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SOCIETY

Politiken - Denmark | 28/08/2015

New course paves the way for Danish Islam

The faculty of theology at the University of Copenhagen plans to offer Islamic theology as a new course of study. The centre-left daily Politiken welcomes the decision: "The politicians' wish is that this will strengthen moderate Islam in Denmark. And perhaps it will, even if introducing this course naturally doesn't guarantee a reduction in the number of extremists in the country. … The initiative reaches out to moderate Muslims, who actually make up the majority of Muslims in Denmark. For ethnic Danes the initiative also offers the chance to gain a better understanding of Islam. It is only natural that the dialogue among religions functions best on the basis of knowledge. A Danish branch of study on Islamic theology could ease the transition from monoculture to multiculture." (28/08/2015)

Göteborgs-Posten - Sweden | 27/08/2015

Sweden's taxes must be made more transparent

According to a recent study by the Swedish taxpayers association Sweden's average earners pay around 50 percent taxes, 20 percent more than they themselves believe they are paying. The reason for this ignorance is hidden taxes like VAT and employer contributions. The liberal daily Göteborgs-Posten looks to neighbouring Denmark and calls for more transparency: "In Denmark the employer contributions are very low but the income tax is far higher, which makes things much more transparent. … The study was clearly carried out on the assumption that if the citizens realise how much they really pay to the state they will demand tax cuts. … But it doesn't have to come to that. … The main thing is that the taxpayers become more aware that it's their money that finances the welfare state. That could move them to demand more flexibility and effectiveness." (27/08/2015)

Le Quotidien - Luxembourg | 26/08/2015

Luxembourg must prevent agitation against beggars

Organised beggar groups in Luxembourg's capital are causing public debate in the Grand Duchy. The fact that many Luxembourg citizens allow themselves to become agitated at beggars is discussed by the centre-left daily Le Quotidien: "As was already the case during the campaign for the referendum on voting rights for foreigners, many people seem to be lacking in critical thinking. They allow themselves to be influenced too easily by statements tainted by populism. And because they are willing to rely on such flimsy information, they make judgements which often cross tolerable limits. … The end of the tunnel is, however, nowhere near in sight. After the beggars, the spotlight could soon be on refugees, who will be coming to Luxembourg in large numbers. It is therefore high time to work against this trend." (26/08/2015)

The Irish Times - Ireland | 25/08/2015

The Catholic Church has no future with celibacy

Ireland, like many other Western countries, has far too few young priests, lamented the Pontifical Nuntius in Ireland, Charles Brown, last week. This can only be changed by turning away from celibacy, writes the centre-left daily The Irish Times: "It ought to be possible, with a will, for the Catholic Church to revert to a married clergy again without trauma. Indeed, many within and without the church would welcome such change as, pastorally, it would lend credibility to the ministry of its priests and bring it into line with the practice and experience of all other Christian denominations. It is one area of Catholic practice where Pope Francis can himself change things more or less unilaterally, as no issue of dogma is involved. ... The Catholic Church must choose. It is celibacy or a future." (25/08/2015)

Népszabadság - Hungary | 25/08/2015

Germany's refugee policy exemplary

As far as refugee policy is concerned Europe should follow Germany's example, urges the centre-left daily Népszabadság: "We should take note of the tone the German politicians are adopting when talking about the refugees. Naturally, they too realise that they can't take in 800,000 people or more. But those refugees they are able and obliged to take in, they receive with open arms. This reflects the sense of historic responsibility to which the Federal Republic of Germany is committed: the conviction that the unified Germany is an open and integration-friendly country. … When it comes to the refugee crisis, Europe has no choice but to go along with what the Germans want, namely a standardised system of rules and the introduction of binding quotas. Berlin is clearly beginning to understand that the present crisis is putting a fundamental EU value to the test: solidarity." (25/08/2015)

De Volkskrant - Netherlands | 25/08/2015

Train station controls would be victory for terror

Following the thwarted presumed terror attack on a Thalys express train on Friday, demands for stricter controls at train stations are growing louder. That would be the wrong approach, warns the centre-left daily newspaper De Volkskrant: "Acts of terrorism can be better prevented by screening potential perpetrators than by surveillance of potential targets. This is not only for practical reasons, but also as a general principle: the introduction of the kind of controls that already exist in airports, at train stations and other public places would mean that our open society would break its promise not to bow down before terrorism. Each and every limitation on freedom of movement resulting from the fight against terrorism is a victory for the terrorists. Getting into a train in the sober knowledge that there is a minor chance of becoming the victim of a terror attack is better than living with the illusion that nothing can happen to us." (25/08/2015)

Politiken - Denmark | 25/08/2015

Denmark needs fast trains and psychologists

The plans of Denmark's liberal government to shift government institutions from Copenhagen to other parts of the country in a bid to stop rural exodus have triggered a fierce debate. A hysterical debate that needs to be put on the right track again, the centre-left daily Politiken believes: "The residents of Copenhagen are suffering from a nature phobia; the rural areas are suffering from envy. … If the train system worked - in the early mornings as well as after the last film or the last beer - the Copenhageners would have less reason to be afraid of taking on a job outside the city, and the rural population wouldn't be so envious. In a modern country people can choose for themselves when it comes to their job and where they live. … The problem is the bad train connections. If they worked properly then a few psychologists could solve the other problems - both in Copenhagen and in the rural areas." (25/08/2015)

Standart - Bulgaria | 24/08/2015

Refugees bring Islamism to Europe

The massive rush of refugees to the neighbouring countries of Macedonia and Serbia is a precursor to a conspiracy of radical Islamists, according to the daily newspaper Standart: "When the alarm bells start ringing on the borders of Macedonia and Serbia, they also ring in our country. We must make careful preparations to ensure that the mass of refugees does not overrun us. … We must protect ourselves from an uncontrollable wave of refugees. No one can guarantee that there will not be radical Islamists among them. At the moment we are witnessing a scenario that was the design of radical Islamists 30 years ago. They want to bring their ideology from the Middle East, through Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Albania, through Hungary and Austria, into the heart of Europe, and their plan is already working. Europe can still prevent this. The question is whether it is ready to give up its civilised tranquility." (24/08/2015)

Handelsblatt - Germany | 24/08/2015

More police to prevent violence against refugees

In the Saxonian town of Heidenau at the weekend, right-wing radicals went on the rampage in front of an emergency refugee shelter. Dozens of people were injured during confrontations between police and left-wing counter-demonstrators. The potential for violence against asylum seekers will continue to grow, fears the liberal business paper Handelsblatt: "In the face of the increasing influx of refugees, the potential for riots such as those in Heidenau in Saxony will increase in proportion with the number of new arrivals. For this reason, we need more police. There have been situations in which only 170 police officers have had to deal with 600 rioters. If 300 police officers had been available, the worst could have been prevented. It is a disgrace that we have to invest money that could be put into refugee shelters to boost police presence. But it is the only solution." (24/08/2015)

The Irish Times - Ireland | 22/08/2015

Murder endangers peace in Northern Ireland

The police in Northern Ireland suspect that members of the Provisional IRA (PIRA) were responsible for the murder of an ex-member of the IRA two weeks ago. Should it be confirmed that the terrorist organisation still exists, then the fragile coalition government of republicans and unionists in Northern Ireland could collapse, according to the centre-left newspaper The Irish Times: "It is 10 years since the Provisional IRA put weapons beyond use and 'left the stage', creating the circumstances under which Sinn Féin could enter government; support the police and commit exclusively to democratic and peaceful means. ... If those structures persist, with an active membership, it will raise questions about republican commitment to the peace process. Before the situation deteriorates any further, some clarity and a robust intervention are required from the two governments." (22/08/2015)


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