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De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 31/07/2014

MH17: path to crash site leads through Moscow

Almost two weeks after the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, fighting continues to make the crash site inaccessible. An unbearable situation for the victims' families, the conservative daily De Telegraaf complains: "The salvage work will only become more difficult with every passing day. In addition a growing number of reports claim the crash site is now surrounded by mines. ... The experts are powerless, the accusations against the gangs of criminals supported by Russia grow more serious with each day that passes. Now is the time to show staying power. The Netherlands must continue to pressure all parties to obtain access to the disaster area. The unrest in Ukraine is being stoked by the horse trading in the Kremlin. In fact the path to the crash site leads through Moscow." (31/07/2014)

Wiener Zeitung - Austria | 31/07/2014

EU can't tolerate Orbán

After the controversial speech by right-wing conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in which he invoked the end of liberal democracy, the Wiener Zeitung warns that the EU must react: "Already last year there were frowns all over Europe when he pushed through constitutional amendments that make a mockery of free, democratic society. Minor adjustments were made and the EU acted as if nothing had happened. But that's over now. If the EU takes a resolute course on Russia this raises the question of how it should deal with Hungary if the country continues to implement Orbán's nationalist standards. ... 'Liberal democracy is on its last legs', Orbán announced tersely, but clearly. If Hungary follows this postulate, and there are many indications that it will, the EU faces a major problem. There are no EU rules on how to proceed when a member state permanently violates the EU's fundamental laws. And Orbán knows this." (31/07/2014)

Berlingske - Denmark | 31/07/2014

One-sided criticism of Israel fans violence

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has refused to sign a protest note in which her social-democratic partly leader colleagues in northern Europe condemn Israel's violence in Gaza. The liberal-conservative daily Berlingske argues that this was the right decision: "The EU resolution [on July 22 the EU foreign ministers called on Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint] is more realist than the automatic criticism of Israel voiced by the left every time a conflict erupts. ... The left's one-sided criticism of Israel encourages calls on the streets of Copenhagen and elsewhere in Europe for the persecution of the Jews. ... Neither the Palestinians nor the Jews living in Europe can be held responsible for the war in Gaza. But those who are trying to export the conflict to Europe must be held responsible." (31/07/2014)

Ziare - Romania | 31/07/2014

With Ponta a thief would be Romanian president

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday demanded the support of his party, the PSD, for his candidacy in the presidential election in November. His plagiarised doctoral thesis hangs like a sword of Damocles over his bid for election, news portal Ziare comments: "The difference between the crime of stealing hundreds of pages from a book by another author and stealing an ice cream, a car, a wallet or anything else is merely formal. A person who steals the one thing is also capable of stealing something else. This means that his upbringing and mentality permit theft. A person for whom theft is acceptable is preparing to become president of Romania. A convicted thief may install himself as leader of this country. ... The ultimate question we must ask ourselves is: Should a thief of intellectual property represent us as a people?" (31/07/2014)

L'Opinion - France | 30/07/2014

Hollande shunts Moscovici off to Brussels

France's President François Hollande on Wednesday officially proposed his former finance minister Pierre Moscovici as candidate for the EU Commission. For the liberal business paper L'Opinion the nomination reflects the unhealthy French habit of shunting unpopular politicians off to Brussels: "This custom demonstrates a threefold contempt: for voters, for European institutions, and for the other member states. It feeds French aversion towards the European project. ... And it undermines the credibility of the government, which is already being criticised by Germany for its claims to be exercising budgetary responsibility. There can only be one loser: France, whose representatives in Brussels and Strasbourg hardly have a chance at holding key posts. This reduces our country's influence, and thus also weakens the defence of its interests." (30/07/2014)

Sözcü - Turkey | 30/07/2014

No controls on votes by Turks living abroad

Starting today Turks living abroad may for the first time vote in Turkish presidential elections where they live, without having to travel back to Turkey. In most countries the ballot boxes will be set up in gymnasiums and trade fair halls, which can hardly guarantee secure balloting conditions, columnist Emin Çölaşan complains in the government critical daily Sözcü: "The ballot boxes will stand in these halls for days. ... Who will watch over them? At night when everyone's asleep, invisible hands can do their dirty work. And they will, of that I'm convinced. After that the ballot boxes will be taken to Turkey and stored in one depot or another until election Sunday on August 10. What sort of conditions are these? I'm expecting the worst. Erdoğan's supporters are extremely well organised in Europe. Companies they're allied with provide them with whopping injections of funds. ... So who's going to guarantee the security of ballot boxes abroad?" (30/07/2014) - Spain | 30/07/2014

Nobel Prize for Israel's hypothetical pacifism

Israel's current behaviour is guaranteed to win it the Nobel Peace Prize, José A. Pérez comments sarcastically in online newspaper's Blog Zona Critica: "Naturally the Nobel Committee would have to pay less attention to what the Israeli state is doing than to what it is not doing, even though it could. It wouldn't be the first time the Academy awards a potential, hypothetical pacifism. Look at Kissinger. Or Obama. A Nobel Peace Prize for being able to invade but not actually doing it, for not killing too much, or for condoning torture just a little. ... Let's also give a Nobel Prize to the international community for not actively taking part in the bombardment, but simply looking on impassively. And another for the media, who are distorting the reality just a little - only in the headlines and captions. ... There aren't enough prizes to reward so much pacifism." (30/07/2014)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 30/07/2014

Kosovars also committed war crimes

The EU's Special Prosecutor John Clint Williamson presented his report on the crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army UÇK during the Kosovo War on Tuesday. He accuses the army of crimes against humanity and wants to have its leaders put on trial. The report is an important step in the emancipation of the young nation of Kosovo, the daily Tages-Anzeiger believes: "During and immediately after the war, several rebel leaders kidnapped Serbs, murdered Roma and silenced critical Albanians. Anyone who stood in their way had to fear for their lives. Eyewitnesses were shot, evidence destroyed. ... There were human rights violations also on the Kosovo-Albanian side which must be investigated. Now the international tribunals must take action, and above all witnesses must be protected. ... The West liberated Kosovo from Belgrade's repression in 1999. Now the young Balkan republic's second liberation is under way. This time from the so-called freedom heroes who sullied their country's reputation in the frenzy of war." (30/07/2014)

La Stampa - Italy | 30/07/2014

Climate of mistrust between US and Russia

Washington accused Moscow on Tuesday of violating the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with a test launch in 2008. Although the incident itself should not be dramatised, the delicate state of relations between the two countries is very much cause for concern, the liberal daily La Stampa warns: "The strategic balance between Washington and Moscow isn't significantly affected by this or that cruise missile. Nevertheless the political consensus achieved between Russia and the US has been subjected to almost daily attacks for some time now. A loss of trust and a dramatic decrease in readiness for dialogue are now the order of the day. The problems aren't new, but the polemical and brusque way of broaching them certainly are. ... The phase after the end of the Cold War seems to be giving way to one that is hard to define, but marked by huge uncertainties and dangers." (30/07/2014)

Radikal - Turkey | 30/07/2014

A secular Turkey could mediate in Middle East

The Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu took part in a mediation meeting with his counterparts from the US, EU and Qatar on the weekend in Paris in a bid to find a solution to the Gaza conflict. After the meeting he stressed that peace negotiations without Hamas's participation would be impossible. Turkey's foreign policy has been too strongly aligned with radical Hamas, the liberal daily Radikal laments: "If Turkey hadn't made the foreign policy mistakes it has made in the last five years it could negotiate today with Hamas, Israel and even with Fatah, and its diplomatic influence and role wouldn't be limited to Hamas. ... In short: Turkey would be a far more effective and convincing voice against Israel's disproportionate violence and state terror. ... What the Middle East lacks most is a secular and truly democratic Turkey that adopts a rational, open, consistent and positive role in the region. Innocent people in Palestine, Gaza, Iraq and Syria are paying the price for this sin." (30/07/2014)

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