Revista de prensa | 28/11/2014



EU Parliament takes Google to task


The European Parliament voted on Thursday in a non-binding resolution to separate Internet companies' search engine business from other commericial activities. This could lead to Google being split up. Some commentators praise the Parliament for countering Google's abuse of its market dominance. Others call for concrete steps against the US company, for example in the ongoing antitrust dispute.

Berliner Zeitung - Alemania

Strong voices against Internet giants

The vote by the MEPs sends an important signal, the left-liberal daily Berliner Zeitung writes commenting on the potential break up of Google: "This vote shows the Commission, the US government and the Google managers that there are strong voices in Europe who are no longer willing to accept the company's business practices. Google has long been out of control. Here in Germany it has a market share of at least 95 percent. It ceaselessly gathers data, but no one has the vaguest idea where it's saved or how it's used. With its numerous, mostly free applications, Google has firmly anchored itself in the lives of millions of people. ... Antitrust and competition laws should have been made much tougher a long time ago. That must now be corrected, and quickly. Above all, antitrust authorities must be able to impose speedy and high fines on practices that restrict competition." (28/11/2014)

Der Standard - Austria

Successful provocation from EU Parliament

The European Parliament's resolution may prompt US Internet giant Google to rethink its European business model, the left-liberal daily Der Standard hopes, noting that scepticism is growing "vis-à-vis the technology giants on a number of points of criticism ranging from controversial tax practices to the protection of Internet privacy. Potential abuse of market dominance is a further, weighty point against them. The European Commission has recognised this, as the competition authority's long-standing proceedings show. The initiators of the resolution know that the outcome is uncertain. Whether an 'unbundling' is practicable, even if it is legally viable, no one knows at this stage. For Google it would be the worst case scenario - even worse than a fine of billions of euros. The initiative is a provocation that could force Google to yield in the EU competition proceedings. That would already be a considerable step forwards." (28/11/2014)

Le Temps - Suiza

A chance for Google's competitors

At last a debate about Google's market dominance is taking place, the liberal daily Le Temps writes in delight: "Even in a free market situation and although Google has simplified our lives, it must not be allowed to crush its competitors. So it's legitimate for Europe to question Google's power and try to find solutions that no one has yet envisaged. ... But viewing the current trial of strength as merely a fight between Europeans and Americans is wrong. Because who's behind three organisations now doing intense anti-Google lobbying in Brussels? Microsoft, Yelp and TripAdvisor. ... American companies that have shifted their fight against Google to Europe because Washington wouldn't listen to them. Although the outcome of this battle is uncertain, the debate is most welcome." (28/11/2014)

Corriere della Sera - Italia

Competition Commission far too negligent

The EU should take much firmer action against Google, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera writes on the EU Parliament vote: "One must ask whether it's normal that the Directorate-General for Competition's investigations into Google's activities have already dragged on four years. The time factor is decisive in business processes. ... Demanding more data protection or taking action against individual market segments like search engines or ads isn't enough. Quite apart from the fact that these actions fall under the auspices of the Competition Commission. The new Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager should not wait another four years to decide whether or not she wants to impose sanctions on corporations that abuse their dominant market position." (28/11/2014)


The Daily Telegraph - Gran Bretaña

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)

Blog Adevărul - Rumania

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)

Imerisia - Grecia

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)

Irish Independent - Irlanda

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)

Pravda - Eslovaquia

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)

De Telegraaf - Holanda

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)


Gazeta Wyborcza - Polonia

Farmers helpless against Moscow's embargo

Around 3,000 Polish farmers demonstrated on Thursday in Warsaw against the continued drop in the price of dairy products caused by Russia's embargo. Unfortunately such protests don't stand much chance of changing the situation, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza comments: "We can't count on Putin lifting the trade ban in a hurry. And we're not likely to find new export markets any time soon either. One alternative would be if the Polish population consumed more. ... As things stand, Polish producers have lowered their prices for hard cheese by 30 percent in a bid to boost purchases. Unfortunately this is hardly reflected in store prices because the supermarket chains are simply taking advantage of the embargo. ... And things aren't going to improve all that quickly. Unless the EU introduces new supplementary payments for exports, or a policy of intervention purchases for butter, cheese and milk powder." (28/11/2014)

Deutschlandfunk - Alemania

Low oil prices just a flash in the pan

The Organisation of the Petrol Exporting Countries (Opec) decided not to cut output at its half-year meeting in Vienna on Thursday. The step is necessary to prevent oil prices from dropping any further but in the end prices will increase once more, public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk predicts: "The current oversupply on the oil market is a costly flash in the pan. Whether from the Arctic, from deep-sea mining, fracking or Canada's tar sand, this oil represents the last low-grade scraps that can only be mined at great technical and financial cost and by causing increasing damage to the environment. ... So let's fill up our tanks and enjoy the moment. But buying a big new car is not a good idea! Let's not be fooled by this temporary abundance of oil and the plunge in prices, which is perhaps a deliberate ruse by Opec. We need to keep moving away from oil - for environmental and economic reasons." (28/11/2014)


Milliyet - Turquía

Turkey can promote Islam during papal visit

Pope Francis will visit Turkey this weekend. The meeting between the head of the Catholic Church and Turkish President and devout Muslim Recep Tayip Erdoğan comes at just the right time, the conservative daily Milliyet writes in delight: "The pope will arrive in the overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey at a time when the region is one of the most sensitive in the world. The Middle East has been badly shaken up, terrorism is on the rise and Islamophobia is spreading. ... President Erdoğan puts much stock in dialogue between the religions and the fight against Islamophobia in Europe. It's to be expected that he will stress the need not to confuse Islam and terrorism in his meeting with the pope. Turkey can hope that this idea will be effectively spread around the world through the mouth of the pope." (28/11/2014)

Kaleva - Finlandia

Gay marriage will make Finland more tolerant

The Finnish parliament is due to vote on the controversial law on equal status for gay marriages today, Friday. Since the parties have allowed their members to vote as they see fit, the result is uncertain. The liberal daily Kaleva hopes for a positive outcome: "For many parliamentarians the decision calls for mature, thorough consideration. The bill can be seen as a basic shift in values within an institution. And in such a case it's a good thing to stop and reflect on the different alternatives in an atmosphere free of commotion and one-sided moralising. Hopefully the debate in parliament will be conducted in a dignified manner and without incident. ... Today parliament has the chance to lead Finland towards more tolerance and to follow the examples of other Western and Nordic states. But even if the initiative fails, sooner or later it will be back on the agenda." (28/11/2014)

Jyllands-Posten - Dinamarca

Danes should see working as honourable

A television programme about jobless Danes who prefer to live on unemployed benefits instead of taking on work has reignited the debate about the demands that should be made of the unemployed. The conservative-liberal daily Jyllands-Posten calls for a return to traditional values: "It's clear that all sections of society need to reassess the terms honour and work ethos. People should feel honoured to be able to provide for themselves and their families to the extent that they are able to. Once that is the established norm again we can help the minority that wants to do this but can't. It's a characteristic of welfare society that many strong people take care of a few weak ones. But the basic attitude that everyone, no matter how able to work, has the right to be taken care of by the state is not." (28/11/2014)

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