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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 23/09/2009

 

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Mixed feelings on the climate conference

Mixed feelings on the climate conference

 

At the UN climate conference in New York Chinese President Hu Jintao has said for the first time that he intends to take concrete steps to prevent global warming. Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also announced that his country wanted to bring CO2 emissions down by 25 percent below the 1990 level by 2020, while the EU intends to lower its emissions by 30 percent in the same period. The US, however, has refrained from making firm commitments. The European press has mixed feelings about the conference's outcome. » more

With articles from the following publications:
Delo - Slovenia, Financial Times Deutschland - Germany, Corriere della Sera - Italy, Le Temps - Switzerland

Delo - Slovenia

In the daily Delo Zorana Bakovic is delighted to see China's change of heart on climate protection: "It is an invaluable step forward that China has joined the club of responsible states. Its populist president Hu Jintao held up the little green book in New York and announced the start of the revolution on Asian soil. It doesn't matter whether it was Japanese Prime Minister [Yukio] Hatoyama who encouraged him to do this with his bold promise to reduce his country's CO2 emissions or whether he simply wanted to upstage India and take the lead among the developing nations in the environmental movement. What's important is that China has recognised that it doesn't make sense to squabble over who should assume the greatest responsibility for the Earth. … In the last decade the Chinese were promised world leadership if they remained loyal to the only [communist] party. Now they have a real chance to lead a global movement - but not an ideological red [communist] movement or an ecologically black [conservative] one, but a green one which will unite all the states of this world." (23/09/2009)

Financial Times Deutschland - Germany

US President Barack Obama failed to live up to expectations at the UN climate summit in New York, the liberal business paper Financial Times Deutschland writes. The paper argues it would be better to postpone the Copenhagen climate summit planned for December: "At least there was one concrete step forward made at the UN climate summit on Tuesday. However it had nothing to do with reduction goals or greenhouse gases but with a simple political insight: forget Copenhagen. … The chances that Copenhagen will produce more than a non-binding framework agreement became even slimmer on Tuesday. They're heading towards zero. Therefore the best thing to do would be to postpone the conference until the US is ready to make genuine progress in the negotiations. Otherwise the danger is too great that a formal compromise in Copenhagen will make genuine progress impossible for years to come because it provides a wall for the worst enemies of the climate to hide behind." (23/09/2009)

Corriere della Sera - Italy

The liberal conservative paper Corriere della Sera comments on the failure of the US to undertake to sink CO2 emissions at the UN meeting in New York, and voices concern over the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen: "Today the US is the world's biggest CO2 producer. ... China and India, who will soon be rivalling the US for that title, still refuse strict and binding limits on emissions. Yesterday the leaders of the two Asian giants acknowledged that the time has come for them to shoulder responsibility for the climate, but stressed that they would not accept any quantitative requirements. ... The EU is unprepared for such difficulties, and at a loss for ideas. Only with difficulty were the EU's partners yesterday able to convince an irritated Danish Prime Minister [Lars Løkke] Rasmussen not to announce to the UN that all that will be up for discussion in Copenhagen in 75 days is a political declaration, and not a treaty. ... Many people are pinning their hopes on the personal commitment of the leaders. But their hands are also largely tied because their parliaments and public opinion are so often opposed to concessions regarding their own sovereignty on climate issues." (23/09/2009)

Le Temps - Switzerland

The Swiss daily Le Temps is pessimistic after the UN climate summit in New York: "It's already too late to save the climate? Apparently the formal and informal discussions that are underway in the United States in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit in December got off to a poor start. The United States came back to the negotiating table with the clear intention of promoting a global agreement. It fell into the trap of its own political agenda. President Barack Obama still hasn't got the go-ahead from the Senate. … The scientific community has intensified its warnings: if the process of reducing greenhouse gases is not set in motion by the end of the decade the efforts to lower emissions won't be in time to stabilise the amount of greenhouse gases that are released from 2030, when emissions generated by developing countries will start to increase most rapidly." (23/09/2009)

POLITICS

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Jyllands-Posten - Denmark

Obama lacks power to act in the Middle East

A summit meeting between US President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended yesterday (Tuesday) in New York without producing tangible results. The liberal daily Jyllands-Posten notes that Obama lacks the ability to act in the Middle East conflict: "The Goldstone Report [the UN report that accused Israel of war crimes in the Gaza Strip] added fuel to the fire and was particularly unwelcome at a time when the peace process in the Middle East needed new initiatives to bring the partners back to the negotiating table. … During the UN General Assembly currently taking place Barack Obama convinced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sit down at the same table. A few months ago there were great expectations of Barack Obama. But apart from his gift for rhetoric and the understandable call for Israel to stop building houses in the Palestinian territories he showed nothing but a … lack of power to act and of ideas for a master plan in the Middle East." (23/09/2009)

La Croix - France

Clearing the "Jungle" at Calais is pointless

Yesterday, Tuesday, the police in France acted on the order of French minister of the interior Eric Besson to clear the "Jungle" - the encampment of asylum seekers and refugees seeking to pass into Britain from Calais. The Catholic newspaper La Croix writes in its leading article: "One thing is certain: the intervention in Calais won't solve things, it will merely shift the problem to a new location. Similarly, the closure of [refugee camp] Sangatte in 2002 didn't stem the flow of foreigners - aided by money-hungry traffickers - whose only dream is to escape from the misery or violence they face at home. The authorities fear that by tolerating such camps, cleaning them up and offering more humane facilities, they will benefit the mafia networks that organise the human trafficking and give false hopes to those eager to make the journey. ... The voices calling for more humane treatment ... don't deny that lasting solutions must be found to the flow of migrants." (23/09/2009)

El País - Spain

Mediation for Honduras

Following the surprise return of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was toppled from power three months ago, the Central American country is threatened with civil war. The left-liberal daily El País advocates international mediation as a way out of the violence: "[Interim President Roberto] Micheletti thought he was winning the battle because people would forget and that the international pressure would ease after the presidential elections planned for November. The presence of Zelaya in [the capital of] Tegucigalpa has thwarted his plans and multiplied the risk of the power struggle in this small country spreading to become a major conflict affecting the entire region. Not without good reason have Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua as well as other important players all become involved in Honduras. … At this point in time divided Honduras has no better option than qualified mediation, preferably with representatives from this region." (23/09/2009)

Pravda - Slovakia

Ireland is indebted to Europe

"All of Europe is waiting to see what October 2 will bring," writes the left-leaning daily Pravda on Ireland's second referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon for reforming the European Union: "The first referendum was 'won' by [Lisbon Treaty opponent and] multimillionaire Declan Ganley, who founded the pan-European Libertas party on the strength of his success. But that didn't stop him from suffering a fiasco in the EU parliamentary elections. ... Today a majority of Irish parties support the Treaty of Lisbon. They are aware that thanks to European integration their country evolved from being one of the poorest countries on the continent to one of the richest. Formerly an agrarian country, Ireland is now a modern state. Irish politicians know full well that Ireland is indebted to Europe. According to forecasts it looks as if everything should go well. And it's a good thing too, because Europe has no Plan B." (23/09/2009)

REFLECTIONS

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Diário de Notícias - Portugal

On the uniqueness of the UN

The 64th UN General Assembly opens in New York on Wednesday. The daily Diário de Notícias acknowledges the organisation's achievements: "All attention is focused on US President Barack Obama's first speech before the general assembly. … But the political polemics, like the endless squabbling among the members of the Security Council, are merely the visible side of the UN. Those who hate the organisation are fond of making fun of the diplomatic impasses in which the UN lands, as well as the fact that the UN often serves as a stage for statesmen with inflated egos. But the UN has a discreet and by far more efficient facet concealed behind abbreviations like Unicef [the UN Children's Fund], WFP [the World Food Programme] or WHO [the World Health Organisation]. The first ensures that millions of children get an education, the second brings food to countries threatened by starvation and the third guarantees a coherent reaction to pandemics like the current swine flu. … The UN performs a unique service for mankind and therefore despite all its shortcomings it is indispensable for the world." (23/09/2009)

Delfi - Lithuania

Kęstutis Girnius on the terms "Soviet era" vs "occupation" in Lithuania

Kęstutis Girniu looks in the news portal Delfi into the question of how to name the era of Soviet rule in Lithuania from 1944 to 1990: "The choice of words is anything but a bagatelle. Moscow's explanation, whereby Lithuania joined the 'Council Union' in 1940 is rejected for good reason. The controversy centres on the term 'Council' [Soviet, in Lithuanian 'Taryba'], because Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union, and not by 'councils', and the Russian term [Soviet] stresses more clearly the foreign nature of the occupation. ... But how should a grandfather answer his grandson's question: 'Grandpa, what did you do during the occupation?' Certainly he's not going to boast that he was a party secretary, activist, Komsomol leader or supporter of the government, or that he had a glorious career. Because how can you justify your success if it was dependent on the whim of the occupiers? 'Soviet era' [using the Russian term 'Sovet'] would be a compromise, because it avoids the term 'Councils'. But 'occupation' is even better because it would facilitate the process of reappraising the past, with its collaboration, repression and injustices." (23/09/2009)

ECONOMY

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Helsingin Sanomat - Finland

Fighting the economic crisis with cooperation and free trade

On Thursday a further G20 summit will begin in Pittsburgh, with the aim of setting guidelines for global financial markets. The daily Helsingin Sanomat writes that the international economic crisis has increased the need for global economic cooperation. "No one disputes the achievements of cooperation. But we are not yet out of the woods, because the economy has only just started down the slow road to recovery. ... The biggest mistake in the recession of the 1930s was to deepen mistrust and strengthen tarrif barriers. If we can hope for anything from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh and the subsequent cooperation, it should be that the participating countries will practice what they preach. The void between solemn speeches and concrete action is growing in a menacing way. The leadership of the US could come in very handy in the search for joint action, but unfortunately [US President Barack] Obama has not exactly been successful in supporting free trade." (23/09/2009)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Swiss exports to Russia dwindling

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is currently visiting Switzerland. This prompts the Neue Zürcher Zeitung to take stock of economic relations between the two countries: "In recent years Russia has become a synonym for a dynamic market. … Russian-Swiss trade relations have suffered under the impact of the financial and economic crisis. According to statistics put out by the Swiss customs authority Swiss exports contracted by 37 percent in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period last year, while imports dropped by 27 percent. This decline has proven to be greater than that in foreign trade overall, which reflects the fact that the Russian economy has been harder hit than other states like China, India and Brazil by the crisis judging by the statistics on industrial production and gross domestic product." (22/09/2009)

CULTURE

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Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Unesco posts are not just about culture

The Bulgarian politician Irina Bokova was elected new Director-General of Unesco on Tuesday, thus winning the race against her controversial Egyptian rival for the post Farouk Hosny, who came under fire after making anti-Israeli remarks. The business paper Il Sole 24 Ore writes on Bokova's election: "The northern European bloc led by Germany worked in her favour. … The systematic undermining of the 'safe' candidate [Hosny] to lead the UN authority whose task it is to promote dialogue among peoples through culture, education and science started with his controversial statements. … Culture, whose international flag Unesco bears, in reality had little to do with the negotiations on the appointment of the new director. Politics, diplomacy and reason of state intersected in the hallways of the UN authority until in the end they culminated in a dangerous short circuit." (23/09/2009)

Der Tagesspiegel - Germany

Confessions of a womaniser?

In his forthcoming novel The Princess and the President former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing describes an affair between his hero and a princess. Now all of France is speculating on whether the author really had an affair with Lady Di. The left-liberal daily Der Tagesspiegel comments: "On both sides of the Channel this sounds simply preposterous. Nevertheless, with this book it's the 83-year-old former president himself who's got people speculating over a possible affair with Lady Di. ... All a fantasy? The confessions of a womaniser who at 83 wants to let the world know that he accomplished more than the text for a European constitution? Giscard d'Estaing is well-known for his gallantry. Lady Di too was not unmoved by his charm. That was in 1994, at a gala evening for the Year of the Child in the Royal Opera House in Versailles, to which Giscard's wife Anne-Aymone had sent out the invitations. The participants at this event were not invented." (23/09/2009)

SOCIETY

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Evening Herald - Ireland

Cheers Arthur!

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of the famous Irish beer Guinness the conservative Evening Herald writes: "At one minute to six on Thursday, in a campaign co-ordinated with military precision, thousands of visitors, and doubtless several natives too, will raise a glass to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness's rather wonderful beverage. It is a drink which has since become synonymous not only with Ireland but more specifically the city of Dublin… There used to be this notion that Guinness didn't travel well and while that's now a nonsense due to modern production techniques, there remains the fact that nothing tastes quite like Guinness when you're drinking it in a proper, old-fashioned Dublin pub. ... Years ago, there was this almost mythical pursuit of premises that served a great pint and, if truth be told, in most city establishments nowadays there's not that much variation in the quality of the stout on offer. But what can't be explained by any simple equation is how the surroundings and company affect one's enjoyment of what's in the glass. That is the essence of the pub experience and there's no better place to experience that than in Dublin. Cheers Arthur, and thanks." (22/09/2009)

SPORT

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Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - Poland

UEFA and EU partners in supervising football finances

Ján Figel, EU Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, has welcomed the decision of the Union of European Football Associations UEFA according to which starting with the 2012/13 season a club's expenditure on transfers and salaries may no longer exceed the value of its assets. The daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna comments: "The EU is revealing a more and more humane face. Up to now UEFA was regarded as an organisation that pursued only economic interests and which by organising the football business had build up its own empire on the old continent. UEFA boss Michel Platini recently broke with this stereotype. … The EU's reaction to Platini's latest project … is a real sign that this once excellent footballer has found a strong partner for his efforts - namely the politicians." (23/09/2009)

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