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De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 28/11/2014

Wilders' party trampling on the constitution

Geert Wilders' right-wing populist party the PVV has called for a ban on mosques. With this latest move the party has placed itself outside the democratic system, the right-wing daily De Telegraaf believes: "By depriving Muslims of the right to practice their religion the PVV is trampling on the Dutch constitution. Wilders and his backers are putting religious freedom and the ban on discrimination on the scrapheap. This is unacceptable and reprehensible. MP De Graaf coated his tirade against Islam in words that have protofascist connotations. ... The PVV has become more and more radical in recent years. Fuelling intolerance and xenophobia has become the main goal of these political hooligans." (28/11/2014)

Pravda - Slovakia | 28/11/2014

Juncker should have left over Luxleaks

A vote of no confidence proposed by several right-wing populist parties in the European Parliament against Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over tax deals with major international corporations in Luxembourg failed on Thursday. For the left-leaning daily Pravda, the result was clear from the start: "It was only to be expected that people like Nigel Farage [Ukip], Marine Le Pen [Front National] and Richard Sulík [Sloboda a Solidarita] would seize the opportunity to annoy Juncker. But things are more complicated than that. ... The European mainstream is using the presumption of innocence as an alibi because it doesn't have the courage to overturn the hard-fought consensus that led to Juncker's election. The Eurosceptics who are 'against everything' as a matter of principle just wanted to stand up and be counted. The best thing would have been for Juncker to resign of his own accord when Luxembourg Leaks broke. But we live in the real world. The chances that we will learn the truth are fading day by day." (28/11/2014)

Imerisia - Greece | 28/11/2014

Troika's blackmailing destabilises Greece

The negotiations between the Greek government and its international creditors ended on Wednesday without reaching an agreement. This means that the final instalment of the country's bailout won't be paid out yet. The troika is abusing its position of power, business paper Imerisia complains: "The troika didn't accept the data and forecasts submitted by the Greek ministers and calls for additional austerity measures. Oddly enough, at the same time it insists on amendments to the employment law such as relaxing protection against dismissal for mass layoffs despite the fact that even the employers' associations have rejected such measures. The creditors blackmailing the country in this way endangers economic and political stability. ... One wonders what the troika's real intentions are, because their stance undermines everything Greece has achieved so far." (28/11/2014)

The Daily Telegraph - United Kingdom | 27/11/2014

Tax sovereignty for Scots threatens UK

After the referendum on Scottish independence the British government plans to transfer income tax powers to Edinburgh. The reform, announced on Thursday, raises many sensitive questions and could reinforce the struggle for independence, the conservative paper The Daily Telegraph writes: "Could Scots MPs, whose constituents were no longer affected by the tax policy of the UK Treasury, go on voting on Finance Bills? Could a Scottish MP then be chancellor, or PM and First Lord of the Treasury? Meanwhile Scots would no longer pay directly for UK institutions like the Armed Forces. Give Scotland full control of tax and the United Kingdom starts to look rather less united. ... The Scots are still drifting away from the rest of us, and today's events may even give them another push." (27/11/2014)

Irish Independent - Ireland | 27/11/2014

Irish water protests understandable

Tens of thousands of Irish citizens have taken to the streets to protest the government's planned water tax in recent weeks. The conservative daily Irish Independent shows understanding for the demonstrators on the grounds that Prime Minister Enda Kenny has been announcing the end of austerity for months: "Kenny told the world that we had the best performing, fastest recovering, transformed economy in Europe. Overseas investors believed him. Billions were invested in Irish Government bonds and property. ... The trouble is, voters overheard this message too. They dared to believe that not only was austerity over, but they could reverse some of the more penal impositions on their pockets. Instead of meekly accepting economic cost burdens for water investment, they threw off further shackles of hardship and embraced protest politics." (27/11/2014)

Blog Adevărul - Romania | 28/11/2014

Moldova should say goodbye to Putin

The inhabitants of the Republic of Moldova will vote for a new parliament on Sunday. Pro-European and pro-Russian forces are pitted against each other in the fight for power. Journalist Catalin Chirila calls on the Moldovans to give the pro-Europeans their vote in the blog of the liberal-conservative daily Adevărul: "The US, the EU and above all Romania will do everything they can to bring the Republic of Moldova out of the danger zone. They can only achieve this on the basis of the vote. ... Hundreds of thousands of Moldovans live in Romania and other countries. ... With the help of their vote the country could escape corruption and oligarchy. They won't be deceived by the Russian lies. ... This is the real burden Moldova must bear: resisting the many tempting offers from Moscow and having the strength to set out on a long, difficult path towards the civilised world after saying with a smile on their faces: 'Goodbye Putin!'" (28/11/2014)

Diário Económico - Portugal | 26/11/2014

Sócrates' arrest hurts rival parties too

The arrest of former Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates comes at the worst possible moment for his party, Portugal's main opposition Socialists, the liberal business daily Diário Económico comments. Nonetheless the race is not over yet for the Socialist candidate in next year's elections: "With its candidate [Antonio] Costa the Socialist Party (PS) was already counting on winning an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections in early autumn next year. This was just as premature as the current claims that Sócrates' arrest casts doubts on a victory for the Socialists or may even prevent it. Naturally this scandal has rocked the PS. There is hardly a party that could emerge unscathed after criminal charges have been pressed against a former leader - particularly when that leader was one of the most prominent prime ministers since the introduction of democracy. Nonetheless, right now all the politicians and the entire political system are in a precarious position." (26/11/2014)

Expansión - Spain | 27/11/2014

Law must crack down on corrupt politicians

Spain's Health Minister Ana Mato is suspected of having profited from the illicit funds of the so-called Gürtel network and resigned for this reason on Wednesday. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should learn from the case which has dragged on for years and announce stringent measures at today's parliamentary debate over anti-corruption measures, the conservative business daily Expansión recommends: "The long delay in the investigations has extended the impression among the people that the politicians receive special treatment from the judiciary. This has also happened with other particular notorious cases. Therefore Rajoy must set a maximum time limit for judicial preliminary proceedings. Moreover he must clearly define at which point politicians suspected of corruption must resign." (27/11/2014)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 27/11/2014

Germany's women's quota only fights symptoms

As of 2016 German companies will be required to have a minimum 30 percent of their board positions filled by women, the German government decided on Wednesday. A similar quota regulation for the governing boards of Swiss listed companies has so far been blocked in Switzerland's Executive Federal Council. The liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung also takes the view that women should not be placed in leading posts through government imposed quotas: "Any sensible approach to making changes here must first examine the causes. Businesses are also called on to change their ideas and promote the compatibility of career and family by offering flexible solutions. The state should abolish tax systems that discriminate against daycare users and dual-income couples. But telling women, men and companies how to be happy is not its job." (27/11/2014)

Gândul - Romania | 27/11/2014

Iohannis must remain fair to Ponta

Romania's president designate Klaus Iohannis mentioned the possibility of a change of government in the near future in an interview with news agency Reuters on Wednesday. The only way this can happen is through a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Victor Ponta that includes votes from other parties. This would not be a moral solution, journalist Rodica Ciobanu warns in the online newspaper Gândul: "Iohannis's words may sound like an indirect invitation to some MPs. ... But I expect him not to behave like his predecessors did. I expect him not to be opportunistic or to encourage political turncoats. ... It's understandable that Iohannis wants Parliament on his side because he wants to see through several political and social projects during his term of office. ... But he can do this also by convincing the other parties, the trade unions and civil society of the merits of his projects. ... The secret to success lies in dialogue with the citizens." (27/11/2014)

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