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REFLECTIONS

Magyar Nemzet - Hungary | 31/08/2015

For Károly Loránt Huntington's clash of civilisations has become reality

Europe is facing major conflicts between societies and the migrants they take in, journalist Károly Loránt writes in the conservative daily Magyar Nemzet, and calls on politicians to reread US political scientist Samuel P. Huntington's book The Clash of Civilizations: "The conflicts we face can't be attributed to the people of one culture being good while those of another are evil, or even their belonging to different races. And nor can they be attributed to conflicting economic interests. The real problem is that different cultures perceive the world in different ways. And that is not about to change, either. If Europe's economic and political elites had taken Huntington's ideas more to heart the conflict Europe now faces could well have been avoided. But no, the basic attitude of the decision makers of the European Union was to support immigration: they viewed immigration as necessary, particularly for demographic reasons. ... It's time to reread Huntington: perhaps it's still not too late." (31/08/2015)

Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic | 01/09/2015

Petr Honzejk explains why the Czechs fear refugees

While refugees are regarded in Western Europe as people with individual destinies, the Czechs see them as a faceless, menacing horde, commentator Petr Honzejk writes in the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny: "The respect for individuals that has developed over decades in the West was suppressed here in the Czech Republic by 40 years of communism. No wonder we have a problem showing respect for individual migrants. ... In addition we have experience with dark powers against whom any defence was futile. The Nazis came from the West, the Bolsheviks from the East. People in the West don't have such a complexed experience with powerlessness. ... The politicians don't explain that the migrants can't be compared with SS units or Soviet paratroopers. Rather President Zeman only reinforces our deeply rooted complexes. His remark that anyone who protests against xenophobia can go ahead and take in a refugee is nothing but primitive populism." (01/09/2015)

Cinco Días - Spain | 31/08/2015

EU is a weak brand, says Raúl Peralba

Unfortunately there is no clear vision for a "Europe" brand, marketing advisor Raúl Peralba comments in the business daily Cinco Días: "The strategic importance of the brand at the business, institutional, political, regional national and international levels is no longer questioned. But the European Union doesn't give the brand the attention it deserves. And there is no Europe brand with the corresponding attributes, values and clear advantages that distinguish it from other global powers and that unites the inhabitants of the individual member states in a group identity. There is only an indistinct notion of countries that appear to be united but each of which tries solve its problems in its own way without any regard for the side effects. Otto von Bismarck allegedly once said: 'Europe is only a geographical notion in which each state tries to have more canons than its neighbour.' Translated to the present one could say: 'Europe is an economic notion in which each state tries to gain more advantages than the other member states.'" (31/08/2015)

El Huffington Post - Spain | 26/08/2015

Chandran Nair fears the world is drifting apart

Ever since the publication of "The world is flat" by Thomas Friedman in 2004, it has been the fashion to observe the convergence of the globalised world. But it seems more likely that we are living in an era of divergence, writes Chandran Nair, Leader of the Global Institute for Tomorrow, on the centre-left news website El Huffington Post: "Even as certain indicators of social development, such as life expectancy and literacy, have converged, we also find ourselves living in a parallel era of great divergences brought about by the very consequences of convergence where technology, free markets and democracy are viewed as the panacea to all human challenges. But it is more likely that divergence, not convergence, will have the most profound impact on societies. ... If the true aim of technology is to make the world a better place, then we already possess almost all the necessary tools to do so. What we lack are the appropriate political systems and institutions to put new business models into action and the willingness to change an inherently ineffective and unfair economic model." (26/08/2015)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | 26/08/2015

Jeffrey D. Sachs demands four Asian seats in UN Security Council

The United Nations should mark the 70th anniversary of its founding by introducing major reforms within the organisation, argues US economist Jeffrey D. Sachs in the liberal Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore: "The third major reform imperative is the UN's governance, starting with the Security Council, the composition of which no longer reflects global geopolitical realities. Indeed, the Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG) now accounts for three of the five permanent members (France, the United Kingdom, and the US). That leaves only one permanent position for the Eastern European Group (Russia), one for the Asia-Pacific Group (China), and none for Africa or Latin America. ... Asia's inadequate representation poses a serious threat to the UN's legitimacy. ... One possible way to resolve the problem would be to add at least four Asian seats: one permanent seat for India, one shared by Japan and South Korea (perhaps in a two-year, one-year rotation), one for the ASEAN countries (representing the group as a single constituency), and a fourth rotating among the other Asian countries." (26/08/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | 21/08/2015

Marta Švagrová calls on people to remember the Prague Spring

Today, Friday, marks the anniversary of the invasion by the Warsaw Pact troops that crushed the Prague Spring in 1968. How can the memory of this event be kept alive, asks feature writer Marta Švagrová in the conservative daily Lidové noviny: "When our son, who was in the first grade at school at the time, once discovered a well-hidden photo album with pictures from 1968 of tanks, barricades and bloody flags, we were shocked. We had wanted to keep those pictures from our children until we thought they were ready to see them. But when is the best time to tell young people the truth? Perhaps as early as possible. When young people go to university yet don't have any idea about what their grandmothers went through half a century ago, then it's too late. It doesn't occur to the young to ask questions if their families remain silent. True, there are films and recordings that are broadcast on the television and radio around August 21st every year. But nothing can replace the personal memories one can pass on. As long as those who experienced it are still alive." (21/08/2015)

Aftonbladet - Sweden | 18/08/2015

Karin Pettersson marvels at Paul Mason's PostCapitalism

In his new book PostCapitalism, a Guide to Our Future, the British economic journalist Paul Mason turns his attention to the era after capitalism. A remarkable work, journalist Karin Pettersson marvels in the tabloid Aftonbladet: "Mason writes that the old bulwark of the left-wing political struggle, the socially organised working class, is severely weakened today. Instead he puts his hopes in the emerging digital class. ... Information should be free, without loyalty to hierarchies or states. In the modern networks far from the logic of the market economy, free services like Wikipedia and Linux are being developed. And a modern form of barter economy is emerging. ... Mason's utopia is far-reaching: an economic system in which wage labour and control by market forces are abolished. You don't have to agree with him but his ideas are stimulating: a largely reformed financial sector, the introduction of a basic income to accelerate structural change, and a combination of state intervention and network solutions to counter the climate crisis." (18/08/2015)

El Moudjahid - Algeria | 18/08/2015

Nadia Kerraz predicts the downfall of the IS

With its crimes the terrorist group "Islamic State" is violating the very principles of Islam it claims to be fighting for and for that reason it won't endure, writes Nadia Kerraz, a journalist with the pro-government daily El Moudjahid: "The things the IS does on a daily basis and the atrocities its members commit stand in total contradiction to the teachings of Islam... 'Whoever kills a person ... it is as though he has killed all mankind. (5:32). Persecution and causing chaos are heinous sins. (2:217)'. Must one also point out that the Koran speaks of 'peace, justice and human rights'? … Therefore the collapse of an organisation that spreads chaos and commits crimes in the name of Islam is only a matter of time. No Muslim worthy of the name can accept people being killed and women being raped in the name of this religion that has been practised for more than 1,000 years. But the fight against the IS requires political determination. It is no mere coincidence that the group has taken root in crisis-ridden countries. The example of Libya speaks volumes. Political instability is a breeding ground for terrorism." (18/08/2015)

La Repubblica - Italy | 17/08/2015

Adriano Sofri calls for all refugees to be taken in

Differentiating between political refugees and economic migrants is not a viable approach, criticises Italian intellectual Adriano Sofri in the centre-left daily La Repubblica, using the phenomenon of migratory birds to make his point: "Birds that tend to migrate from the north to the south in the search for food and the right climate are 'economic migrants'. Those that flee areas which humans have turned into hostile, if not deadly places for them are 'refugees'. Let us learn from this comparison: to try to stop people from migrating is like trying to stop swallows from flying southwards and then returning. … Modern society is responsible for migration because it has destroyed the conditions for a decent life in the areas of origin. This means that it is in these places where it should take action. The same goes for people as for robins and wild ducks: taking in all those who knock at our door without differentiating between economic migrants and asylum seekers is our moral duty." (17/08/2015)

15min - Lithuania | 12/08/2015

Edward Lucas on East Europe's lack of solidarity in the refugee crisis

The mostly hostile reactions by East European countries to being asked by the EU to take in refugees outrages British journalist Edward Lucas and expert on Eastern Europe on the website 15min: "All countries from the former Soviet Union have experienced forced migration (due to deportations, and the emigration of their people abroad) and the Baltic countries have also witnessed forced immigration [settlement of Russians]. Now in the name of solidarity these countries are being asked to take in a bunch of refugees from Africa and the Middle East. The result: they are frozen in fear. … Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and others all know what it means to risk one's life in order to avoid an even worse fate. Others are now in this situation, fleeing from Eritrea, Syria and other countries with levels of barbarism that would leave even Stalin's accomplices twitching. They have earned solidarity. Yes, some migrants are perhaps in search of a better life. So what? It's not long ago that people from the region we like to call 'Eastern Europe' were doing the same." (12/08/2015)


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