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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 26/06/2013



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EU wants to continue negotiations with Turkey

The compromise proposal came from German Foreign Minister Westerwelle. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


The EU foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday to continue accession negotiations with Turkey despite the violence used against demonstrators there. The talks won't be resumed until October, however, after the next progress report has come out. Some commentators see the prospect of accession as a hopeful signal to the democracy movement. Others say the EU must demand from Turkey more respect for the rule of law and the freedom of opinion.

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Turkey and EU need each other

It's right that the EU will continue to negotiate on accession with Turkey because the whole country should not be punished for Erdoğan's authoritarian policies, the liberal daily Tages-Anzeiger writes: "Above all this sanction wouldn't have hit the right target. Erdoğan can live very well with a standstill. It would be easy for the head of government to simply pin the blame on Brussels. It's the new democratic protest movement in Turkey that is pinning its hopes on moving closer to the EU. The young people in the cities would have been the first to suffer from the country's being cut off. ... Turkey needs the prospect of EU accession to return to its reform course. And the EU needs Turkey just as much. This is where the circle between domestic and foreign policy reasons for committing Turkey to this course closes. There are Turkish minorities in many European states. The reality is that Turkey has already got its foot in the EU's door." (26/06/2013)

Die Tageszeitung taz - Germany

Europe leaves democracy movement in the lurch

The EU must finally demand that Turkey respect the freedom of expression and rule of law, the left-leaning daily taz insists with an eye to the violent approach being used to suppress the Turkish democracy movement: "As so often, this is a case of deceptive packaging, and has nothing to do with active foreign policy. Yet now, after years of standstill, is the time to take a stand. ... Half of Turkey is on its feet, never has there been a democracy movement on the Bosporus comparable to this one. Never were the values that the EU is purportedly based on demanded with such vehemence as in the past three weeks. Yet the EU has not so much as shown its solidarity with those who are protesting for democracy and freedom. It has criticised the autocratic prime minister Erdoğan and his government's brutal approach, but this has made little impact. ... If the EU really wants to support the democracy movement in Turkey, it must force Erdoğan and his Islamist AKP to show their true colours by obliging the Turkish government to bring its attitude to freedom of opinion and constitutional procedures in political processes in line with European standards." (26/06/2013)

Der Standard - Austria

Change without moving closer

The government in Ankara fails to realise that it wants to join a liberal community of values, the left-liberal daily Der Standard points out: "Turkey has been an indispensable military partner In Nato for longer than Germany. But when it comes to a political community, it just doesn't work. True, there have been many positive changes. The power of the military has been reduced. And above all economically there has been much progress. But in the field that is most important for the continuation of the Union - democracy, basic rights, the rule of law - there has only been a change of course without internal rapprochement. The government in Ankara and its brutal police lack the awareness that it is they who want to join a liberal community of values, not the other way round; and that this is not just about business. So it was right - and realistic - of the EU to gently rebuke Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on democracy. Europe and Turkey need each other militarily, economically and politically. Turning their backs on each other will hurt both states." (26/06/2013)

The Irish Times - Ireland

Accession negotiations promote democracy

From an economic, strategic and foreign policy perspective there are many reasons to resume the accession negotiations with Turkey, the left-liberal daily The Irish Times argues: "This is the most buoyant economy in the EU's neighbourhood, with an enormous regional impact and a large potential for constructive involvement with other Europeans. It is also an important bridge to the Middle East. And the dramatic confrontations between protesters and the authorities in recent weeks reinforce the argument for having a continuing engagement capable of influencing events in favour of rights of assembly and free speech. There is in fact a good case for opening other policy areas for negotiation that would deal with justice, the courts, the rule of law and media freedoms." (26/06/2013)


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Diário de Notícias - Portugal

Snowdon sparks Cold War 2.0

The US has demanded that Russia immediately hand over Edward Snowden, who is currently in the transit area of an airport in Moscow. President Putin has refused to do so, describing Snowden as a "free man". The liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias feels the situation is reminiscent of the Cold War: "Because the US has equated Russia with the 'authoritarian countries' that have supported Snowden in his escape it is invoking the long gone days of the Cold War without first examining whether the accusations of the former NSA analyst have any justification. ... If the Big Brother tactics Snowden describes are indeed approved practice, America is casting doubts on its own credibility. And perhaps this is precisely why the US is in such a hurry to get its hands on the whistleblower. But it could have unforeseeable diplomatic consequences." (26/06/2013)

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands

London violates Europeans' basic rights

According to a report in The Guardian, the UK has been tapping into data traffic between Europe and the US under a large-scale surveillance programme codenamed Tempora. This is completely unconstitutional, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad complains: "Except in times of war no country has the right to unrestrictedly and secretly listen into the conversations of the citizens of another country, open their mail or scrutinise their Internet behaviour. Within the EU such a thing is all the more shocking. It increases the doubts about London's attitude to Europe. Clearly the United Kingdom has no scruples when it comes to the basic rights of its fellow Europeans. ... Systems like Prism and Tempora may only be used when a democratic foundation exists for them and they respect legal frameworks. Eliminating civil rights for the sake of protecting them is not a sound strategy - even in the 'war on terror'." (26/06/2013)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Parliament must stop president's coup tactics

Sidestepping a working majority in the Chamber of Deputies, Czech president Miloš Zeman on Tuesday entrusted his economic adviser Jiří Rusnok with putting together a cabinet of experts. The conservative daily Lidové noviny calls on the parliament to challenge the president's course: "The whole thing smacks of a coup, not in the constitutional sense, but certainly in the political sense. The president appoints a prime minister without the support of parliament and in the end against the will of a majority of deputies. The way the president is enforcing his will is inexcusably scandalous. ... Zeman could be stopped if the deputies could agree on early elections. It is their absolute duty to restore order in parliament." (26/06/2013)

15min - Lithuania

Berlusconi's escapades endanger all Europe

Following the guilty verdict against Silvio Berlusconi in the "Ruby" trial, the web portal 15min sees Europe's stability under threat: "If the ex-prime minister decides to take revenge and the talk of a political plot continues, the centre-left government led by Enrico Letta will collapse like a house of cards. Then the shares on the Milan stock market will plunge because in Italy, whose economy is stagnating for the second year in a row, all it takes for this to happen is a few weeks of political instability. And then the hot-headed populist Beppe Grillo will rise up again. ... Italy is not Greece. No ECB pledge will be able to save this country. In the case of Berlusconi, that charming French phrase 'Cherchez la femme' refers to much more than just a trivial amorous escapade. The repercussions of the homeless beauty's affair with the billionaire are putting the stability of all Europe in jeopardy." (26/06/2013)


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La Repubblica - Italy

China's crisis bad news for the West

Fears of a financial crisis in China caused Asian stock markets to dip on Tuesday. China's central bank has announced that it has already put funds at the disposal of banks suffering financial difficulties. The intervention of the central bank has calmed the markets, but behind the fears looms a crisis that will also have a negative impact on Europe and the US, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica fears: "An intervention on the part of the central bank is calming for investors, but at the same time it's also a confession. China's banks need money. This indicates that China isn't going through a financial but an economic crisis. ... Europe and the US are now seeing for themselves that after flying high, China could be in for a bumpier landing than had been expected. And above all in the medium term, Beijing will no longer be the locomotive that drags the other countries out of the bottleneck of their national debts." (26/06/2013)


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Libération - France

Zero tolerance for France's far right

A debate has been raging in France since Tuesday over the footage filmed by surveillance cameras of part of the confrontation between the left-wing activist Clément Méric and several skinheads at the beginning of June. The 18-year-old died of severe head injuries after the fight. Right-wing terror must not be played down, the left-liberal daily Libération writes: "We could go on feeding this pointless controversy by asking: who started the fight?. ... But we won't. Because that's not the main issue here. We know that like many people in the anti-fascist movement, Clément Méric could not entirely avoid the temptation to provoke, and sometimes - perhaps - to use violence. But we must stop there, and not give in to all those who would have us believe that you can lump together the extreme right and the extreme left. We can only commend those young people who are determined to reject the revolting ideas of anti-republican, fascist groups that make hatred their stock in trade." (26/06/2013)

Svobodata - Bulgaria

Topple the Bulgarian PM with a hunger strike

The writer Edvin Sugarev began a hunger strike today, Wednesday. On the online portal Svobodata he calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, arguing that he has been ignoring the peaceful protests of the past twelve days: "Go in peace, Mr Prime Minister. While Bulgaria is still peaceful, that is, because soon it could be too late. ... Your determination to demoralise the people and trample on the dignity of this nation that has finally opened its eyes justifies all forms of resistance: both civil disobedience, which you will certainty soon be faced with, and individual actions like mine. As of today I am on a hunger strike, and will not interrupt it until you and your government leave the political stage. You are playing an unworthy and deceitful game against Bulgaria's national interests and future. For that you will sooner or later have to pay a price, even if this price is my life. You will have it on your conscience." (26/06/2013)

Rzeczpospolita - Poland

Lawsuit against German wartime drama useful

The Polish Historical Society in Germany, PTHwN, is preparing a class action lawsuit against the authors of the German miniseries Generation War, and on Tuesday called on Poland's Foreign Minister Sikorski for financial support. The society's members are demanding compensation for the series' depiction of Polish WWII resistance fighters as anti-Semites. The conservative daily Rzeczpospolita sees some chances for plaintiffs: "Such class actions can certainly be successful. A concerted action has the advantage that it's a show of strength. ... One must not forget, however, that the losers will have to pay the legal expenses, making legal advice necessary from the outset. In addition, such cross-border cases shouldn't be put in the hands of amateurs. For that reason it's entirely fitting for the PTHwN to turn to Radosław Sikorski for support." (26/06/2013)

Večernji list - Croatia

Croatians not yet mentally prepared for EU

Croatia will join the EU on July 1. But what does the country expect from Europe and what does it have to offer, the conservative daily Večernji List asks: "What does Europe mean for Croatia, is the eternal rhetorical question. ... But with the EU accession comes another, far more important question: What are we bringing to the EU? What do we base our identity and our uniqueness on, what are our short-term, and above all our long-term national objectives? ... One gets the impression that with the end of the accession negotiations all we're doing is celebrating Europe, without giving it serious thought. Popular stereotypes about Croatia focus on the Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik, unspoilt nature, a few ancient buildings and a few famous athletes. ... The fact is that our country apparently hasn't mentally prepared itself for this historic change." (26/06/2013)


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El País - Spain

Guardiola improves Southern Europe's image

During his presentation as the new manager of football club Bayern Munich Josep Guardiola surprised the public with his relatively good knowledge of German. Perhaps the Spaniard will be able to improve the battered reputation of the Southern Europeans, the left-liberal daily El País comments hopefully: "The German press had already speculated that he would be able to speak some German, but no one was expecting 'perfect German'. Perhaps this praise is more an expression of good will and a tribute to his efforts; after all, he has only had six months to learn the language. But this is a highly commended achievement in Germany. ... We can be thankful that Guardiola's elegant and modern style, his intelligence, his modesty and his gift for languages are going down well with the Germans. With a little luck the new 'star' from the south will be able to dispel the image of the uncaring and passive Southerners which leads some Germans to suspect that Southern Europe is unashamedly taking advantage of the subsidies and help from the North." (26/06/2013)

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