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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 25/06/2012

 

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Islamist Mursi is Egypt's new president

Mursi's supporters celebrate on Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday. (© AP/dapd)

 

The Muslim Brother Mohammed Mursi has won the presidential elections in Egypt, the country's electoral commission announced on Sunday, one week after the run-off vote. The power of the country's first democratically elected president will be restricted by the military council, some commentators lament. Others see the military as an important counterweight to the forces of religion.

Le Soir - Belgium

Presidential election a farce

The moderate Islamist Mohammed Mursi is Egypt's first freely elected president. However the daily Le Soir does not see the presidential elections as a victory for democracy: "Have we witnessed the triumph of nascent Egyptian democracy after the revolution in 2011? Unfortunately not! Just a fateful farce. The judges, especially on the Constitutional Court, who were all named during the Mubarak era, have taken very serious decisions. ... Above all to dissolve the country's first democratically elected parliament. The army then seized all power. What will Mohammed Mursi do with this poisoned gift? One may assume that he will attempt to establish a government of unity. But he risks being sabotaged by the 'deep state', as people say in Egypt: the security forces, the army, the bureaucracy, all of which have a keen interest in him failing." (25/06/2012)

Die Presse - Austria

Military still pulls the strings

The Muslim Brother Mohammed Mursi has become Egypt's new president. But in the background the military continues to pull the strings, which may be a good thing for the non-religious forces in the country for the time being, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse notes: "The army had a double strategy right from the start. Firstly, it wanted to protect its long tentacles, which reach deep into the economy, the judiciary and other areas of influence from the citizens' access. Secondly, the military is obviously determined not to give the Islamists free rein. … Constructing such a fortress to prevent the Islamists from assuming total power makes sense as long as the rights of the seculars are not anchored in a constitution. To trust the Muslim Brothers or even the Salafists here would be naïve. But it is no longer possible to force Mursi and his men to go underground. … They must be given the opportunity to break their own spell, without presenting them the state on a silver tray. This is the only raison d'être for the army's transitional function, at least until the democratic liberties are enshrined in a new constitution. But it would also be naïve to assume that the army doesn't have an agenda that goes beyond this." (25/06/2012)

The Independent - United Kingdom

Mursi must reform the economy

After winning the presidential elections Mohammed Mursi must now above all rebuild the country's economy which suffered greatly during the Arab Spring, writes the left-liberal daily The Independent: "For all the jubilation, Egypt's challenges are far from over. ... Not the least of Mr Morsi's immediate priorities is the poor state of the economy. The turmoil of the last 16 months has been devastating: tourism has slumped, foreign exchanges reserves are dwindling, and the government's finances are in dire straits. Meanwhile, unemployment is high and rising, particularly among young people. Near the top of Mr Morsi's agenda, therefore, must be the International Monetary Fund support turned down by the military council last year. But over the longer term, alongside such concerns as healthcare and education, the new President will need to institute wide-ranging economic reforms to tackle the sclerosis caused by decades of cronyism." (25/06/2012)

POLITICS

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Die Tageszeitung taz - Germany

Big four summit evades sensitive issues

The heads of state and government of the four major euro states Germany, France, Italy and Spain convened in Rome on Friday for a crisis meeting. But they failed to tackle the burning issues in their talks, the leftist daily taz criticises: "The [financial markets] won't be swayed by either the growth programme, the transaction tax or any envisaged steps towards greater integration. For them the only thing that counts is how the governments of the Eurozone react if in the next few days once again Spanish - followed by Italian - bonds come under mounting pressure. This is the question where the arduous show of unity at the four-way summit ended. … Euro bonds, euro bills, the role of the ECB: all these highly charged terms were left unmentioned and the major questions unanswered. Instead the Europeans can rejoice that perhaps very soon a banking union will be formed, followed by the fiscal union in another couple of years and political union. But will there still be a euro by then?" (25/06/2012)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Turkey can hardly expect solidarity from Nato

Nato will address the shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet by the Syrian anti-aircraft defence on Tuesday. The conservative daily Lidové noviny sees little probability of the alliance resorting to military action since Ankara itself has not always shown solidarity with Nato's objectives: "An attack on a Nato member is generally considered an attack on the alliance itself, according to the Musketeer motto 'All for one and one for all'. But clarity regarding the present case will only come on Tuesday, when Turkey presents Nato with its version of the incident. And Nato may well take a more reserved view of events. When Nato rallied support for military action against Gaddafi's Libya, Turkey acted as if it wasn't even a member of the organisation. In addition it made every effort to block Nato cooperation with Israel. That is rather an egoistical attitude, not that of a Musketeer." (25/06/2012)

La Stampa - Italy

Banking union colossal task for ECB

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy has now also spoken out in favour of a European banking union in an interview published in the Welt am Sonntag. Van Rompuy is understandably pinning his hopes on the driving force of the European Central Bank, which faces a colossal task, writes the liberal daily La Stampa: "A growing burden rests on the shoulders of [ECB chief] Mario Draghi. The danger that he may have to pay for the mistakes of others is increasing. … The banking union is the only solution. Among the proponents of the project Draghi will play a decisive role at the EU summit [at the end of the week]. … The task at hand is to put together the cornerstones of the banking union, from harmonised fiscal policies to political union. The crucial issue here is the sequence in which this is done. For Hollande, the banking union has top priority because he opposes political union, whereas Merkel fears that a banking union without political integration will be very costly for the Germans." (25/06/2012)

To Vima Online - Greece

New government in Greece feeble

The new Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his finance minister Vasilios Rapanos won't be taking part in the EU summit at the end of the week. Samaras can't travel to Brussels because of an eye operation while Rapanos is still recovering after a fainting attack a few days ago. The left-liberal online paper To Vima doubts that Greece's new government is up to the challenges it faces: "These two cases of illness don't permit people to start calling the new government a patient, but the government's constellation is not the most favourable. Above all because it plans to win the title 'government of national rescue'. … To be frank there is a lack of experience and competence in the cabinet. The economic team has the most critical task of coordinating the efforts aimed at economic recovery, but it seems to lack the necessary energy and dynamics. … Rapanos himself has plenty of experience, but he can't realise his full potential because he has no competent colleagues to back him in controlling spending and revenues." (25/06/2012)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Ray of hope after Rio environment summit

Although the UN environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro may have accomplished little, at least the summit's final declaration contains a few good strategies, writes the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "'Rio+20' was not a step backwards. Nor, however, did it put the world on the path to greater sustainability which we so urgently need to take. No new obligations on helping to reduce hunger and poverty, sinking greenhouse gas emissions or stopping the loss of biological diversity were undertaken. But as non-binding as it is, the new document nevertheless contains the seeds of positive change. These, especially the global sustainability goals, must now be helped to sprout. But in the years to come the states will need to put considerably more effort into defining and implementing them than they showed in Rio." (23/06/2012)

REFLECTIONS

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Lietuvos žinios - Lithuania

Kęstutis Girnius on the EU's democracy deficit

The citizens of the Union are not consulted on the most important questions of EU policy, political scientist Kęstutis Girnius laments in the conservative daily Lietuvos žinios: "As a result of the bitter experiences of the past [the rejection of the EU constitution in referendums] the members of the EU do not allow their electorates to vote on the burning issues of the day. Because they rightly fear that they will not agree with their politicians' proposals. Under such conditions it is difficult to speak of transparent democracy. ... Referendums are not a panacea for securing democracy. Their success depends on the state and its political culture. ... They can be misused by well-organised activists and groups. Voters who let themselves be led by their emotions can make irrational decisions and back negative changes. But if the people have no real say on the most important issues, democracy will only limp along and the people will become alienated from the state." (25/06/2012)

ECONOMY

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ABC - Spain

Spanish bank bailout affects all Europe

Spain will officially apply for assistance from the European rescue fund this Monday. The conservative daily ABC points out that the future of the Eurozone depends on the precise terms of this multi-billion-euro loan: "For Spain, it is vital to achieve favourable terms for the recapitalisation of its banks. Only in this way can it overcome the present credit crunch caused by the banking crisis and release the necessary resources to give the ailing economy a boost. There is still a little room for manoeuvre in the negotiations because the final conditions won't be passed until the next Euro Group summit meeting on July 9. And all the European politicians must realise that this time it's not just about a simple agreement, as at many other summits. This time the credibility of the entire Eurozone is at stake. A decisive step towards a banking union would be the best outcome, both for the EU and for Spain's specific requirements and those of other struggling countries." (25/06/2012)

Phileleftheros - Cyprus

Cyprus must decouple from Greece

Following the June 17 victory of the pro-austerity parties in Greece, Cyprus is counting on easier access to the help it urgently needs for its struggling banks. The liberal daily Phileleftheros sees Cyprus in danger owing to the involvement of its banks in debt-stricken Greece and therefore calls for its economy to be decoupled from that of its neighbour: "The most important lesson we have learned is that we are without doubt hostage to the Greek economy - and this in itself is a problem. We must finally cut the umbilical cord that binds us to the Greek economy and its uncertainties so that we are not affected if the Greeks want to self-destruct. … It may sound harsh but we have learned from the political developments in Greece that the sense of self-preservation is the only thing that counts." (24/06/2012)

SOCIETY

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Blog Ivo Indjev - Bulgaria

Bulgaria lagging behind in Eastern Europe

Polish and Slovakian employers are increasingly recruiting Bulgarian guest workers. The prosperity limits in the EU have shifted eastwards, writes Ivo Indyev in his blog: "The years in which Bulgaria should have caught up with Europe have passed quickly. … Nowadays we read in the newspapers: 'Poland looking for Bulgarian plumbers'. … This means that we are already second-class workers on the second-class European job market. Within just a few years the Poles and other fellow sufferers from the former Soviet bloc have become for us what the West once was for them. Slovakia is tempting away Bulgarian plumbers with salaries most workers here can only dream of. Our politicians urgently need to explain what this means for our future development." (25/06/2012)

MEDIA

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Polityka Online - Poland

Radio station insults Ukrainian cleaning ladies

The Polish government apologised on Friday at the behest of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the behaviour of two Polish radio presenters. After the Ukrainian team was eliminated from the Euro 2012 football championships, the two joked that they would "now act like true Poles and send their Ukrainian [cleaning lady] packing." The two presenters are wanna-be artists who lack the skill to do their job properly, writes the news portal Polityka Online: "The artists have said that their statements must not be taken literally, and that they were making fun of typical Polish attitudes. ... But the strategy of the presenters of [radio broadcaster] Eska Rock was clear: the harder they lash out at us, the more annoyed we'll get. ... The role of the court jester for whom there are no taboos is generally attractive for artists, because it enables them to heighten their profile. But you have to possess the necessary skills, and that includes having the common sense to maintain a healthy distance and to properly judge the actions of others, as well as your own." (25/06/2012)

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