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Hanke, Thomas

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Handelsblatt - Germany | 03/02/2015

German is net contributor for good reason

In the conflict over Greece's debt crisis, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has once again raised the topic of German war debt from the Second World War. He's not the only one to have forgotten how Europe has benefited from Germany's war debt, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt criticises: "Germany remade itself from scratch politically and economically after the war, also thanks to the Allies. The financial consequences of the war debt weren't resolved in the form of reparations - even if the Soviet Union dismantled part of the East German industry. No, the result was a united Europe in which the German Federal Republic was - and still is - ready to be a net giver. All those who've forgotten that in Athens can jolly well remember it again. And anyone in Germany who thinks they should be outraged at how overstrained the 'German paymaster' is can take this argument to London, Paris or Amsterdam and see how much sympathy they get there."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 15/01/2014

Hollande needs to talk turkey

The announced reforms go in the right direction but Hollande still clings to his fainthearted style of government, the liberal business daily Handelsblatt criticises: "This time, too, the initial strong statements were followed by a barrage of conditions and little loopholes. ... The political leadership needs to cut spending where it does as little damage as possible to the production potential and at the same time make it clear to the people that they face another three or four lean years; this is a necessary investment in the future, and then things will start looking up again. However Hollande yet again failed to talk turkey yesterday. ... Even if he's now headed in the right direction, the president is constantly tempted to relapse into the euphemistic tones of his first 18 months in office and try to buy time. Therefore he needs strong backing from his European partners - but they must be tactful about it and without malice. Otherwise the situation in this country which doubts its own strength could quickly escalate."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 09/10/2013

Right-wing populism threatens France

The far right Front National (FN) emerged as the strongest party by far in a by-election in the Brignoles constituency in southern France on Sunday. The hitherto unknown FN candidate won just over 40 percent of the vote and will run against the candidate of the conservative UMP in the runoff vote. In the hunt for votes France's moderate parties are resorting to the rhetoric of the far right, the liberal business daily Handelsblatt fears: "Interior Minister Manuel Valls discredits the Roma, drives them out of communities and accuses them of being unable to integrate. ... According to surveys 70 percent of the French agree with him. This means his hard line will be the government's last hope six months before the local and European Parliament elections, in which the right-wing populists look set to have a strong showing. ... Many French are turning their backs on mainstream parties they see as lacking standpoints and solutions, and they regard the bloated state as nothing but a tax collector. The republic is in the grip of the right-wing extremists. A couple of years ago this was just a nightmare scenario but now it's gradually becoming reality."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 03/09/2013

French parliament wants a say on Syria

France's Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls announced on Sunday that his country will await the vote of the US Congress regarding military action in Syria and not attempt a unilateral deployment. At the same time several members of the National Assembly called for a vote in the French parliament. The liberal business paper Handelsblatt finds this remarkable: "In line with the constitution, the French are used to their president deploying the army without first consulting parliament. That was the case with the attack on Libya under Nicolas Sarkozy, and the entire country backed Hollande's military action against Mali although it was highly risky. ... Hollande is the first president to find himself in a situation where a military deployment is deeply unpopular and does more harm than good to his popularity. … Moreover, many French people wonder why the British parliament and the American Congress can vote on the issue while their Assemblée Nationale is merely informed as matters progress. ... One pillar of the Fifth Republic is starting to totter: the president's authority to decide on matters of war and peace.

Handelsblatt - Germany | 18/06/2012

Hollande facing domestic strife

The French Socialists led by François Hollande obtained an absolute majority in Sunday's parliamentary election. But the president still won't have an easy time getting his own way in domestic policy, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt comments: "In the coming months Hollande will have to deal with groups that have already eliminated other politicians: hundreds of thousands of civil servants and public sector employees who represent France's best organised workers and a force well versed in political destruction. He will only be able to balance the national budget if he emerges victorious from the confrontation with this force. But he can only reduce new debt if in addition to calling the shots on the central government budget he can also intervene in the finances of the regions, which have vigorously created new jobs in recent years while the central government was axing them. … He is still postponing the day when he will cease to be Europe's beneficiary, enthusing about an alternative path without major sacrifices, and turn into an energetic reformer in his own country. But he has to do this soon or he will fail entirely."

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