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POLITICS

Avvenire - Italy | 22/04/2014

European elections: German dominance fanning anti-EU sentiment

The upcoming European elections could be the last ones in which the British participate, political analyst Vittorio E. Parsi warns in the Catholic daily Avvenire, blaming the unequal distribution of power among the EU member states for this: "Whereas until a few years ago it was the technocratic, transnational Brussels bureaucracy that was held responsible for the loss of national sovereign rights, nowadays the fear of a purported new hierarchy of states within the Union is fuelling the rebellion against the European project. ... The handling of the Greek crisis symbolises Germany's dominant position in the Union. This is both a paradoxical and dangerous sentiment, especially since Germany's own curtailing of its powers, that is Berlin's reluctance to assume an active leading role, prevents this gap between Germany and the other member states from becoming true dominance. ... It remains unclear which institutional mechanism is envisaged for bringing the inexorable return to a power hierarchy in Europe to a halt." (22/04/2014)

Público - Portugal | 22/04/2014

End senseless killing in South Sudan

According to UN statistics, hundreds of men, women and children have been killed in an outbreak of ethnic violence in South Sudan. The massacre occurred last week after the city of Bentiu was taken by rebel troops, the UN announced on Monday. The liberal daily Público condemns the killings and calls for targeted action against such impunity: "There are no 'clean' wars but what is happening in South Sudan is completely barbaric: the rebel troops around former vice president Riek Machar (a member of the ethnic group the Nuer people) killed civilians of the Dinka people of which the president, Salva Kiir, is also a member. Whether they were in churches, mosques or hospitals, nothing could stop them. ... But Dinka too have launched attacks against other ethnic groups, as in the attack against a UN peacekeeping troop camp on Thursday in which at least 58 people were killed. In the UN Security Council there is talk of war crimes. But even this term is too mild for the indescribably atrocities. All this must come to an end." (22/04/2014)

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 21/04/2014

European elections: British campaign misses the point

The EU election campaign in the UK is dominated by the question of whether the country should exit the European Union. For the left-liberal daily The Guardian this should be a sideline issue: "The argument that we ought to be having about Europe in 2014 is not just the ultimate one about staying or going. It is also about the kind of Europe we can build for our common welfare. It is about things like economic strategy, governance, borders, welfare, climate change and Russia. These are the questions that will shape the next five years and beyond in our part of the world. ... The rest is simply noise. We have too much noise and not enough thought when we talk about Europe." (21/04/2014)

Wiener Zeitung - Austria | 22/04/2014

Election will prolong killing in Syria

Presidential elections were announced on Monday for June 3 in Syria, although the country is in the midst of a civil war. Head of state Bashar al-Assad has not yet confirmed that he will run, nevertheless he is expected to seek another seven-year term. In that case he will miss a key opportunity, the state-run liberal daily Wiener Zeitung criticises: "Assad is failing to take advantage of an excellent opportunity to leave politics and allow Syria a fresh start. ... Even his closest ally Iran has been pressuring him not to run for office behind the scenes. ... Granted: like Russia, Iran will continue to stand by the Syrian regime - but for everyone concerned, apart from the Syrians themselves, Syria is nothing more than the battlefield of a cynical proxy war between a secular tyrant and Islamist terrorists, between Russia and the West, between Iran and the Gulf states plus Turkey. Assad is the main culprit, yes, but not the only one. His candidacy on June 3 will guarantee that the killing continues." (22/04/2014)

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 mediapart.fr 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)


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