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Simerini - Cyprus | 03/09/2015

Akıncı wants to dissolve Republic of Cyprus

The leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akıncı, has called for a 'new structure based on political equality', with a new name and a new flag, as a solution to the Cypriot problem. For the conservative daily Simerini this is just another name for an independent state: "If the Cypriot leadership fails to see that a new state is behind Akıncı's phraseology, then it has a huge naivety problem. First the pseudo state will be legalised under the name 'Turkish Cypriot Constituent State' with a Turkish Cypriot majority. The Republic of Cyprus will dissolve itself and adopt the name 'Greek Cypriot Constituent State'. The Republic of Cyprus will be 'dissolved' as Turkey predicted [in an official document from 2014]. Its flag will no longer fly. ... Mustafa Akıncı has this charisma. He uses a language that doesn't provoke the Greek Cypriots. Only those who look at what's behind the terminology understand what it really means." (03/09/2015)

L'Opinion - France | 02/09/2015

Paris opts for labour minister without expertise

French President François Hollande on Wednesday appointed the former secretary of state for urban policy, Myriam El Khomri, to succeed labour minister François Rebsamen, who stepped down last month. The fact that the new minister has no experience with labour market policy won't make any difference at all, the liberal business paper L'Opinion jokes: "The president seems to have understood that, contrary to what he believed until now, it's companies, not ministers, that create jobs. And that the less the state intervenes, the greater the chances are that the bargaining partners will agree on a reform of the labour market. ... Hollande also seems to have understood that there's no need to put an expert in social affairs at the head of this ministry because the biggest challenge here is agreeing on how to communicate the month-by-month developments in the unemployment rate." (02/09/2015)

Gość Niedzielny - Poland | 03/09/2015

Poland's pointless referendum

In Poland next Sunday a non-binding referendum will be held on electoral law issues. Former Polish president Bronisław Komorowski announced the vote after the first round of the presidential election in May. Observers saw the step as an attempt to beat off his rivals in the second round. Stefan Sękowski of the Catholic news portal Gość Niedzielny argues that the referendum is utterly pointless: "Just for the sake of winning, Komorowski set something in motion that will cost us 100 million zloty [around 25 million euros] and which puts millions of Poles under pressure to vote. I won't go to the ballot on September because I'm not a puppet that the ex-president and the politicians of his party can make dance to their tune. … Besides, the turnout will be so low that it probably won't even be valid. This is the key difference to elections, in which someone always wins." (03/09/2015)

Deutschlandfunk - Germany | 02/09/2015

Berlin showing solidarity out of self-interest

German politicians are only being cynical when they ask their EU partners to display a sense of solidarity on refugee policy, the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk admonishes: "Conservative [German] politicians are quick to criticise national egotism in the EU. And rightly so. ... They, themselves, however, are the last ones entitled to voice such criticism. Because when the Dublin system was reformed the last time two years ago it was Germany of all countries - still governed by the CDU and FPD - that virulently opposed a solidarity mechanism meant to relieve the 'front line' states. Now, however, is the time for solidarity, they tell us - this time because it's in Germany's interest. Such cynicism is hard to top. And their initiative certainly has nothing to do with solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes." (02/09/2015)

Wiener Zeitung - Austria | 03/09/2015

Border controls at Brenner Pass jeopardise Europe

At Germany's behest Italy has introduced new border controls at the Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria. The state-run daily Wiener Zeitung criticises the move as undermining free circulation within the EU: "One of Europe's four basic freedoms, the freedom of movement, is in great danger. The fact that Europe is not fighting tooth and nail to defend this most valuable asset is a shame - but it is symptomatic of the state of Europe's institutions. Because it is not the high number of refugees that is responsible for the undermining of free movement but the lack of European institutions to deal with them. … If the borders are closed why should people believe that a transnational currency is the right solution? And what are we to think of a Europe that allows capital to circulate freely, but not people? The national governments have once again shown that they are incapable of dealing with extreme situations that affect everyone." (03/09/2015)

Financial Times - United Kingdom | 02/09/2015

Cameron underestimates British compassion

The British government is opposing the introduction of a quota system for distributing refugees in Europe and wants to take in a maximum of 1,000 people. This stance may seem too harsh even to those who oppose immigration, the conservative daily Financial Times warns: "Britain has a strong humanitarian tradition, notably in taking 80,000 Jewish refugees from Europe in the 1930s. Today, that tradition is foundering because the UK's political leaders are scared to disentangle the different aspects of the immigration debate. ... Britain's politicians have long believed that voters instinctively reward toughness on immigration. But there is a compassionate and humane streak in the British people that ought not to be underestimated. As Europe's refugee crisis develops, it is not the defensive crouch of Mr Cameron that Britons may come to admire but the courage and principle of Ms Merkel." (02/09/2015)

Lietuvos Žinios - Lithuania | 02/09/2015

Ukraine needs decentralisation

Ukraine really needs the constitutional reform that was debated in the parliament in Kiev on Monday and gives the regions more power, the conservative daily Lietuvos žinios argues: "This process is positive and truly necessary for Ukraine, but it is generally portrayed as negative in the context of the war against Russia. Critics claim this step is a concession to Moscow and the separatists by [President] Poroshenko and his administration. Wrong. This amendment to the constitution won't have any impact on the situation in the east of the country. There was already talk about the need to decentralise before Russia's acts of aggression, directly after the fall of [ex-president] Yanukovych. He had the regions almost completely under his control. … Such a system is definitely inappropriate for a state that wants to become part of Europe's civilisation and political culture." (02/09/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | 02/09/2015

Germany bossing others around in refugee debate

Germany's hegemonic ambitions are becoming increasingly clear in the country's criticism of Eastern European positions on the refugee crisis, the conservative daily Lidové noviny writes in dismay: "Germany is forcing everyone else to do what it wants. It violated the rules of the Stability Pact which stipulate that you don't help other states in the Eurozone just to rescue your own banks. It forced others to adopt a binding qouta for renewable energy even though they don't have the resources to do so. It single-handedly declared that it would phase out nuclear power, without giving a thought to how this would affect other countries. ... And now it is demanding that all countries accept refugees without any regard for the regulations. And amidst all this it is not at all clear what Germany envisions for the distribution of the migrants in the context of the EU-28. ... And at the end of the day, when the refugees leave their camps in the Czech Republic or Poland they all head for Germany anyway." (02/09/2015)

Handelsblatt - Germany | 02/09/2015

Constitutional reform won't bring peace to Ukraine

The ceasefire that came into effect on Tuesday in eastern Ukraine has held for the most part, according to OSCE observers. But despite the constitutional reform passed on Monday which gives individual regions more autonomy there is little hope of peace in the country, criticises the liberal business daily Handelsblatt: "There is a serious lack of transparency regarding how laws originate, coupled with legal loopholes established by [President] Poroshenko to avoid limiting his power and expand it instead. Through the institution of prefects he can easily annul the local autonomy he has promised. … The local elections planned for the autumn in the rebel areas are not aimed at reconciliation but at consolidating the power of the armed militias. Ukraine's laws apply only in so far as they don't contravene the norms of the self-appointed 'People's Republics', it has been cynically commented. … The will to reach an agreement is lacking." (02/09/2015)

Le Figaro - France | 01/09/2015

Macron has ambitious vision for Europe

In an interview published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, France's Economics Minister Emmanuel Macron called for a fully revamped Eurozone. At last France has something new to say in the debate on Europe, the liberal MEP Sylvie Goulard writes in the conservative daily Le Figaro: "In France's dismal debate on Europe, where all camps more or less adopt a sovereignist stance, Emmanuel Macron has come up with an ambitious vision for the Union coupled - and this is the novelty for a French politician - with genuine democratisation of European institutions. Together with his [German] counterpart Sigmar Gabriel he has come up with innovative proposals for giving the Eurozone its own organs, a budget and a legitimacy anchored in a Eurozone parliament within the European Parliament. Whether or not you agree with his proposals, what Emmanuel Macron is doing is useful for France, for German-French relations and for the EU as a whole." (01/09/2015)

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