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Die Presse - Austria | 27/05/2015

Gay marriage should not be put to referendum

The people of Ireland voted in favour of the introduction of same-sex marriages in a referendum last Friday. The decision may be welcome but the way it came about was undemocratic, the centre-right daily Die Presse complains: "Where is the outrage at the fact that the majority has decided on the rights of a minority? It can't really be heard. After all, things turned out all right in the end. ... Nevertheless, the outcome of a vote shouldn't play a role in whether or not the question is put to a referendum. The key question should be whether it is a suitable issue to be decided by direct vote, for example because it deals with a basic political orientation. For all other issues we have elected representatives who take a decision after weighing up all the arguments. And that is exactly how the sensitive issue of same-sex marriage should be dealt with." (27/05/2015)

Wprost Online - Poland | 27/05/2015

Young Poles have other problems than Komorowski

Some commentators have put the success of national conservative candidate Andrzej Duda in Poland's presidential elections down to the dissatisfaction of young voters who blame their lack of prospects on the former head of state and see no alternative but to leave the country. Nonsense, writes journalist student Aleksandra Dyjak on her blog for the conservative news website Wprost Online: "Those who want to leave will do so regardless of the election results. Explaining the decision of these young Poles to emigrate by citing the success of one or the other presidential candidate is ridiculous. ... The real reasons are to be found in the state of the healthcare system, unemployment, the precarious pensions and social benefits, the low level of education and the Polish school system. No need to go on: the list is long and all-embracing, and we all know how things stand." (27/05/2015)

Sabah - Turkey | 26/05/2015

West's sadness over Palmyra hypocritical

The conquest of the Syrian city Palmyra by the IS terrorist organisation has sparked a wave of international indignation. But the West's laments are the result of colonialist sentiments, the pro-government daily Sabah believes: "The UN isn't in a position to prevent the massacres taking place before its eyes, but when one or two stones are moved around everyone mans the barricades! The West lays claim to monuments, relics and treasures all around the world. And if you touch them you're violating the West's borders. That goes as much for Palmyra as it does for the statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. ... But when the beautiful Ömer Mosque in Damascus or the Emevi Mosque in Aleppo were bombed by the regime's jets, no one so much as batted an eyelid. Because the West doesn't consider them historical relics or care when they're destroyed." (26/05/2015)

Ziare - Romania | 26/05/2015

Migrants don't help Romania at ESC

With its song about the children of Romanian labour migrants, the band Voltaj had hoped to get extra points from Italy and Spain, where many Romanian guest workers have settled. But the strategy of appealing to the voters' consciences backfired, the website comments: "It seems we don't understand these people or what was behind their dramatic decision to migrate even if it meant leaving their children behind. They didn't travel through Europe out of a desire for adventure or because they were bored. And they didn't leave their children with relatives because they'd had enough of them. Most of them emigrated because they saw no alternative for their own survival or that of their children. ... And perhaps they can identify more with the chorus of the winning song, which is appropriate for them and their children: We are the heroes of our time." (26/05/2015)

Blog Pitsirikos - Greece | 24/05/2015

Only thing that can help Greeks is bankruptcy

The head of the EU's ESM bailout fund, Klaus Regling, warned last week that Greece is facing bankruptcy. If Greece were to go bankrupt at least it would serve to make clear to the Greeks how bad their situation really is, blogger Pitsirikos comments sarcastically: "Five years after the country received its first bailout most Greeks still don't realised what a state the country is in. There are many who believe we'll soon experience more 'golden years' like those before 2008. Naturally the left-wing Syriza alliance is also responsible for this because it promised the voters so much even though it knew that it wouldn't be able to keep them if the country was to stay in the Eurozone. ... Greek society is only interested in money. I hope our insolvent country will soon officially go bankrupt. It would do Greek society good and finally lead to meaningful and sensible changes." (24/05/2015)

Irish Examiner - Ireland | 21/05/2015

Irish must vote for gay marriage

The Irish vote in a referendum today, Friday, on the introduction of gay marriage in the country. The polls predict a clear "yes". The liberal daily Irish Examiner also hopes this will be the result: "[The planned reform] offers constitutional protection to people who happen not to be heterosexual should they choose to exercise a right everyone else takes for granted. ... It is based on the realisation that the half-life, the suffering and discrimination - and loneliness - inflicted on so many of our brothers and sisters, cousins, and friends is no longer acceptable. Many of those opposed to the change believe deeply in their position and must be respected for that and allowed to freely express those views. That caveat is not enough though to sustain the constitutional discrimination endured by so many." (21/05/2015)

Gândul - Romania | 21/05/2015

Raise in child benefit won't help Romania

The Romanian parliament doubled child benefit to the equivalent of 20 euros on Wednesday. The online paper Gândul writes that more should be done to offer children in the poor country better prospects for the future: "Should we try to boost the birth rate in poor areas where children are condemned to a life of deprivation, or should we offer them better quality of life and education? Naturally the latter entails far more work than just doubling child benefit. It would mean investing more money in daycares and kindergartens, in schools, and in schemes that teach children that work and knowledge can help them do well in life. Whether we like it or not, everything depends on education - it is the only means to correct the country's lack of orientation." (21/05/2015)

La Croix - France | 21/05/2015

Empty France's social hammock

The French unemployment agency announced on Wednesday that it would do more in future to make sure that those registered as unemployed are really looking for work. The move is seen as breaking a taboo in the country, where more than 3.5 million people are currently unemployed. The Catholic daily La Croix nevertheless backs the plan: "Certainly, not many people deliberately abuse the unemployment insurance system by claiming benefits for as long as possible. Nevertheless such people do exist and must be punished for two reasons. On the one hand because they discredit all the others who are unemployed. On the other because they're exploiting a system that relies on mutual benefits and contributions from workers and employers. Abusing that system is to take advantage of those who work and needlessly increase companies' costs. And that, in turn, creates unemployment." (21/05/2015)

Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | 21/05/2015

Openly discuss integration of IS returnees

The city of Stockholm wants to resocialise those returning from IS campaigns and offer them assistance in finding accommodation and jobs, as well as financial support. The plan, which was presented at the start of the week, has come under heavy fire from politicians and the public: The liberal daily Dagens Nyheter understands the criticism but argues for a pragmatic approach: "The task of the municipalities is to deal with people who come home more radical than when they left. That is a challenge that cannot be met by gut instincts. There is no reason to naively assume that these people will all of a sudden change their views just because they get help finding a job or an apartment. To deal with such risk cases you need a combination of the carrot and the stick. But instead of attacking the municipalities for being too soft on terrorists, it's time we put serious thought into what should be done with these people. ... No matter how annoying it is, first and foremost we must ask 'What works?'." (21/05/2015)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 21/05/2015

Destroying culture is IS's war strategy

The advance of the IS terror militia into the Syrian city of Palmyra poses a threat to the ancient ruins there. The Islamists' destruction of cultural assets is less religiously motivated than part of a calculated war strategy, the daily Tages-Anzeiger believes: "It highlights the helplessness of the West, which only appears to be all-powerful. In the past, images of deities were destroyed to teach the vanquished that their gods couldn't help them because they had been demolished. Rape has been and continues to be used as a weapon in many wars, as the ultimate humiliation, one that surpasses all other material or physical humiliations: having to watch the defilement of a loved one. What the IS is doing when it destroys cultural relics is in a way the spiritual rape of the free world. Look here, this is what we're doing, and you can't do a thing to stop it, these acts say. We're hitting you where it hurts most. There's no lightning from the skies to stop us, nor any American missiles." (21/05/2015)

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