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Keskisuomalainen - Finland | 28/05/2015

Finns willing to tighten their belts

Finland's new coalition on Wednesday presented the sweeping austerity measures included in its government programme. The liberal daily Keskisuomalainen voices its approval: "With this programme all Finns will have to make compromises regarding their standard of living. Nevertheless the package contains no surprises, as many cuts were prepared but not implemented by the last government. ... Cutbacks are a good option provided sufficient emphasis is placed on economic growth at the same time. And compared with tax hikes, cuts in the public sector are the lesser evil. ... Moreover the people will accept painful decisions if that means more jobs." (28/05/2015)

Sözcü - Turkey | 28/05/2015

The people of Turkey will send Erdoğan away

According to an opinion poll put out on Wednesday Turkey's ruling party the AKP will win just 38.2 percent of the vote in the election on June 7. In 2011 it secured 49.8 percent. In this way the Turks will put an end to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's bid to establish a presidential system, the opposition daily Sözcü writes: "This will be a fateful election. Money, the entire power of the government, theft carried out under the pretence of piety, brazen lies and inequality is on one side, and the profound collective conscience of the people is on the other. … In reality the election will decide between those who want Tayyip Erdoğan to be a president with all the powers in his hand and those who find this dangerous and want the parliamentary system and the separation of powers to continue. The voters will decide. The people brought Erdoğan to power. And the people will send him away." (28/05/2015)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | 28/05/2015

Creditors want to bring Athens to heel

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his leading negotiator Euclid Tsakalotos announced on Wednesday that they expect to reach an agreement with Greece's creditors within two weeks. But the latter are not interested in swiftly concluding the negotiations, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore counters: "The solution proposed by the unbending partners is dictated by a lack of trust. It aims not at concluding the negotiations but at prolonging them for weeks, if not months. Meanwhile Athens is to receive the 11 billion euros at its disposal not in one go but in dribs and drabs. A means of bringing the Greek government to heel and making sure that the reform plan is adhered to. … This rotten compromise may end the self-destructive trial of strength but it will hardly put an end to the Greek crisis." (28/05/2015)

Jutarnji List - Croatia | 28/05/2015

Macedonia long a plaything of the powerful

Politically unstable Macedonia is facing the same fate as Ukraine, namely being crushed in a conflict of interests between the major powers, the liberal daily Jutarnji List warns: "Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is casting himself as the supreme defender of Macedonian unity and warning against the federalisation of the country, which he claims is being destabilised by 'external forces'. He is cleverly exploiting the passivity of the West: the Americans are silent and the EU has said it will take care of Macedonia in June. The West won't leave Macedonia to the Russians. But Russia has managed to get a foot in Macedonia's door in order to use a not yet definitively defined European space for its own strategic goals: a protective wall made up of the Baltic, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia." (28/05/2015)

The Daily Telegraph - United Kingdom | 27/05/2015

House of Lords must not sabotage Brexit vote

In her speech marking the opening of the new British parliament on Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth presented the Tory government's plan to hold a referendum on Britain's exiting the EU by the end of 2017. The House of Lords, which tends to be pro-EU, must not place any obstacles in the way of the vote, urges the Tory Member of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg in the conservative paper The Daily Telegraph: "It has a comfortable Left-wing majority which is undoubtedly much more supportive of the European Union than the nation at large or the House of Commons. Quite a number of Peers are former high-ranking Eurocrats in receipt of generous pensions from the EU, so are naturally pre-disposed to maintaining British membership. This could affect the passage of the referendum bill. ... It would be the Peers against the people, a battle which the Peers always lose." (27/05/2015)

Público - Portugal | 27/05/2015

Franco-German counter-attack against Cameron

Berlin and Paris have forged a plan for strengthening the Eurozone and will submit it to the European Commission on the weekend. A spokesman for the commission has welcomed the position paper, describing it as useful and to the point. The liberal daily Público sees this as a warning shot for David Cameron: "The details are not yet known but it's clear that the intention is to reform the Eurozone without touching the treaties, or in other words the opposite of what Cameron wants. His real goal is to renegotiate the treaties to win back powers that were transferred to Brussels. Aware of Cameron's intentions, the Franco-German axis is trying to take the wind out of his sails. It is clearly signalling to the British prime minister that he can't dictate either the conditions or the schedule. … After all, Britain isn't in the Eurozone. And both France and Germany will hold elections in 2017." (27/05/2015)

Standart - Bulgaria | 27/05/2015

Macedonia's opposition no better

In the ongoing protests in Macedonia the social democratic opposition party SDSM and its leader Zoran Zaev are billing themselves as the best political alternative to the ruling conservative VMRO-DPMNE. But Zaev is exactly the same kind of politician as Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the daily Standart argues: "Zoran Zaev is part of Macedonia's political elite. … The fight being fought out on the streets between Gruevski and Zaev, who are demonising each other, is not what the young state of Macedonia needs right now. In the 24 years since it gained independence both parties have each ruled for ten years. Both have suffered losses because of the same type of accusations that are being levelled at Gruevski now. The only difference is that Gruevski has outshone all his predecessors with his audacity." (27/05/2015)

Blog EUROPP - United Kingdom | 26/05/2015

States that take in fewer refugees should pay

According to media reports the European Commission plans to present a quota system for the distribution of refugees among EU countries this Wednesday. Such a system could gain more support if individual states were allowed to trade their quotas, writes political scientist Mollie Gerver on the London School of Economics' Blog EUROPP: "A quota-trading mechanism may persuade more policymakers to accept the system. Under such a mechanism, states would be able to sell all or part of their quotas to another EU state. For example, France could avoid accepting all 87,000 of its quota by paying money to Malta, who would accept all or some of these refugees. ... It would ensure that states that accept disproportionately more asylum seekers are compensated for doing so, and those who accept fewer pay for the privilege." (26/05/2015) - Romania | 26/05/2015

Orbán slap makes EU even more ridiculous

After the unusual welcome given to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the two men posed smiling for photos. The Romanian political scientist Valentin Naumescu wonders on the blog portal Contributors what people in the EU should make of such scenes: "There are only two options: either Juncker is serious that Orbán is a dictator who should be slapped in public. Then, however, he must explain why he poses with him for photos, and what a dictator is doing among the EU heads of government. The other option is that Juncker was making a frivolous joke and has thus cast all past criticism of the Orbán regime in a ridiculous light. ... Such scenes with slaps, dictators and little jokes among the EU's most senior politicians at a completely fruitless summit show that Europe urgently needs to be awakened from its apathy and ridiculousness, and a new political elite must be chosen that can chart out a more serious and more credible course for future generations." (26/05/2015)

Diena - Latvia | 26/05/2015

Latvia wants a president who speaks English

The Latvian parliament elects a new president on June 3. Of the four candidates Defence Minister Raimond Veijonis and ECJ judge Egils Levtis have the best chances of winning. The liberal daily Diena explains what this little country expects of its president: "We all want so very much for the new president not to be provincial so we ourselves can avoid being provincial. Again and again, we hear how particularly important for us it is that the new president has good English skills. Because the more languages you speak, the more information sources you can make use of, and - at least in theory - the broader your perspective will be. … But the main thing is that the new president isn't just concerned about this coveted title, but also about his fellow citizens." (26/05/2015)

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