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Siebenhaar, Hans-Peter

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

Handelsblatt - Germany | 17/02/2015

OSCE must be armed

Renewed fighting has broken out in eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire that has been in effect since Sunday. The leaders of France, Ukraine and Germany called on Monday for free access for observers of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). However they face an almost impossible task, comments the liberal business paper Handelsblatt: "The observers are dependent on one thing: the good will of the warring parties. But often enough that's just what's been lacking in the disputed region. In this delicate situation observing a peace plan without weapons is tantamount to a 'mission impossible'. ... Yet again the OSCE runs the risk of being humiliated by the warring parties. To prevent that, the OSCE has no choice but to arm itself and deploy the necessary armoured vehicles. ... The fact that of all parties the Western friends of embattled Ukraine are opposed to a mission similar to that of the UN peacekeeping troops could soon prove a fatal mistake."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 27/08/2014

Stalling Austria urgently needs reforms

Michael Spindelegger, Austria's finance minister and vice-chancellor and chairman of the Austrian People's Party, announced his resignation from all his posts on Tuesday. The move is a pointed response to the lack of reforms, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt comments: "The government that has only been in office for 11 months is so weak and insipid that Austria's neighbours pity it. Instead of coming up with new ideas and serious reforms, the alliance under bland [Chancellor] Faymann has done nothing but muddle through so far. ... Austria must summon up the energy for real reforms, otherwise the economically stalling Alpine nation will see its competitiveness diminish even further. It already squeezes higher taxes and contributions out of its citizens than Sweden. Companies and banks are encumbered with special taxes. ... Even if the coalition members in Vienna are crippled by fear of the rise of the right-wing populists, failing to introduce comprehensive reforms will hurt the country. This is Spindelegger's unspoken message."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 05/08/2014

Why Southeast Europe is hesitant on sanctions

The German government is trying to convince non-EU states to also join in with the sanctions against Russia. The liberal business daily Handelsblatt can understand why Southeast Europe is reluctant to pick a fight with Putin: "The Serb foreign minister Ivica Dacic neatly summed up the stance in the region when he said recently that you can't introduce sanctions against someone who is bigger and stronger than you. ... The basic feeling in most states of Southeast Europe is that the EU's sanction policy is a matter for the Germans, French and Americans. ... The EU sanctions against Russia in the maelstrom of the civil war in Ukraine won't stop the plans for the South Stream pipeline from going ahead. ... But the EU knows it would hurt its own interests if it prevented the Eastern European countries from obtaining their urgently needed gas supplies in the long term. Time will work inexorably in favour of a policy of moderation - at the very latest when the cold forces people in Europe to turn on their heating."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 03/07/2014

Bulgaria must do its homework

After last week's bank run the EU's promise of financial aid has calmed the crisis in the Bulgarian bank sector and among its customers. Nonetheless the situation shows how unstable and unpredictable Bulgaria still is seven years after EU accession, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt comments: "The corruption in this country of seven million inhabitants is immense, the government under Socialist Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski is ineffective and the judiciary is completely biased. Many Bulgarians doubt that the early elections at the start of October will bring a solution. And Europe? It looks away. ... Yet Europe may pay a heavy price for this ignorance. Bulgaria is basically an experiment to test whether the EU can establish a durable, socially responsible market economy in a parliamentarian democracy. ... Before any further EU expansion those countries that are already members like Bulgaria must finally do their homework."

Handelsblatt - Germany | 03/12/2013

OSCE as mediator between East and West

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) could play the role of mediator at its meeting this week in Kiev, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt writes: "The Vienna-based organisation is the only body in which all European countries, including the successor states of the USSR, and the United States are represented. In its almost 40-year history, it has repeatedly managed to build bridges between East and West. ... At the end of his political career, [German] Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle now has the chance to write history once again if he manages to serve as a mediator together with his European colleagues in the conflict between the government and the opposition. ... In these days of growing violence an honest, fresh middleman like the OSCE is badly needed to prevent the protests from ending in disaster. And it doesn't have much time left to do this."

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