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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 10/09/2014



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MH17: The Netherlands presents its report

Flight MH17 was "pierced by high-energy objects" while in the air, according to the report. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


A Dutch commission on Tuesday presented its preliminary report on the crash of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. While refraining from naming a definite cause, the investigators suggest the plane was shot down. Commentators explain the report's diplomatic tone with the desire not to jeopardise the fragile ceasefire, but are convinced that the separatists - and their backers in Moscow - are to blame.

Der Tagesspiegel - Germany

A report from between the fronts

In view of the many questions that the Dutch investigators' document leaves unanswered the term "preliminary report" takes on a whole new meaning, the liberal-conservative daily Der Tagespiegel comments: "It's also a preliminary mapping out of the zone between the fronts, perhaps written more diplomatically than would normally be the case, so as not to jeopardise what both sides are calling a 'ceasefire'. Despite the fact that this truce has not been properly observed, it's still the best news we've had from the region for some time. With this in mind, now is really not the time for tougher language - and even less so for pointing fingers. Unless, that is, we have irrefutable proof. But this will have to be found sooner or later, and both sides must do all they can to uncover it." (10/09/2014)

Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland

Report leaves no doubt about plane's downing

The preliminary report makes no mention of missiles but it leaves no doubts about the cause of the crash, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino comments: "The Dutch Safety Board has toned down the content of its official explanation with diplomacy. Yet it contains explosive material. Because there can be no doubt about the true meaning of the carefully chosen words. They use different expressions to say the same thing all technical experts call the 'signature of missiles' during investigations. ... But diplomacy requires that the sensitive issue of the exact nature of the 'flying objects' be handled with kid gloves. Only further metallographic laboratory tests by independent experts will clarify this question." (10/09/2014)

Pravda - Slovakia

Peace more likely than truth coming to light

Although the preliminary report gives many indications of what happened on the day of the plane crash it will be virtually impossible to clarify the real cause, the left-leaning daily Pravda writes: "First of all, the Ukrainian army had no reason whatsoever to use anti-aircraft missiles simply because the rebels don't have any aircraft. Secondly, reports about the separatists downing Ukrainian fighter jets or transport aircraft were already common at the time when flight MH17 was shot down. In fact the separatists were always the first ones to brag about such acts. The third option is the most sensitive. Most people are ready to believe that the downing of the plane was a tragic mistake. But if it turned out that Russian officers used the Buk system, there could be no more talk of that. It would prove that Putin is lying. ... For now, however, there is even less hope of a definitive explanation than of peace in Ukraine." (10/09/2014)

Mladá fronta dnes - Czech Republic

Only a confession would be conclusive proof

The preliminary report on the plane crash leaves the question of who caused it unanswered, the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes complains: "Everything points to the Malaysian plane having been shot down by separatists equipped with the modern Buk system from the Russian army's supplies. But conclusive evidence is lacking - for example a confession. That's not to be expected from the separatists or their bosses in the Kremlin anyway. Their actions have been built on lies right from the start. For example the lie Putin himself spread, according to which the disciplined soldiers armed with modern weapons but without insignia in Crimea were not Russian paratroopers. ... Immediately after the plane was shot down, leading separatists told the AP agency that it had been brought down by a team of rebels and Russian specialists who thought it was a Ukrainian military aircraft. ... Let anyone who doubts this go on doing so. They're clearly beyond help." (10/09/2014)


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Polityka Online - Poland

Tusk: era of a great leader draws to a close

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk handed in his resignation on Tuesday, as he will take take office as EU Council President on December 1. The left-liberal news portal Polityka Online praises Tusk as a great prime minister who cleared many hurdles in his seven years in office: "This marks the end of an era. That of the great party leader who hasn't lost a vote since 2007. He ruled the country at a time when events of historic proportions rocked our country. These include the global financial crisis from which Poland emerged as the only country that did not suffer a recession. And they also include the Smolensk disaster, which not only claimed the lives of many members of our political elite but also posed huge challenges in terms of constitutional law. Then there were two major floods, and now the situation to the east, about which no one knows where it is heading or when it will end." (10/09/2014)

Radikal - Turkey

Turkey only taking symbolic action against IS

The US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, met the Turkish government to discuss a joint approach against the IS terrorist militia on Monday. Turkey will stay in the background as far as the alliance against the IS is concerned, the liberal online paper Radikal believes: "The reason for this is the religious motivation to be observed in the ruling party's Middle East policy recently. Despite the AKP government's constant denials, its religious policy has helped groups like the IS gain strength - whether this was intentional or not. Now our country must pay the price. ... Now not only 49 innocent Turkish citizens but also our internal security and our foreign policy are being held hostage. This is why the government has explained that Turkey's participation in the alliance currently under formation will only be 'symbolic'. But if the government continues to remain aloof from a Nato alliance and regional attacks in order to protect the hostages, we will see more Turkish citizens being taken hostage." (10/09/2014)

Expressen - Sweden

Swedish election a nail biter to the end

Just a few days before the Swedish parliamentary elections on Sunday, the red-green opposition alliance, which for months had been sure of its victory, has seen its ratings plunge in the latest polls. The liberal tabloid Expressen attributes this swing to the fact that the goals of the potential social democratic government still remain unclear: "Many citizens must have started to have doubts. [Party leader] Stefan Löfven heads a historically weak Social Democratic Party. ... What would be the result when the Social Democrats have concluded their negotiations with the Greens and the Left Party? Will taxes go up and the free choice of school be scrapped? Will having a job no longer be worthwhile? A growing number of middle-class voters are clearly afraid of the answers to these questions. Just a few more strokes to go before the election campaign ends, and the red-green alliance still leads by 6.3 percent. But the race will go on right until the edge of the pool is reached." (10/09/2014)

Le Soir - Belgium

Scotland will give Flemish populists a boost

If Scotland does opt for independence from the UK on September 18 it could put wind in the sails of the right-wing populist N-VA, which wants to make Flanders an independent state, the liberal daily Le Soir fears: "Regardless of the outcome, it will have an impact on the Flemish and the Walloons. Certainly, a 'yes' would reinforce the conviction of the N-VA's leaders and the hardliners that independence is no longer a pipe dream but a real option that is drawing closer. It's interesting to observe how countries facing the threat of implosion always try to avoid that fate with the same strategy: Cameron, too, put all his eggs in one basket and promised additional powers - notably fiscal powers - if Scotland remained in the UK. ... More or less the same thing as the transfer of powers agreed on by [Belgian prime minister] Di Rupo and his Walloon allies to calm Flanders and take the wind from the N-VA's sails." (10/09/2014)

The Irish Times - Ireland

Irish should encourage Scots to go it alone

So far the Irish government has avoided taking sides regarding Scotland's independence. Ireland left the United Kingdom in 1922. But despite it's not wanting to jeopardise its relations with London, Dublin should support an independent Scotland, the left-liberal daily The Irish Times believes: "Dublin should be prepared at least to say, based on our experience - not least 50 years of currency union with the UK [from 1928 to 1979] - that independence can indeed be good for Scotland. We should applaud enthusiastically the reach of the extraordinary debate that has touched every corner of the country, and support an independent Scotland's right to be part of the EU. To that end we can promise to work to forge the same political will among EU states that enabled German reunification against countless technical and political objections." (09/09/2014)


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Libération - France

Emma Bonino on Europe's need for a Mediterranean Commissioner

In view of the crisis in the Middle East the EU must establish a stronger presence in the Mediterranean Region by creating a new EU post, former Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino writes in the left-liberal daily Libération: "In spite of the situation in Ukraine, the EU should shift its attention to its southern border of the Mediterranean. And we need a radically new approach in the region. We must bolster and support those countries that are trying to save themselves: Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon. Europe should also resume Turkey's accession process. A new approach can only be pursued through courageous choices, resolution, and perseverance. Europe needs a figure to be accountable for the Mediterranean. The new commissioner must have a regional vision but a mandate flexible enough to draw up policies appropriate to different countries. In Egypt as well as in Iran and elsewhere, Europe rather than Saudi Arabia is the point of reference for civil society." (10/09/2014)


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Dienas Bizness - Latvia

Latvia still anxious over vegetable embargo

One month after the introduction of the Russian import ban on European fruit and vegetables, Latvian farmers are doing better than expected but they're not out of the woods yet, the business paper Dienas bizness writes: "As it turns out, Latvia hasn't been flooded by cheap Polish vegetables. However the overall situation is uncomfortable, and we must brace ourselves for future losses. Hopefully only in the short term. Not surprisingly, the countries that were supposed to serve as alternative food sources after the first EU sanctions weren't able to fill Russia's empty shelves. September isn't exactly the best time for embargoes. No one had any idea at the start of the year that Russia would switch to new partners for agricultural products right when the harvest would start. All the Latvians can do is set their sights on the Belarusian market in the hope that at least some of their products can enter Russia through this indirect route." (09/09/2014)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Put an end to Germany's austerity fetish

The European Commission has now joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in urging Germany to invest more in stimulus measures. If the admonishments of the IMF and Brussels fail to elicit a response, at least the decay of Germany's infrastructure should persuade Berlin to revise its course, the liberal business paper Il Sole 24 Ore hopes: "When at the end of 2012 the authorities in Cologne were forced to close down a motorway bridge due to worrying cracks in one of the supporting pillars, the country that likes to brag about its motorway network was disconcerted. ... Germany's infrastructure, and above all its transportation network, have deteriorated for at least two decades because of inadequate maintenance. Maintenance measures have suffered because of what many in Germany now refer to as the 'balanced budget fetish'. But the government doesn't seem to be taking any notice. As the budget debate for 2015 was launched yesterday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble once again stressed the goal of balancing the budget." (10/09/2014)

Jutarnji list - Croatia

Croatia's economy doesn't need "Yugosphere"

Croatia's exports to EU states have increased by 19.8 percent in the first six months of 2014, the Croatian Statistics Office reported on Tuesday. This means that a year after the country's EU accession the Eurosceptics' fears have not been confirmed, the liberal daily Jutarnji List notes with satisfaction: "Already in the first year we can see how useful EU membership is for our economy. As long as Croatia is in the EU but Serbia and Bosnia aren't there is no [economic] 'Yugosphere' and nor can there be. ... When we joined the EU there were urgent warnings that exports would decrease because our access to the CEFTA [Central European Free Trade Agreement between several western Balkan states and the Republic of Moldova] market would be hindered. These unfounded warnings have not been confirmed, and only testify to the fact that some people are unable to distinguish between what is important and what is unimportant, giving higher priority to the CEFTA than the European Union." (10/09/2014)


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Cink - Hungary

Hungary mistreating its school beginners

The right-wing conservative government's educational reform has been under constant attack since the beginning of the school term on September 1 in Hungary. Journalist and father Lászlo Szily accuses the authors of the reform of making inhumane demands of school beginners: "The true scandal is that the poor little first-year pupils are being subjected to seven-hour school days, and on some days they don't even have time to eat lunch. I went to yet another parents' evening and now I'm a nervous wreck. ... If there was an international tribunal for children in The Hague, the authors of the Hungarian educational reform would now be in handcuffs and chains, awaiting their deserved sentences. But in our autocratic system, which ignores any rational criticism, such inhumane madness has free rein." (09/09/2014)

Berlingske - Denmark

Sweden's asylum policy a threat to Denmark

Sweden plans to take in up to 340,000 asylum-seekers in the next four years. The concerns of politicians in neighbouring Denmark about the impact of this asylum policy on their own country are shared by the conservative daily Berlingske: "The Nordic Passport Union entitles the citizens of the Nordic countries to move about freely and settle in all northern Europe. So Sweden's liberal policy could mean that we have no idea who takes up residence here in Denmark. This is a problem in view of the fact that Sweden has decided to automatically give all Syrian asylum-seekers a residence permit. ... It would be odd if among the Syrian asylum-seekers there weren't any young men who set out to fight in Allah's name [from the north]. ... The Swedes should be ready to explain their ideas about how to maintain the Passport Union in future." (10/09/2014)

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