins." (03/09/2015)

ECONOMY

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Ethnos - Greece

Greeks pay more taxes and get less pay

Even though their incomes have gone down by 30 percent on average over the last five years, the Greeks will have to pay higher taxes this year, the centre-left daily To Ethnos calculates, finding this absurd: "This year the people are expected to pay taxes amounting to 8.74 billion euros while in 2011 they paid almost half a billion less! 8.29 billion to be precise. This absurdity is the result of the austerity memorandums that Papandreou, Samaras and Venizelos signed. It's clear that the third austerity memorandum which Alexis Tsipras agreed to by accepting Germany's terms will considerably worsen the situation. Companies, by contrast, will pay a little less in taxes than in 2011. Back then it was 2.76 billion euros while this year it's 2.74 billion euros." (02/09/2015)

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

More supervision of Estonia's state companies

Following a corruption scandal at Tallinn's port and the publication of how much money has been wasted at the state-run energy company Eesti Energia, Estonia's Economic Affairs Minister Kristen Michal plans major changes on the supervisory boards of all state-owned enterprises. The liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht wants to see stricter supervision of all public companies: "The state-owned companies have long since turned into sources of funding for people who belong to the inner circle and who use them to finance political goals and gain advantages in the business world. Three years ago the minister for economic affairs at the time wanted to put all state-owned companies under one management. This was never put into practice. … But precisely now the parliament and the government must lay down new principles for how companies that belong to the state can function most effectively and fairly. At the same time they must review how many of them are actually needed." (03/09/2015)

SOCIETY

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Delfi - Lithuania

Lithuanian school children used for propaganda

Many school children from families that belong to the Polish and Russian minorities in Lithuania's Vilnius region protested against worsening education opportunities by not turning up for lessons on Wednesday, and instead attended an exhibition in the centre of the capital instead. It's a disgrace that children are being used to further the interests of politicians with close ties to the Kremlin, the news portal Delfi complains: "These poor children have been robbed of the chance of a happy start to the new school year. Instead of learning the Lithuanian language as every citizen of Lithuania should do, they were forced to miss several days of school and watch the spectacle of Lithuania's Polish election action. It's bad enough that the children are being involved in pseudopolitics that carry the whiff of days gone by. But it's even worse that the Church was also forced to sing along with the Kremlin's propagandist rhetoric." (02/09/2015)

Le Quotidien - Luxembourg

France needs a vegetarian school menu

A petition put out by the French centrist member of parliament Yves Jégo for the introduction of an alternative vegetarian meal in French schools attained the necessary 100,000 signatures on Tuesday. Meat-free school lunches would be more than just an answer to the demands made by various religions, the centre-left daily Le Quotidien writes in delight: "The introduction of a vegetarian meal seems to be the simplest solution. If in addition it is proven that eating meat every day is not indispensable to our well-being, this option will also become interesting as regards environmental protection. Because a drop in meat consumption can only be a good thing for our planet, even if cattle breeders are anything but happy about it. Instead of wasting our time with outdated discussions about imposed secularism, it's much more interesting to see this vegetarian option as an ideal solution that can reconcile a maximum number of people with each other." (02/09/2015)

Berlingske - Denmark

Royal visit too costly for Danish communities

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and the Prince Consort are sailing the Baltic Sea in a ship and visiting various destinations. Blogger Anne Sophia Hermansen complains about the costs this will entail for the local authorities in the liberal conservative daily Berlingske: "We get annoyed because the municipalities recruit lobbyists to influence the decision makers in parliament. That's a waste of taxes! we cry. But at least they try to do something for the local communities and those who live there. Can the same be said of the royal family and its floating luxury hotel? Hardly. If the Queen wants to do something good for the local communities she should either let her friends in the business community pay the bills for her visit or she should donate the royal ship to one of the local communities, which could then set up a museum or a public soup kitchen on it. … Any responsible mayor should say 'no thanks' to this visit." (29/08/2015)

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