Przegląd prasy | 21/11/2014



Ukip clinches second seat in parliament


The Eurosceptic Ukip party won a second seat in the British House of Commons on Thursday in a by-election in the southern English town of Rochester. Voters wanted to punish the established parties, some commentators write. For others, Ukip's success is due to widespread xenophobia.

The Guardian - Wielka Brytania

Voters are punishing London

The success of the right-wing populist Ukip in the southern English town of Rochester is in the view of the left-liberal daily The Guardian just as much a result of immoral protest votes as a failure on the part of the established parties: "[Voters] may accept the vileness of much Ukip does but nevertheless take the view that this is of less consequence than the party's usefulness as a stick with which to beat the other parties. That is a practical decision. But let's not pretend that it is a moral one. ... In the aftermath of Rochester, mainstream politics must reconnect with alienated communities. People have deep concerns. Politics must work harder to address them, or to at least make it plain that they understand the depth of those concerns. But they must not pander, as they have been pandering, and they should not infantalise the electorate." (21/11/2014)

Pravda - Słowacja

Migration is top topic in elections

The fact that the Eurosceptic Ukip won another parliamentary seat in a byelection in Rochester on Thursday doesn't surprise the left-leaning daily Pravda: "Immigration from the new EU member states has been a main political topic since the start of the year. The media and public discourse have revived the old phantom of hordes of immigrants lurking on the borders, intent on abusing the British social welfare system. ... Ukip picked up the theme first, and this ensured its success in the European elections. Prime Minister Cameron, whose votes Ukip is stealing, proposed new limits on immigration but met with fierce resistance, above all from Germany. But at the start of the week Labour too sided with the Tories on this issue. ... The idea of Eastern Europeans plundering the welfare coffers is fixed in people's heads and reflects an increasingly xenophobic attitude." (21/11/2014)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Włochy

Cameron pushes party colleagues to desert

Ukip candidate Mark Reckless is already the second Tory MP to have defected to Ukip and secured re-election to a parliamentary seat. Prime Minister David Cameron triggered this trend himself with his anti-EU rhetoric, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore criticises: "Stopping the advance of Ukip is the top priority for Cameron. But he has adopted the stoniest, most dangerous and misguided approach to doing this. ... With relatively moderate language he is aping those who campaign for the UK's independence and engaging in a risky game with the British people's weak support for Europe. ... He is thus strengthening Euroscepticism in a contest in which Ukip is systematically outdoing him. Meanwhile the party is a magnet for all those who want a future outside the EU. A dynamic that hasn't gone unnoticed in the governing party. ... A growing number of people are ready to jump on [Ukip leader] Farage's bandwagon." (21/11/2014)


Večer - Słowenia

Western complacency provokes Putin

The Maidan uprising in Kiev against then president Viktor Yanukovych began a year ago. Today there is still no sign of an end to the crisis in Ukraine, the conservative daily Večer fears: "The Ukraine conflict has become a trial of strength between the West and the East. Russia under Putin's rule is not reviving the Soviet empire, as some fear, but Putin's interference in the conflict conveys the image of Russia as a superpower. ... Putin says he doesn't want a new cold war although in other ways he is provoking it. The Western states are helping him do this with their clumsy diplomacy. In their complacency they failed to recognise the dimensions of the Ukraine crisis and understand Russia's way of thinking. ... The only clever solution would be negotiations between the Ukrainian government, pro-Russian rebels, Russia and the West. But there's still a long way to go before that happens." (21/11/2014)

Le Quotidien - Luksemburg

Luxemboug's PM wants to tax only the poor

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel spoke out on Wednesday in an interview with the Belgian paper L'Echo against tax harmonisation in the EU, and rejected proposals for changing Luxembourg's tax policy after the LuxLeaks investigations. The left-liberal daily Le Quotidien is enraged: "Blindness? Provocation? Naivety? There's no making out what such declarations are supposed to mean or what goals they pursue. … Until now Xavier Bettel has been considered a moderate liberal with social convictions. The 2015 budget, which demands further sacrifices from employees, has already chipped away at this image. Now, by encouraging a tax system in which employees and small businesses pay for the multinationals, he's siding with the most radical liberals whose political project aims to make the poor pay for the rich." (20/11/2014)

Lidové noviny - Czechy

Zeman pushing Czech Republic eastward

The Czech ambassador in Kiev was summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Thursday to explain repeated pro-Moscow comments made by Czech President Miloš Zeman. At the same time top US politicians in Washington warned Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka against turning his back on the human rights policies of Václav Havel. The conservative daily Lidové noviny is also concerned: "It was Havel who taught us to respect freedom; his policies had a moral dimension. Thanks to his principles we live in a secure, free and prosperous society today. ... But this position is by no means automatic. The consensus that existed under Havel has been shattered. Now there are two conflicting directions. The disputes this gives rise to will be decisive for the Czech Republic. Zeman and his comrades are dragging us back into the civilisational lowlands of the East from which we freed ourselves a quarter of a century ago." (21/11/2014)

Večernji List - Chorwacja

Serbia must also impose sanctions on Russia

Johannes Hahn, the new EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, visited Serbia on his first official foreign trip. He called on the country's politicians to join the EU in its policy of sanctions against Russia. As an accession candidate Serbia should take the call seriously, but Serbian Prime Minister Vučić is once again trying to square the political circle, the conservative daily Večernji List criticises: "Vučić deserves the Nobel Prize in Mathematics for this masterpiece. He maintains he's found a formula that will allow Serbia to move westward and respect Ukraine's territorial integrity while at the same time not having to impose sanctions on Russia. But such a luxury was formerly only granted the non-allied Yugoslavia. A country that wants to be a full member of the EU must also adhere to the common foreign policy. It's open to discussion whether this policy towards Russia is sensible, nevertheless it has to be followed by all member states." (21/11/2014) - Rumunia

Moldova an immature democracy

The Republic of Moldova will elect a new parliament on November 30. Recent opinion polls put the Communist Party in the lead ahead of the pro-European parties. The fragmentation of the party landscape portends a difficult government building process, Romanian political scientist Valentin Naumescu fears on the blog Contributors: "23 parties running in this election is simply too many for such a small state. ... It's time the political leaders in Chişinău thought seriously about joining forces - and avoiding a situation where everyone wants to play the boss. The present situation just shows how democratically immature this region still is. ... At the same time it's still too early to exclude the possibility of the Communist Party - now at 21 percent - forming the government. But if another party that only attains 15 or 18 percent wants to put forward the prime minister, one thing is clear: its government will be weak and susceptible to political blackmail." (21/11/2014)


Infowar - Grecja

Aris Chatzistefanou on the EU's tolerance of the far right

Giorgos Karatzaferis, chairman of the far-right party Laikós Orthódoxos Synagermós (Laos) and coalition partner of the former government under Lucas Papademos, must soon answer charges of accepting bribes and other irregularities in court, it was announced on Wednesday. Columnist Aris Chatzistefanou takes the opportunity to examine why the EU is willing to tolerate the far right on web portal Infowar: "As in Ukraine, where Brussels brought the nationalist Svoboda to power with the help of local oligarchs, the troika and the banks have also pushed through the participation of Karatzaferis in the coalition government in Greece. ... To enforce its austerity policy the EU needed an elected prime minister supported by a broad coalition that also included the far-right and junta-friendly party. ... That was the moment when far right and junta-friendly elements of Laos like Adonis Georgiadis and Makis Voridis [today health minister] were allowed to join forces with the governing Nea Demokratia." (20/11/2014)


Trends - Belgia

Negative interest rates force consumption

Commerzbank on Wednesday became the first major German bank to announce that it would introduce negative interest rates on corporate deposits. Thuringia's Skatbank has also been charging its corporate clients a penalty interest of 0.25 percent on their deposits. The business magazine Trends fears that it won't be long before private customers are charged interest on their savings too: "It's true that at the moment only businesses and investment funds are being discouraged from putting their money into deposits. But tomorrow, who knows, maybe private savers will be next in line? In fact that's the direction we're slowly moving in, because in Belgium the banks have once again cut the interest on savings accounts. We're fast approaching zero percent interest! ... All of this is helping to force citizens to consume rather than to save, even if they don't want to. And because we're in a democracy, measures that target people's wallets are the only way to force them to do what they don't want to do. But some are questioning whether that is still democracy." (20/11/2014)

Público - Portugalia

Big companies must also pay taxes

REN, the company that manages Portugal's energy infrastructure networks, and energy company Galp are refusing to pay millions of euros for a special energy tax on the basis that it is illegal. These big companies shouldn't be given preferential treatment, the liberal daily Público comments: "Both have the right to contest the tax, but not simply not to pay it, particularly not at a point when no court has ruled on the legality of the tax. ... The government has already threatened with enforced tax recovery proceedings, but it's more likely that the two companies will make the proceedings drag on for years. ... At a time when thousands of Portuguese are paying special contributions and surcharges it's simply not acceptable for major companies to tear a hole of millions of euros in the budget which, as usual, will probably have to be covered by the normal taxpayers." (19/11/2014)

Véleményvezér - Węgry

Orbán driving retail chains out of Hungary

Hungary's right-wing conservative government led by Viktor Orbán wants to introduce special taxes and trading bans for major foreign retail chains. The measures are aimed at preventing price dumping and protecting family businesses. Such steps will do major damage to Hungary's economy, opinion portal Véleményvezér criticises: "If the planned law is accepted the successful foreign retail chains will face a horrendous tax. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the major retail chains are to be excluded from the market if they make losses two years in a row. In short, losses are simply forbidden for the big chains. ... Hungarian consumers won't be the only losers here, but also the Hungarian employees of foreign retail chains who end up without jobs, and the Hungarian economy as a whole." (21/11/2014)


Nasz Dziennik - Polska

More rights for Poles in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Ewa Popacz praised German-Polish cooperation in the Polish city of Krzyżowa in Lower Silesia on Thursday. The occasion was the celebrations marking the anniversary of the "Reconciliation Mass" which took place there 25 years ago. In reality there's not so much substance to the German-Polish friendship, the national-Catholic daily Nasz Dziennik writes: "True, in formal terms German-Polish relations don't look bad at all. ... But this commemoration ceremony should give us pause for deeper reflection. ... One important problem is the status of the many Poles who live in Germany. These people's rights are in no way comparable with those of the German minority in Poland [for example in terms of financial aid for culture]. Berlin strictly refuses to treat the Poles living in Germany according to the principle of reciprocity." (21/11/2014)

Taraf - Turcja

Gezi referendum only democratic at first glance

Istanbul's mayor Kadir Topbaş announced on Wednesday a referendum on the future of Gezi Park. But that sounds more democratic than it really is, the liberal daily Taraf observes: "In a vote it's essential that voters are informed by the authorities about what is being voted on. ... In developed democracies decisions that affect the public are made only after an analysis of the effects. We know only too well how much the government dreads such mechanisms, and what it does to prevent them. ... Therefore we shouldn't get all excited and let ourselves be fooled as soon as we hear the word 'referendum'." (21/11/2014)