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Eleftheros Typos - Greece | 16/04/2014

Don't destroy Greece's success now

Following Greece's return to the capital markets the conservative daily Eleftheros Typos praises the policies of Antonis Samaras' government and warns the Greeks not to jeopardise this success in the European elections: "It's thanks to Samaras that Greece has made a successful comeback on the markets. The weakest economy in the EU - as the economic experts describe it - at least seems to enjoy the trust of the investors. The yield of 4.95 percent at which the Greek bonds are now trading is lower than the six percent we had before the austerity dictates were imposed. Samaras said it would be a mistake to believe we're out of the woods. He should rather insist that we don't destroy the fruits of our efforts now." (16/04/2014)

Právo - Czech Republic | 17/04/2014

Klaus suffers new bout of Europhobia

Former Czech president Václav Klaus sees the tenth anniversary of his country's EU membership as nothing to celebrate. In an interview on Wednesday, he said the EU was completely dominated by the Germans and the French, and the pro-European policies of the current government in Prague were a defeat for all 10 million Czechs. This means Klaus sees the Czech Republic as a partner of Moscow, the left-leaning daily Právo comments: "This is not a new Klaus we're seeing. He's been suffering from Europhobia for years now. ... But so far he'd never answered the logical question of where our country belongs if not in the EU. Now he's given an answer by firmly siding with President Putin in the conflict between Europe and Russia. His reason? Because Europe could be more united in the conflict. Oh, how dreadful." (17/04/2014)

MediaPart - France | 16/04/2014

Valls' austerity plans lead to vicious circle

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced cuts in the welfare and healthcare systems and at various authorities on Wednesday in a bid to save roughly 50 billion euros by 2017. The move is nonsense from the point of view of economic policy, the investigative news portal believes: "It carries the risk of numerous deleterious effects. ... By reducing the buying power of the French, it risks plunging the country into a depression at a time when the signs of an upswing are still extremely faint. The government's decision to implement this plan and the way it has gone about it testify to a certain dogmatism. In many respects one recognises the troika's fingerprint: the austerity plan is highly reminiscent of the so-called structural reforms so loved by the IMF, Brussels and the ECB. So France is following a very similar path to the one taken by Spain. A sort of vicious circle: more austerity, leading to less growth, leading to higher deficits, leading to more austerity..." (16/04/2014)

Der Standard - Austria | 17/04/2014

Rebellion against Assad has failed

In the past months the troops of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have recaptured several areas on the Lebanese border from the rebels. For the left-liberal daily Der Standard this is the beginning of the end of the rebellion against the Syrian regime: "The Syria policy of the West and most Arab states, which was based on a rapid overthrow of Assad, has failed. The idea that in the foreseeable future the 'moderate' forces could gain enough strength to defeat both Assad and the Islamists seems naive. That's not to say that this regime will ever fully regain control of the entire Syrian territory. But three years after the start of the rebellion, Bashar al-Assad is not merely clinging on to power, he's preparing for presidential elections - laughable though they may be. The rebels' reputation is already so tarnished that even reports about the use of chemical weapons fail to elicit the hoped-for outcry against the regime." (17/04/2014)

Magyar Nemzet - Hungary | 14/04/2014

Fidesz deserves new two-thirds majority

Hungary's right-wing conservative ruling party Fidesz maintained its two-thirds majority in the parliamentary elections. It listens to what the people want and doesn't let the attacks of the left-liberal camp bother it, political analyst Tamás Fricz explains in the conservative daily Magyar Nemzet: "This should be given due acknowledgement both at home and abroad. But instead all the left-liberal media talk about is the populism, autocracy, nationalism, anti-Semitism and anti-Europeanism of the Orbán government. ... If in the world of modern parliamentarianism one party is capable of winning a two-thirds majority twice in a row it must have understood something about the state of the country, its culture, its habits, its history and its state of mind. ... Fidesz doesn't blindly follow the views and instructions of the left-liberal elite that sets the rules in Europe but listens to the opinions, values and desires of the Hungarian sovereign people." (14/04/2014)

La Repubblica - Italy | 16/04/2014

Ridiculous punishment for Berlusconi

Italy's ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will serve his sentence for tax fraud by performing community service. A court in Milan ruled on Tuesday that he is to work four hours a week for almost a year in a home for the elderly and disabled. And Berlusconi still has the cheek to cast himself as a victim of justice, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica comments indignantly: "Four hours a week, 16 hours a month, 168 hours in total spread over a period of ten and a half months. That is the result that [as Berlusconi puts it] the 'politicised judiciary', the 'cancer of democracy' has dared to impose on the Anointed One. ... This is the outcome of the 'war' that the despised 'wearers of red robes', the 'servants of the communists' have waged against the statesman of Arcore. The sentence is ridiculous. ... The fact that Berlusconi hasn't been sent to prison despite his serious offences at least serves to prove that the Cavaliere's fairytale of being a victim of justice is a scandalous fiction." (16/04/2014)

La Montagne - France | 16/04/2014

Balancing act by new Socialist leader

The French Socialists elected Jean-Christophe Cambadélis as the new interim first secretary of the party until the next party conference in 2015. Cambadélis had long been seen as a prime contender for the post. The regional daily La Montagne writes that he will have just as hard a time as the new Prime Minister Manuel Valls: "To some extent this former Trotskyist has become the Valls of the Socialist Party. Because there are many parallels between the two political climbers, and the way they clinched the jobs they'd long been eyeing. Like Valls, Cambadélis will have to execute a unifying strategy without becoming a yes-man. If he wants to stand a chance of remaining in this job, he must perform a balancing act and defend a grassroots stance that is increasingly at odds with the office of the president. ... Cambadélis is running a big risk. Valls and 'Camba': it's the same 'combat'!" (16/04/2014)

Efimerida ton Syntakton - Greece | 15/04/2014

Samaras discovers homeless ahead of elections

In a surprise move Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced on Monday new measures for helping Athens' homeless, saying that he intends to spend 20 million euros from the expected budget surplus on the plan. The left-liberal daily Efimerida Ton Syntakton is outraged at such hypocrisy: "Samaras has admitted that the homeless have been the victims of a great injustice. He made no mention of who was responsible for that injustice however. How could he when it's the policies of his government that have led to a drastic increase in the number of homeless? Never in times of peace and democracy has Greece witnessed such a phenomenon. Samaras has announced plans for the state to use vacant buildings it owns to provide shelter for the homeless. ... When homeless people and social initiatives called for the use of vacant building the police were deployed against them. Now that a few votes are at stake it's all supposedly part of the government's social agenda." (15/04/2014) - Spain | 15/04/2014

Spain's politicians happy to wait for autumn

In Spain, the election campaign for the European elections is being used as a welcome excuse to postpone important decisions such as that on the abortion law or Catalonia's struggle for independence, Isaac Rosa observes with concern in his blog for the left-leaning online daily "In the past the European elections have always seemed like a friendly game with nothing major at stake. But this time they seem to have taken on decisive importance both for the current debate and for things to come. The least important factor here is the European institutions, about which not even the candidates are thinking - or at least if they are, then to a lesser extent than us voters. But every time I hear the phrase 'after the European elections' I look at the calendar and think about what comes after: the summer, with several weeks of World Cup football. I get quite dizzy thinking about all the important things that are being postponed until 'after the European elections'. By then the heat will be making us all weary and the only thing we'll hear is 'goooal' for Spain." (15/04/2014)

Corriere della Sera - Italy | 15/04/2014

Women as window dressing for Italy's state firms

The Italian government on Monday replaced the presidents of four major state companies, assigning three of the four top posts to women. All just window dressing, especially since the women have only been appointed to representative functions, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera prophesies: "In an Italy where power has always and exclusively been a male preserve, the appointment of women for top posts in state-owned companies could be regarded as revolutionary. But in the end it's always the same names that have been circulating for years and none of the women is experienced in business management. The sad truth, as the selection of executive board members and the hurdles on the way to their appointment confirms, is that Italy still suffers from a chronic lack of competent managers. ... In general any change in top management positions proves to be fraught with difficulties, and with state companies they are nothing less than a mission impossible." (15/04/2014)

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