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Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - Poland | 27/07/2015

Polish family policy utterly ineffective

According to recent figures put out by the Gus statistics bureau 180,000 children were born in Poland in the first half of 2015 - the lowest number in 11 years. Marcin Hadaj from the conservative daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna excoriates the family policy of Poland's parties: "For the [ruling] PO I have two bits of news - both of them bad. Firstly the Poles need no longer fear the [opposition party ] PiS. Which means that you - ladies and gentlemen - have a massive problem. Because you will actually have to do something at last. Secondly, people are a lot smarter than you think. Because they do not want to have children in a country which does not offer parents even minimal support. One glance at the figures suffices. Sadly PiS's ideas on the subject are not particularly interesting either. Does 500 Złoty [around 120 euro, in monthly child support for one year] for the second and any further children count as family policy? No, it's just the usual election promise that delivers nothing in the long term." (27/07/2015)

The Malta Independent - Malta | 26/07/2015

Malta must stand up to mafia

In a raid on the betting company Betuniq the Italian police arrested over 40 people and seized around two billion euros. The Malta-based gambling operators are suspected of money laundering for the 'Ndrangheta mafia organisation. We cannot let the island become a paradise for organised crime, writes the liberal-conservative daily The Malta Independent: "When Italian crime syndicates begin moving in, it is clearly time to tighten up the processes of scrutiny, legislative loopholes and security services monitoring. The 'Ndrangheta are not a bunch of crooks killing each other in Calabria, as the popular impression seems to be (among those who have heard of the crime syndicate at all). They control a significant chunk of the world's cocaine traffic, and almost the whole of Europe's. They are not to be trifled with, and we don't want or need to be their conveniently-located washing-machine." (26/07/2015)

Neatkarīgā - Latvia | 24/07/2015

Refugees won't stay in Latvia anyway

Latvia's government has agreed that the country will take in 250 refugees over two years, but recent polls are saying that the majority of the population is against the idea. It's not as if the refugees will want to stay anyway, writes the national conservative daily Neatkarīgā: "On arrival they will see that our 'success story' is just something a few politicians are talking about. … They will then simply get up and walk westwards. How will we be able to keep them in Latvia? Will we pay them to stay here and do nothing? It makes no sense to pay money to bring refugees here because it's already clear that they will not want to stay in Eastern Europe. … Not even the Vietnamese who every night recently have been illegally crossing into Latvia without being arrested are staying here long. They soon move on to Germany via Poland." (24/07/2015)

Le Figaro - France | 24/07/2015

No one wants play executioner for coma patient

The doctors of French coma patient Vincent Lambert have decided to continue to keep him alive and to hand the case over to the public prosecutors. Obviously no one is willing to shoulder this responsibility, concludes the conservative daily Le Figaro: "Vincent Lambert has become a symbol. Some are using his case to denounce what they consider a 'senseless and unnecessary medical treatment'. … Others are using this painful borderline case to remind society that even a weak and wounded almost inexistent life is also a life. … Which of these will finally take it upon themselves to decide to stop feeding him artificially. A doctor? A family member? A judge? A minister? One senses that right now no one is willing to burden their conscience by playing the Roman Caesar in the circus, giving the thumbs up or down that decides whether a man lives or dies." (24/07/2015)

Newsweek Polska - Poland | 23/07/2015

Poland's Church imposes its dogmas over EU law

The Polish Episcopal Conference on Wednesday announced its disappointment that President Bronisław Komorowski had passed the law on artificial insemination. But this is really a conflict between the bishops and the EU, the liberal magazine Newsweek Polska claims: "It was in back in 1987 that the first child in Poland was born as a result of artificial insemination. The Polish Church didn't even notice it at the time. … This indifference continued as long as Poland was not in the EU and there was no need for our state to adopt elementary laws from the laicist European Bioethics Convention into the legal system. It was only with EU accession that the bishops woke up. … Because the issue here is not the foetuses that might land in the sink in the next ten years, it's about power. … It's about whether the Church and its current dogmas are stronger than some 'relativistic' secular law of the EU." (23/07/2015)

Neatkarīgā - Latvia | 23/07/2015

Latvian judiciary bows to popular pressure

Protests erupted in the Latvian city of Liepāja last week after a man and his son were sentenced to community service and a fine for the sexual abuse of an under-age girl. The demonstrators say the sentence is too lenient. Politicians and the judiciary are now discussing whether to make it harsher. The national conservative daily Neatkarīgā warns against giving in to pressure from the streets: "The judiciary in a democratic country must be independent. It should not be swayed by public protest or political pressure. Now it must find a dignified way out of this situation and prove that it examined the case and reached a decision without external pressure. However it's clear that pressure is being exerted and that the judicial authorities are only taking action [and considering revising the case] because people wielding posters are out on the streets." (23/07/2015)

Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic | 24/07/2015

Partial victory for Prague judiciary against corruption

In the most spectacular trial of its kind in the Czech Republic a court on Thursday sentenced former senior Social Democrat politician David Rath to eight-and-a-half years in prison for a severe case of corruption. The liberal business daily Hospodářské noviny is delighted: "Eight-and-a-half years is hard but it corresponds with the danger unleashed by Rath's group. Corruption is a serious disease that threatens society. The sentence shows that society's immune system is equipped to fight this tumour. … But it's too early to celebrate. The Rath case threatens to remain a one off. Corruption continues to flourish. In other cases investigators react almost hyperactively. It would be wrong to fight politicians in every situation. … The sentencing of Rath and Co. is a partial victory of justice. But there's a long way to go before justice as a principle triumphs in the Czech Republic." (24/07/2015)

Die Zeit - Germany | 23/07/2015

NSU trial threatens to become a bad joke

In the trial of the far-right NSU terrorist cell a conflict has erupted between the main defendant Beate Zschäpe and her court-appointed lawyers. The application by the three lawyers to be relieved of their duties has been rejected by the court. This does not reflect well on the trial in general, writes the liberal weekly Die Zeit: "[The trial] is not only about determining the guilt (or innocence) of the defendant and administering a fitting punishment. It is also about the Republic learning about its own mistakes. It is an endeavour by Germany's constitutional state to confront a series of far-right terrorist acts which the country thought were inconceivable, and to try to win back lost trust in the process. After a bungled start, the trial in Munich was until now doing precisely this, in the calmest possible way, and with only the most painstaking research and patience with the joint plaintiffs. It would be a catastrophe if everything were now to deteriorate into a bad joke. For the victims, and their families. And for the constitutional state as a whole." (23/07/2015)

Gość Niedzielny - Poland | 22/07/2015

Poles should refuse to recognise the ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg on Tuesday condemned Italy for refusing to give rights to same-sex couples. The Catholic portal Gość Niedzielny is up in arms: "Poland should refuse to recognise this court any longer. … This European system for controlling human rights is feeble. If some prisoner complains that his cell is too small, they bow down before him. That may be fair enough, because even a prisoner has rights. But when things of any import go to Strasboug, then the judges are often hostile towards human rights, family values or religious freedom. This includes questions such as abortion, assisted dying or in this case, homosexual marriage." (22/07/2015)

Die Welt - Germany | 21/07/2015

Families don't need state subvention

The German Federal Constitutional Court on Tuesday overturned the controversial child care subsidy, because the Federal State is not responsible for such regulation. This money, to the value of 150 euros, was given to parents of small children, who were not using state child care. Now family support in general needs scrutinising, demands the conservative daily Die Welt: "The debate is typically German - and somewhat ludicrous. How can 150 euros a month be seen as appropriate pay for parenting? Conversely, such comparatively modest family support will not have enough of an impact that women would make their career plans dependent on it. … But because Father State likes to play at being generous and spread questionable good deeds among families, he has to reach into the parents' pockets in other places, with ever increasing taxes for example, or social security contributions. If fathers and mothers were left more of the money they had earned themselves, there would be no need for further featherbedding by the state!" (21/07/2015)

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