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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 23/10/2014

 

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EU discusses climate and energy

According to a Commission proposal CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 40 percent by 2030. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

The EU's leaders are convening in Brussels to discuss EU climate policy up to 2013 today, Thursday. Some commentators hope the current uncertainties about Russian gas supplies will put Europe firmly on the path to an energy union. Others fear that weak compromises will once again prevent the establishment of uniform climate targets.

Financial Times - United Kingdom

Put energy union at the top of the agenda

The fear that Russia will turn off the gas tap over the Ukraine crisis underlines the need for Europe's political leaders to redouble their efforts to establish an energy union, the liberal business paper Financial Times writes: "Since 2008 Europe's agenda has been dominated by the eurozone crisis and the need for national leaders to respond urgently to potential financial meltdown and extinguish the blaze. Despite the conflict in Ukraine, the challenge of forging an energy union has not generated the same sense of urgency. Success in this matter is critical to Europe's economic future. European leaders should start to focus on this project with far more resolution and dynamism than they are currently demonstrating." (21/10/2014)

Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic

Connect national energy networks

The 28 member states of the EU have roughly 28 different positions on climate policy, the liberal business daily Hospodářské noviny complains, seeing only one way out of this chaos ahead of the EU climate summit: "Energy policy is the domain of the nation states. Some of them protect their national energy beacons, others fear that the new energies will be too costly and insecure. And there are others who argue that Russian gas is cheap. The post-communist countries, spearheaded by Poland, are concerned about their competitiveness. Perhaps it would be enough for now to take the proposal put forward by European Council president designate Donald Tusk seriously, which foresees the creation of an energy union that effectively connects the national networks with each other. It is estimated that the EU could save around 40 billion euros by 2030 with this solution. ... Perhaps the Ukrainian crisis and Russia's expansionist policy will push the EU to be more decisive about forming an energy union." (23/10/2014)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany

Climate policy pure chaos

In view of plans for a new nuclear power plant in Britain, Polish investments in coal and the continued importance of electricity from coal-fired plants in Germany, the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung holds out little hope for binding EU climate standards: "If the heads of state and government can agree this Friday on any sort of climate and energy package for the period up to 2030, it will depend only on deals that have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of climate protection. Spain will agree if cables are erected over the Pyrenees. Poland will sign if enough billions are pumped into the Solidarity Fund. And so on. At the end of the day a paper will come out with three goals, two of which will be non-binding for the 28 member states. But then tell me, if you please: just who will fulfil these goals?" (23/10/2014)

Rzeczpospolita - Poland

Kopacz must defend Poland's climate sins

The EU climate summit is decisive for Poland's development, the conservative daily Rzeczpospolita points out and calls on Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz to remain firm: "Over the next two days the future of the Polish coal-dependent energy sector will be decided. But more than that: the competitiveness of Poland's entire economy is at stake. If the political leaders confirm the ambitious CO2 emissions reduction targets for 2030 without making concessions to Poland and other Visegrad states, we face a drastic increase in energy prices. ... In the run-up to the summit there is already word from Brussels that an agreement is imminent that could be favourable for Poland. However if anything is missing, Kopacz must refuse to sign it. For example the rich EU countries must retain the option of passing on some of their emissions allowances to poorer states." (23/10/2014)

POLITICS

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Delo - Slovenia

New EU Commission bolsters small states

The EU Parliament on Wednesday gave the green light for the new European Commission, which will start work on December 1. Commission President Jean-Claude has organised his team in a way that will make it easier for the smaller member states to keep an eye on the bigger ones, the left-liberal daily Delo writes approvingly: "Juncker has restructured the Commission in a clever way. Using his political experience he has made it easier for the vice presidents, who mostly come from the smaller countries, to withstand pressure from the bigger ones. At least formally, they will have more say. For that reason it's all the more regrettable that Slovenia's politicians weren't able to recognise the value of what the long-time leader of one of the smallest member states was willing to offer them. Juncker has repeatedly stressed that for him there are no big or small countries, and that all member states are equal." (23/10/2014)

Berlingske - Denmark

Don't leave London alone with benefits tourists

British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to present a plan for slowing down the immigration of citizens from other EU states to Britain by Christmas. The liberal-conservative daily Berlingske calls for solidarity with the British: "The EU's heads of state and government must ensure that it is possible to introduce principles of merit so that people can't receive child benefits and other social benefits right from the first day in the country. ... In Denmark, a large section of the population has the same reservations as the British regarding the EU, even though so far the social expenditure on employees from other EU countries has not risen to such levels here. Notwithstanding, a quarter of the voters in the European elections cast their ballots for the [right-wing populist] Danish People's Party. It's time to take these objections seriously." (23/10/2014)

The Irish Independent - Ireland

Sinn Féin should drop its boss

A woman from Belfast who was raped by a member of the IRA in 1997 has accused Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams of being involved in hushing up the affair back then. Adams denies the allegations, but the conservative daily Irish Independent still thinks he should resign: "Certainly, if he was an Irish bishop there would be a national outcry demanding his resignation, indeed his colleague Martin McGuinness was to the forefront of demanding such resignations after the Murphy Report [on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church]. We all know Sinn Fein is different, but there is no doubt where the right thing to do lies in this matter. Those who surround and support him now should no longer act as a shield, they should tell him he failed a vulnerable young woman and such behaviour is unacceptable." (22/10/2014)

Criticatac - Romania

Romania's Social Democrats mostly conservative

Ten days before the presidential elections in Romania the country's social democratic Prime Minister Victor Ponta has a substantial lead against the other 13 presidential candidates with around 41 percent in the polls. But the Social Democrat Ponta has conservative leanings, journalist Vasile Ernu comments on the leftist blog criticatac: "The first thing you notice about Victor Ponta's election programme is that it puts the emphasis on key elements on which the traditional and less traditional left never insisted: the new 'holy trinity' of the Romanian left is the Church, the nation and the family, watched over by capital and a pro-business spirit. ... Whereas Christian-democratic social policy is based on compassion and charity, the leftist social policy is based on the imperative of social justice and equality. But concepts like social justice or social rights are almost entirely lacking in Victor Ponta's programme." (23/10/2014)

ECONOMY

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Slate - France

France can't hope for mercy on its deficit

France is the only country in the Eurozone whose budget plan for 2015 foresees new debts of more than three percent of GDP. By yet again failing to meet the EU budget deficit requirements, Paris cannot be sure that the EU Commission will give the budget its blessing, the online magazine Slate warns: "France stands every chance of passing its budget policy test in Brussels - provided it takes the matter seriously and doesn't take the lenience of the Commission and the other member states for granted. It's true that the economic situation is delicate, and that the ECB's very relaxed monetary policy is not sufficient to guarantee growth. But make no mistake: the Socialist Party is a little too inclined to think that everyone is on our side, including the IMF and the OECD, and that France will be defended if it fails to adopt an all-too rigorous policy. But this interpretation is wrong." (22/10/2014)

Heti Válasz - Hungary

Hungary's Internet tax will hurt users

Hungary's right-wing conservative government has announced plans to introduce an Internet tax in 2015. According to agency reports Internet providers will be made to pay just under 50 cents per gigabyte of called up data. The providers will only pass the bill on to Internet users, the conservative weekly Heti Válasz fears: "Minister for Economic Affairs Mihály Varga tried to reassure Internet users that the providers won't saddle them with the tax, but no one believes him. And that's understandable given that the banks passed the additional costs on to their customers after the bank tax was introduced. ... On top of that the Internet providers will refrain from modernising the Hungarian Internet structure. ... So the governing party Fidesz, which railed against the Internet tax from the opposition in 2008, should abandon the idea as quickly as possible." (22/10/2014)

Der Standard - Austria

Annoying strikes by Germany's "elite workers"

The German train drivers and the Lufthansa pilots have again disrupted transport with strikes in recent days. The obstinacy of these groups is annoying, the left-liberal daily Der Standard writes: "Both consider themselves the elites in enterprises whose success depends not on them alone, but on many others - for example flight attendants and railway staff. But solidarity doesn't count for much. The pilots just want all they can get: costs can be cut elsewhere as far as they're concerned. And the unionised train drivers are striking mainly because they have a bone to pick with other railway employees [the train drivers' union wants to represent other occupational groups]. Of course that doesn't exactly make them everybody's darling, but since they and the pilots have barely any contact with the public, they couldn't care less. The only way out is for politicians to take the step that's been lacking in both trade disputes so far and call in arbitrators." (23/10/2014)

Karjalainen - Finland

Climate of fear paralyses economies

Current developments such as the Ebola epidemic, rising unemployment and climate change have created an atmosphere of fear that is crippling consumers and producers alike, the liberal daily Karjalainen complains: "The worst consequence of the fear is the fading away of entrepreneurial spirit. Even those with a secure job no longer make avail of the services or shopping facilities in their environment. Even necessary purchases are put off if consumers believe the product will be cheaper the next day. Entrepreneurs sense that customers are staying away, and throw in the towel. ... The climate of fear doesn't wall people in, but it does put up a wall in their heads that blocks all their activities and decisions. ... So the most productive thing we can do in looking to the future is to overcome our fears." (23/10/2014)

ABC - Spain

Madrid must end communities' wastefulness

According to figures published by the Fedea economic research foundation on Tuesday, most of Spain's autonomous communities will exceed the prescribed deficit limits for 2014. The government in Madrid must toughen its stance, the conservative and centralist daily ABC demands: "The Finance Ministry must put an end to the communities' wasteful spending in order to adhere to the established deficit reduction goals. ... Moreover, despite the adjustments already made there are still many superfluous institutions and organisations whose dismantlement would save the taxpayer a lot of money without curtailing public services. Thanks to the legislation on budget stability the Finance Ministry has all the instruments it needs to put the accounts of the communities in order and bring the most unruly communities into line. All that is needed now is the political will to put an end to the communities' wasteful habits." (23/10/2014)

SOCIETY

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Avvenire - Italy

Protect teenagers from IS's online propaganda

German police took three underage girls from the US into protective custody on Saturday at Frankfurt airport. The girls reportedly wanted to join the terrorist Islamic State in Syria. Given the growing number of Western youths seduced by IS propaganda, action must be taken to fight the terrorist group on the Internet too, the Catholic daily Avvenire demands. "With its strategically organised 'victor' propaganda the IS is presenting a tempting and extremely accessible package on the social networks. The cheap flights and financial possibilities of the baby jihadists (mostly second-generation immigrants from well-off families) do the rest. ... The West must act in unison against this. If the IS does half of its 'work' online, we must banish it from the web. This is a form of ethnic censorship that has already borne fruit with the blocking of videos posted by the jihadists." (23/10/2014)

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

Alcohol bans don't make Tallinn any more sober

The city of Tallinn plans to extend its ban on alcohol and now wants to prohibit alcohol sales on Sundays. The liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht doubts the effectiveness of such bans: "There's no question that drinking and the availability of alcohol are big problems in Estonia. But these plans are reminiscent of the unrealistic teetotalling dreams of the past. ... The sale of alcohol is to be banned on Sundays and within 300 metres of daycare facilities. And a mandatory closing time for restaurants is to be introduced from midnight on Sundays. ... To support these arguments reports have been spread about how young people have somehow managed to purchase alcohol. ... How about starting off by applying the laws that are already in force? Alcohol isn't banned completely in our country, and the countries that do prohibit it don't exactly stand out for their good drinking cultures. By contrast, the traditional wine-drinking countries don't have either binge-drinking problems or bans." (23/10/2014)

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