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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 06/03/2014



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EU seeks position on Crimea crisis

People demonstrate against the siege of a military base in the Crimean city of Bakhchysaray. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


The leaders of the EU are meeting today, Thursday, to discuss measures against Moscow. While Eastern European countries call for tough sanctions, Germany is pushing for mediation between Russia and Ukraine. Some commentators fear that threatening Moscow will do more harm than good, while others say the time for military action against Russia has come.

Delo - Slovenia

Threatening Moscow causes great harm

The West is acting like a bull in a china shop with its threats to Russia, the left-liberal daily Delo criticises: "For the Ukrainians still camped out on Euro-Maidan, as well as those in the east of the country who are demanding Russian protection from the 'fascists', this crisis has lasted their entire lives. The international bulls who are stomping around the Ukrainian china shop haven't solved this crisis. On the contrary, they have exacerbated it to the extreme. There is a real danger that the largest country in Europe in terms of surface area will collapse. ... Without Moscow's help, it will be exceedingly difficult to win back the trust of the eastern part of the country. The West's empty threats are hypocritical and won't solve a thing. Quite the contrary." (06/03/2014)

Hospodárske noviny - Slovakia

Nato must now show its strength

When the EU leaders meet in Brussels today to discuss sanctions against Russia they shouldn't baulk at the idea of making really threatening gestures, the liberal daily Hospodářské noviny argues: "From past experience we know that the only way to command the lasting respect of the Russian tsars is to show real strength. That means mobilising Nato's non-nuclear ground forces of the European member states in a coordinated manner. Above all by stationing the US marine forces in international waters in the area, the alliance would show that it's ready for action and can pose a genuine threat. When else, if not when a direct neighbour is attacked, should conventional forces be deployed to the alliance's eastern border after all the years of military exercises? In conjunction with the expulsion of Putin's ambassadors and the real threat of international isolation, this kind of military pressure would certainly trigger a counter-reaction. The Kremlin would turn off the gas tap. The question is how much the Europeans really cherish their principles." (06/03/2014)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

EU rescue package won't avert bankruptcy

The EU wants to help Ukraine out with an eleven billion euro rescue package. That won't be enough to prevent the country from going bankrupt, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza comments: "It's clear that Ukraine won't be able to solve the problem on its own. ... But the 25.5 billion euros [Ukraine estimates it needs] amount to just a thousandth of the joint economic output of the EU and the US last year. Leaving the country to fend for itself would mean the complete moral bankruptcy of the West. Moreover, it would be an unforgivable mistake because it would create a black hole on the EU's eastern border in the form of an insolvent state that is a source of constant unrest." (06/03/2014)

El País - Spain

Stop business as usual with Russia

Europe must make it clear to Russia that acts of aggression like the invasion of Ukraine will have repercussions, political analyst José Ignacio Torreblanca admonishes in his blog with the left-liberal daily El País: "All forms of economic cooperation with Moscow must urgently be suspended. ... The government in Kiev must receive both economic and financial support in its efforts to establish a broad-based governing coalition. The correct execution of the elections on May 25th as well as political and constitutional changes must be guaranteed. European and non-European politicians must strengthen their presence in Ukraine - that goes for representatives of the UN, the IMF and above all the OSCE. ... Russian companies in the EU must be threatened with the freezing of their accounts. ... The message to Russia must be clear: we cannot maintain normal relations with Russia as long as Russia doesn't maintain normal relations with its neighbours. There can be no business as usual." (06/03/2014)

Sputnikipogrom - Russia

Global perspectives: Putin smothers Russian Spring

President Putin stated on Tuesday that the Kremlin was not backing any pro-Russian separatist movements. Putin is not doing enough to support Russians at home and abroad, Russian journalist Egor Prosvirnin writes on his blog Sputnikipogrom: "For two days Putin's television reminded us that there is a Russian people, that Russians don't only live in Russia, that Russians are obliged to protect other Russians, that national solidarity outweighs all state borders and treaties. ... Even in the supposedly apathetic Eastern Ukraine, tens of thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators came out in protest. ... That was the outbreak of the Russian Spring. But then suddenly everyone remembered that those aren't Russians living in Ukraine, but merely Russian-speaking Ukrainians, and that if you're serious about protecting Russians, you should above all do it in Russia." (05/03/2014)

The New Yorker - U.S.

Global perspectives: Ukraine has no time for war

Russia's military threats are exacerbating the enormous problems the Ukrainians already face, making it almost impossible to solve them, US journalist David Remnick writes on the website of the left-liberal weekly magazine The New Yorker: "The new Ukrainian leadership is worse than weak. It is unstable. It faces the burden of legitimacy. Yanukovych was spectacularly corrupt, and he opened fire on his own people. He was also elected to his office and brought low by an uprising, not the ballot. ... Ukraine has already experienced revolutionary disappointment. The Orange Revolution, in 2004, failed to establish stable democratic institutions and economic justice. ... How can Ukraine possibly move quickly to national elections, as it must to resolve the issue of legitimacy, while another country has troops on its territory?" (01/03/2014)


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Corriere della Sera - Italy

European elections: Italy's left wastes new opportunity

The Italian electoral list "The Other Europe with Tsipras" announced the names of its candidates for the European elections on Wednesday. The list was put together after six intellectuals called on Italy's left-wing parties to fight together for a new Europe. Since only one of the original initiators is among the candidates, the initiative doesn't seem to have gone much further than good intentions, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera observes with dismay: "Sectarianism seems so deeply rooted and incorrigible within the left that it runs the risk of missing this opportunity too. No sooner was the idea of uniting the fragmented and depressed left behind Alexis Tsipras born, than they began to undermine it. ... First [author and co-initiator] Andrea Camilleri bailed out, then came the disconcerting news that the candidacy of certain renowned intellectuals had been intended only as an appeal to win votes, but that none of them really had the intention of becoming a member of the European Parliament. This doesn't exactly testify to a sense of respect for the intelligence and choices of the voters." (06/03/2014)

Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey

Erdoğan not ashamed of manipulating

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitted on Wednesday that two of the recordings of phone conversations between himself, his former justice minister and an entrepreneur friend of his that were published on the Internet are genuine. The liberal daily Hürriyet Daily News is appalled at the way Erdoğan is trying to justify the content: "Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has not only admitted that he attempted to manipulate a court decision through his former justice minister and cancelled a military tender by manipulating a competition against the winning company, but he has also defended those moves as 'natural.' ... So why is Erdoğan acting so boldly in admitting these manipulations? The answer lies in his understanding of democracy and his over-confidence in his voters. He believes that his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) is going to secure the most votes in the March 30 local elections, which would clean him of all allegations of corruption, with no further need for independent courts." (06/03/2014)

Libération - France

Sarkozy's clan mired in scandals

The weekly paper Le Canard enchaîné published on Wednesday excerpts of conversations in the Elysée secretly recorded in 2011 by Patrick Buisson, advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy at the time. The new scandal in the conservative UMP highlights the lack of morals during Sarkozy's term in office, the left-liberal daily Libération contends: "Of course Nicolas Sarkozy isn't responsible for Buisson's methods. It's easy for him to cast himself in the role of victim. But the former president won't be able to play the martyr for long. With the Buisson affair, his approach to power has once again been put in question. ... For five years, power was in the hands of a clan whose principal members are now caught up in a host of scandals. … As we wait for more information and possible legal action, Patrick Buission's attitude well illustrates the abuse of power based on cynicism and disdain for the rule of law." (05/03/2014)

To Vima Online - Greece

Gauck unites Greeks and Germans

German President Joachim Gauck arrived in Greece for a three-day state visit on Wednesday. On Friday he travels to the village of Ligiades in northern Greece, which was the site of a massacre by the German troops during World War II. The left-liberal online daily To Vima stresses the symbolism of this visit: "Today's German leadership openly acknowledges the crimes of the Nazi regime. The German president won't offer a solution to the question of Germany's war reparations. ... But his gesture will help to overcome the mistakes and prejudices of the two countries. Europe, we hope, will never again witness the terrors of National Socialism. The united Europe is based on the logic of cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Europe should be a home for all citizens, regardless of nationality, political orientation or the legacy of the past." (06/03/2014)

Cyprus Mail - Cyprus

Ankara and Athens both key for Cyprus solution

Several diplomatic initiatives for a solution to the Cyrpus problem have taken place in Greece and Turkey in recent days. While the Greek Cypriot mediator Andreas Mavroyiannis travelled to Ankara, the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Özersay visited Athens at the same time. A very positive development, the daily Cyprus Mail comments: "For decades Greek Cypriot politicians had been arguing that the key to a solution was in Ankara and now the representative of the Republic is conducting talks with the Turkish government. This was a historic and ground-breaking development which should not be underestimated because the direct involvement of Turkey and Greece changes the format of the talks. Whether the direct involvement of Ankara and Athens will prove a game-changer remains to be seen, but it has certainly raised expectations." (05/03/2014)


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Finanz und Wirtschaft - Switzerland

Use shale gas to get the better of Russia

The difficulties in defusing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine show how risky Europe's dependence on Russian gas is, the weekly paper Finanz und Wirtschaft comments, saying that Europe should "give immediate and serious signals that it has other options and is doing its best to make avail of them. Up to now the subject of shale gas has been tackled with little enthusiasm in most European states - it's high time here for an 'energy turnaround'. And who knows, perhaps soon nuclear power will start to look more attractive again. Then there's solar and wind power, but they don't have sufficient potential. ... The sooner Russia starts feeling the squeeze because its Western customers are getting their energy elsewhere, the better. Probably the only message the crude regime on Red Square will understand is dwindling accrual of foreign currency." (06/03/2014)

Verslo žinios - Lithuania

EU funding leads to carelessness

According to media reports, in many parts of Lithuania the price of tap water will increase substantially this spring and in some cases double. EU funding has been carelessly invested in modernising the water infrastructure without any thought being given to whether it will actually be needed in the future, the business paper Verslo žinios observes: "Emigration has depopulated the cities and the industrial sector's demand for resources is also decreasing. But once the infrastructure is in place it has to be maintained. Major investments were made in financing water management projects: more than 90 percent of the costs were covered with EU funding and out of state and local government budgets. The logic was that no one really has to pay for the EU funding, so the projects grew bigger and bigger. ... But the idea that you can get money for nothing is just an illusion." (06/03/2014)


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L'Avenir - Belgium

Better stuck in traffic than jobless

The Belgians spend more time in traffic jams than any other European population, according to a study put out on Tuesday by the traffic information service Inrix. Mobility and lifestyles are also key topics in the current elections in Belgium. But there can be no quick-fix solutions, the regional daily L'Avenir writes: "We Belgians have commuting in our blood, and a soft spot for owning our own home. This has historical roots and is linked to former policies that resolutely favoured home ownership and people's right to choose where they live. ... The few alternatives that exist to the car haven't eased the problem. If the motorways are packed at rush hour, so are the trains. And every new solution just seems to multiply the number of commuters. As far as traffic jams are concerned, we're just going round in circles. At least we can console ourselves with the idea that they are a sign of a prosperous economy. In countries with a high unemployment rate like Spain and Portugal, there are also fewer traffic jams." (05/03/2014)


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Voxpublica - Romania

No limit to corruption in Romanian football

A court in Bucharest on Tuesday sentenced eight Romanian football managers, among them former national player Gheorghe Popescu, to lengthy prison sentences for corruption. They were found guilty of withholding several million dollars obtained for international transfers of Romanian players from the state and the respective clubs. The story holds a mirror up to society, the journalist Mihai Gotiu writes on the blog portal Voxpublica: "In the first years after the fall of communism, many people suffered under the illusion that the collapse of the Ceauşescu regime would be enough for Romania to rise to world class. ... But fate took national football and society as a whole in a different direction: decline, disappointment, fabulous wealth created from nothing. ... Not only in Romania was football a reliable mirror of society. Unlike the corrupt politicians, football managers weren't subject to controls. ... Whereas the former, who were voted into office, had to rein in their macho behaviour, in football it was no holds barred." (06/03/2014)

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