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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 03/12/2013

 

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Opposition ups the pressure on Yanukovych

"We don't just want to change the ministers, we want to change the political system," opposition leader Vitali Klitschko stressed. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

The opposition in Ukraine now hopes to topple the government of President Viktor Yanokovych with a vote of no confidence. The members of parliament will debate the vote in Kiev today, Tuesday. The EU should offer the demonstrators its unconditional support, some commentators demand. Others don't believe Ukraine will change its pro-Russian course now.

Rzeczpospolita - Poland

Abolish visa requirements for Ukrainians

The EU should lend unconditional support to the demonstrators in Ukraine, the conservative daily Rzeczpospolita writes: "If Europe does not pass this test, the hurdles that arise after it will be insurmountable. The first important step is to abolish visa requirements for Ukrainians. They must be allowed to move around more easily in the EU. Some have said that in view of the mass immigration from Africa, that would open yet another Pandora's box and endanger the social equilibrium within the EU. We are in no doubt that this view is wrong. The Ukrainians were, and are, Europeans. The fact that their state is not in the EU is a result of the country's tragic history." (03/12/2013)

Politiken - Denmark

Protests in Kiev should inspire EU

The pro-European protests in Ukraine should also give the EU hope that the weariness caused by the euro crisis will be overcome, writes the left-liberal daily Politiken: "We in the West have been in the EC and later in the EU for so long that many have grown tired of Europe and lost their enthusiasm. ... But the Ukrainians are reminding us what the European project is all about: peace and freedom. The demonstrators on the streets of Kiev see the EU as their hope for a path into the future - and away from the Iron Curtain that has been forgotten in the West. The fall of the Berlin Wall was followed by years of great enthusiasm for all things European - including its culture and history. But with the big round of EU expansion encompassing 10 new countries in 2004 and the accession of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, the enthusiasm for Europe has waned. Today all the talk about Europe revolves around bailout plans and growth packages." (03/12/2013)

Sme - Slovakia

Ukraine lost for decades to come

The demonstrations in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities cannot hide the fact that Ukraine's hopes of closer ties to Europe have been dashed for a long time to come, the liberal daily Sme writes: "A Eurasian union will emerge that will give Russia the feeling of having regained global influence. Ukraine plays a key role in this plan. ... A debate about whether Kiev will rethink its current choice after the presidential elections in 2015 - or whenever - is legitimate but superfluous, and basically pointless. Gazprom is rich enough to convince the Ukrainian voters, for example with cheap gas, that in 2015 Yanukovych or another Russian marionette should become president. True, hundreds of thousands are now taking to the streets to protest. But despite any feelings of sympathy, that does nothing to change reality: the summit in Vilnius sealed the fate of Ukraine for decades to come." (03/12/2013)

Handelsblatt - Germany

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." (03/12/2013)

POLITICS

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Svobodata - Bulgaria

Bulgarians can learn from the Ukrainians

Whereas hundreds of thousands are demonstrating against President Viktor Yanukovych's pro-Russian course in Ukraine, the Bulgarians have to all intents and purposes abandoned their resistance to their own pro-Russian government after six months of protests, the opinion portal Svobodata laments: "And the situation in Bulgaria is just as problematic as that in Ukraine, if not worse. While Yanukovych is in the process of robbing his people of a purportedly European future, EU member Bulgaria is being governed by people who are doing all they can to jeopardise its membership. They are extracting the country from the community of the civilised and allying it with Putin's Eurasia. Both Ukraine and Bulgaria are governed by thieves and bribable politicians controlled by the Kremlin. However the supposedly backward and uncivilised Ukrainians are doing something to stop this and are even ready to pay with their own blood, whereas here a mere 40 people are willing to go out and wave signs." (02/12/2013)

Jutarnji list - Croatia

Croatia fails as locomotive in Western Balkans

After the referendum in which gay marriage was rejected, a veterans' initiative from the city of Vukovar announced on Monday that it had collected enough signatures for a new referendum aimed at limiting the rights of minorities and reversing the introduction of bilingual sign posts. With its nationalist shift to the right Croatia has lost its role as EU trailblazer in the Western Balkans, the liberal daily Jutarnji List notes with regret: "Croatia played a key role in the Europeanisation of the former Yugoslavia. Zagreb was supposed to act as a locomotive for the rest of the region, pulling it towards Europe. But the entire train has gone in the opposite direction. The notion of the Balkans is more deeply ingrained in the heads of Croatians than the European idea. Even worse than the sad fact that Croatia has not fulfilled the role it assumed is the country's reversion to the dark times of war in the 1990s." (03/12/2013)

Profil - Austria

Germany shifts a little to the left

Featuring a women's quota, dual citizenship and a minimum wage, the German coalition agreement highlights a shift in German politics, the left-liberal weekly Profil points out: "Despite everything, German politics has shifted a little to the left - and become a little more European. Austerity light is the name of the game now. And the SPD party base will no doubt give the green light for the grand coalition because the members know that as balance of power stands now, they won't get a better deal. It's certainly paid off for the SPD to have its members vote on the coalition. Using the party base as a threat in the negotiations was clearly a good strategy. The party's Austrian counterpart, however, still hasn't understood that democracy within the party can also be a sensible strategy: the SPÖ leadership has always immediately rejected any motion to allow the members to have a say on the formation of a government as an insult." (30/11/2013)

Le Courrier - Switzerland

WTO in the vicious circle of liberalisation

Ten new free trade agreements are to be signed at the WTO's Ministerial Conference which begins today on Bali. The left-leaning daily Le Courrier wonders if the measures won't benefit the rich at the expense of the poor even more than is already the case: "In the souk of global trade, such questions are out of place. As if in the throes of the environmental crisis you could ignore the distribution of man-made products! As if the international trade could keep on developing indefinitely, when transport already accounts for a quarter of the world's manmade CO2 emissions! From crisis to crisis, from social drama to ecological peril, the global community's incapacity to question itself is staggering. The crash of 2008 is symptomatic: the harm caused by the process of economic liberalisation is being answered with an intensification of this selfsame policy. It's like lemmings ever rushing to the sea." (02/12/2013)

ECONOMY

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Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Chinese exploitation in Tuscany

Seven workers employed at a Chinese garment factory in the Tuscan city of Prato died when the building caught fire on Sunday, while four were injured. China does whatever it likes in Italy, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore complains: "They died like slaves after working like slaves. Not in India, no. In Italy. In one of Prato's many (and impossible to ignore) factory buildings. All made in China. The owners, managers, employers. And all illegal: from the safety measures at the working place to the contracts, from the accounts to the taxes. Who will now take care of this in Italy? The interior minister? The minister of justice? Someone from the tax authorities or the public health department? Someone who doesn't just talk and talk at meetings but actually campaigns against this barbaric situation? Someone who will take China to task, which is competing against us in our own country and according to its own rules." (03/12/2013)

The Independent - United Kingdom

Drones won't improve Amazon's image

The US online dealer Amazon wants to also use unmanned drones to deliver its packages in future, the company's founder Jeff Bezos announced on US TV station CBS on Sunday. Such announcements won't help to improve the company's tainted image, the left-liberal daily The Independent writes: "Given some of the recent coverage of the store's pay and working conditions, its vision of an unmanned future is especially timely. ... For 15 years in this country Amazon has triumphed simply thanks to the convenience and reliability of its service. But it will have to do more now, in its tax dealings as well as working conditions, to maintain that confidence. Faceless drones probably aren't the answer." (02/12/2013)

L'Est Républicain - France

Workers always pay the price in the end

The French government presented the Bailly report on Monday, which recommends that stores should be able to stay open longer on Sundays. France's strategy in the fight against unemployment is contradictory and puts workers at a disadvantage, the regional paper L'Est Républicain writes: "The report will no doubt end the sacrosanct tradition of Sunday as a day of rest. And in a couple of days in Brussels, France will man the barricades to stop the European Posting of Workers Directive, which opens the door to international social dumping. ... More than a concatenation of coincidences, this trend shows that if it is possible to fight unemployment, it will only be at the expense of workers. Like the German model, which is so often held up as an example." (03/12/2013)

SOCIETY

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Eleftherotypia - Greece

Greek job market turning into slave market

A hotel on the Greek island of Ägina published a job advertisement a few days ago looking for a maid willing to work for nothing but food and lodgings. According to the left-liberal daily Eleftherotypia, the ad says a lot about the future of Greece: "A life on the fringes of existence. An empty, hopeless life in which poverty is seen as normal, and the many people without means of their own seem privileged in comparison with the starving masses. ... Countless people without jobs are anxious and fearful about securing even the minimum to survive. This is making the job market more and more like a slave market. People are working for a pittance and giving up all their rights. ... And as far as human dignity is concerned: under the weight of the lack of the bare necessities for survival it is increasingly losing all meaning." (02/12/2013)

Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey

Erdoğan's confusing notion of diversity

In a speech delivered at the "Week of Innovation" conference in Istanbul at the end of November, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed a wish for creative people with unconventional ideas. The liberal English-language daily Hürriyet Daily News is surprised by this statement: "The same Erdoğan who is now saying that 'A society that has standard identities and standard brains cannot go forward' also said not so long ago that he wanted to see a religious youth emerge in Turkey, which means a standard Islamic youth subscribing to one world view. Like his understanding of 'democracy' Erdoğan's understanding of 'diversity' also appears to be confused and out of touch with his own actions and past remarks, and that is why he is ultimately unconvincing. (03/12/2013)

MEDIA

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El Huffington Post - Spain

Valencia's public TV channel superfluous

Canal 9, the public television broadcaster for the community of Valencia in eastern Spain, was taken off the air on November 29. Despite thousands having protested on the weekend against the closure of the station, a cost-cutting measure, no one will really miss it, the Valencian journalist Mariola Cubells concludes in the online newspaper El Huffington Post: "Only the fears of the 1,800 employees who lost their jobs will remain. The half-hearted dismay of the citizens, the cries of those who never expressed any interest in the issue for 20 years, the coverage by other media - all this will soon fade to nothing. And for a powerful reason: no one will miss the public broadcaster because it was neither public nor any good. With its tiny audience it didn't serve anyone's interests, didn't entertain anyone, didn't keep people up to date on important issues. Therefore it didn't fulfil the single task it was supposed to fulfil." (03/12/2013)

Nevem Senki - Hungary

TV commercials as bad as child labour

Television advertisements are the scourge of humanity because they reduce viewers to the status of mere commodities, publicist Róbert Puzsér writes in the independent weekly paper Nevem Senki: "The most dangerous poison contaminating the soul of our country - I'll go further: of civilisation - on a daily basis is the TV commercial. True, the brainwashing is interrupted now and then by reality shows and soap operas. Nevertheless their destructive impact is sheerly immeasurable. ... The TV ad must now be put on a par with child labour: it is highly profitable economically, and a simple, quick solution. At the same time, however, it is also despicable to the point of being inhumane, since it degrades human consciousness, turning it into a mere commodity. ... With the help of foul psychological tricks, it drives us on to adopt repugnant consumerist behaviour - and to purchase things we don't even need." (26/11/2013)

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