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POLITICS

Delo - Slovenia | 23/10/2014

New EU Commission bolsters small states

The EU Parliament on Wednesday gave the green light for the new European Commission, which will start work on December 1. Commission President Jean-Claude has organised his team in a way that will make it easier for the smaller member states to keep an eye on the bigger ones, the left-liberal daily Delo writes approvingly: "Juncker has restructured the Commission in a clever way. Using his political experience he has made it easier for the vice presidents, who mostly come from the smaller countries, to withstand pressure from the bigger ones. At least formally, they will have more say. For that reason it's all the more regrettable that Slovenia's politicians weren't able to recognise the value of what the long-time leader of one of the smallest member states was willing to offer them. Juncker has repeatedly stressed that for him there are no big or small countries, and that all member states are equal." (23/10/2014)

Berlingske - Denmark | 23/10/2014

Don't leave London alone with benefits tourists

British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to present a plan for slowing down the immigration of citizens from other EU states to Britain by Christmas. The liberal-conservative daily Berlingske calls for solidarity with the British: "The EU's heads of state and government must ensure that it is possible to introduce principles of merit so that people can't receive child benefits and other social benefits right from the first day in the country. ... In Denmark, a large section of the population has the same reservations as the British regarding the EU, even though so far the social expenditure on employees from other EU countries has not risen to such levels here. Notwithstanding, a quarter of the voters in the European elections cast their ballots for the [right-wing populist] Danish People's Party. It's time to take these objections seriously." (23/10/2014)

Criticatac - Romania | 23/10/2014

Romania's Social Democrats mostly conservative

Ten days before the presidential elections in Romania the country's social democratic Prime Minister Victor Ponta has a substantial lead against the other 13 presidential candidates with around 41 percent in the polls. But the Social Democrat Ponta has conservative leanings, journalist Vasile Ernu comments on the leftist blog criticatac: "The first thing you notice about Victor Ponta's election programme is that it puts the emphasis on key elements on which the traditional and less traditional left never insisted: the new 'holy trinity' of the Romanian left is the Church, the nation and the family, watched over by capital and a pro-business spirit. ... Whereas Christian-democratic social policy is based on compassion and charity, the leftist social policy is based on the imperative of social justice and equality. But concepts like social justice or social rights are almost entirely lacking in Victor Ponta's programme." (23/10/2014)

Irish Independent - Ireland | 22/10/2014

Sinn Féin should drop its boss

A woman from Belfast who was raped by a member of the IRA in 1997 has accused Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams of being involved in hushing up the affair back then. Adams denies the allegations, but the conservative daily Irish Independent still thinks he should resign: "Certainly, if he was an Irish bishop there would be a national outcry demanding his resignation, indeed his colleague Martin McGuinness was to the forefront of demanding such resignations after the Murphy Report [on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church]. We all know Sinn Fein is different, but there is no doubt where the right thing to do lies in this matter. Those who surround and support him now should no longer act as a shield, they should tell him he failed a vulnerable young woman and such behaviour is unacceptable." (22/10/2014)

Magyar Hírlap - Hungary | 21/10/2014

No mercy for Hungary's corrupt politicians

The US has banned six top Hungarian officials from entering the country, accusing them of having tried to corrupt US companies active in Hungary. The conservative daily Magyar Hírlap demands that they should be called to account without delay if the accusations prove true: "If members of the Hungarian government, regardless of their rank, committed the described acts then they must be immediately removed from their posts. What's more they must be put under investigation and charged with corruption, abuse of power and treason. And then they must be put behind bars for a very long time. ... If all this is true they must be punished without mercy. For those who do such things there can be no mercy." (21/10/2014)

Duma - Bulgaria | 22/10/2014

Ukraine should pay its gas debts itself

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to support Kiev financially in its gas dispute with Russia. The pro-Russian daily Duma fails to see why European taxpayers should have to chip in to pay off Kiev's debts: "How is Ms Merkel supposed to explain that they should fork out for a country that refuses to pay even though Russia has always sold it gas at a reduced price? Where are the three billion euros in financial assistance that Ukraine got from the IMF to pay off its gas debts? Apparently they've been spent on the war, and for the cluster bombs that the government dropped over densely populated areas in eastern Ukraine. Merkel isn't making any new friends in Europe by saying everyone must do their bit." (22/10/2014)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 22/10/2014

Kiev must investigate cluster bomb allegations

The human rights organisation Human Rights Watch accused the Ukrainian government on Tuesday of using cluster bombs against the pro-Russian separatists. Amnesty International has also claimed that both sides committed illegal executions. The Ukrainian government must shed light on the allegations, the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: "The Defence Ministry is taking the easy way out with denials along the lines of: That kind of thing would never happen with us because it's forbidden. Its troops were thrown together too hastily, its command structures are too chaotic and the high command is under too much pressure for that to be the case. The fact that the minister of defence has now been replaced for the third time since the Maidan revolution speaks volumes. Ukraine's new leadership wants to demonstrate its moral superiority over Putin's autocratic Russia. But this also requires openness and self-criticism." (22/10/2014)

Jutarnji List - Croatia | 22/10/2014

Custody to wear down Bandić's minions

Zagreb's mayor Milan Bandić and 11 other alleged defendants were put on remand for a month on Tuesday on suspicions of corruption. The liberal daily Jutarnji List has its doubts that this old tactic for turning the defendants into witnesses will work out this time: "The national anti-corruption authority Uskok is hoping that the shock of being behind bars for thirty days will cause some of the defendants to break down and turn on the others in an attempt to save themselves. Or that they will cooperate with the prosecutors to secure a milder sentence. ... However the mayor of Zagreb has extremely good ties to his closest colleagues. They are devoted to him, loyal, and even in the most difficult situations none of them have ever betrayed him. But without informers Uskok will have a hard time gathering enough evidence for a trial." (22/10/2014)

Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey | 22/10/2014

Turkish prosecution makes corruption acceptable

The Turkish prosecution made a fatal decision last Friday when it suspended the proceedings against all 53 suspects in the corruption scandal involving the governing AKP party, the liberal daily Hürriyet Daily News believes: "The leniency that this prosecutor showed to the suspects was quite notable. He accepted that many expensive 'presents' (such as a $700,000 watch!) were given by Reza Zarrab, an oil-rich billionaire, to certain ministers, but argued that this did not prove any bribery. ... This controversial decision not only buried Turkey's most controversial corruption investigation into the dusty archives. It also further destroyed the public's trust in the judicial system. Moreover, this whole drama established an ugly standard for the much-overrated 'New Turkey.' From now on, any corruption investigation against those in power will be easily demonized as yet another 'coup attempt.' What can the practical result of this be, other than making corruption safe and boosting it to higher levels?" (22/10/2014)

Super Express - Poland | 22/10/2014

Sikorski must resign as marshal of the Sejm

The speaker, or marshal, of the Polish parliament, Radosław Sikorski, on Tuesday refused journalists' calls for him to comment on a report by US web portal Politico. The report cites Sikorski as having said during his time as foreign minister that Russia had called on Poland to join forces with it to seize Ukraine: The conservative tabloid Super Express calls for Sikorski's immediate resignation: "What he has done compromises his official post. ... If he doesn't resign, Prime Minister Eva Kopacz will be forced to apologise for him frequently in the future. And not just for the way he treated the journalists. In the past the post of foreign minister, which requires diplomatic skill, steered his conduct. Now that he's the marshal of the Sejm he has no such restraints." (22/10/2014)


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