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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 15/12/2014



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Climate conference ends with minimal consensus

Environmental organisations criticise the final document because among other things it doesn't prescribe emissions cuts by 2020. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


The states participating in the UN Climate Conference in Lima approved a framework for a new global warming deal on Sunday. It is to serve as the basis for negotiations leading up to the next conference in December 2015. Commentators complain that in the hottest year ever recorded this is a pathetic compromise and warn that climate protection doesn't begin at conferences, but at home.

Le Soir - Belgium

Climate protection starts in the community

Political agreements alone are of no use, it's people all over the world who must take action against climate change, the liberal daily Le Soir demands: "195 countries have paved the way in Lima for an ambitious agreement. After this preliminary exercise, the plan must now be brought to fruition. However the most important thing is perhaps not concluding this or that agreement but sensitising people to an issue that their livelihood and perhaps even their survival depend on. And these people can be found on the next street corner. In our governments, our cities and our communities, our associations and schools, in our everyday lives. Here we are in power. This is exactly where intelligence, courage and a sense of responsibility are called for." (15/12/2014)

El Mundo - Spain

World losing fight against global warming

Although the threat posed by climate change is increasingly obvious, the international community is not in a position to stop it, laments the conservative daily El Mundo: "With the warmest year ever recorded now about to end, and despite the warnings of up to 800 scientists that climate change will be irreversible without drastic cuts in emissions, the international political community remains incapable of agreeing on a common strategy to slow down global warming. The 20th UN Climate Conference, at which the representatives of 195 countries convened, ended yesterday morning with a disappointing minimal consensus. ... With such a generally formulated agreement it will be difficult to ensure that the next conference in Paris produces an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. ... This is not about causing a panic but about being sensible." (15/12/2014)

Die Presse - Austria

CO2 reduction shouldn't be European hobby

It's good that voluntary commitments were the main focus at the climate summit in Lima because for too long Europe has tried to impose binding targets on the rest of the world while more and more greenhouse gases are emitted, the conservative daily Die Presse believes: "Europe's one-man-show in climate protection is not only expensive but also ineffectual from a global point of view. The continent is responsible for just a tenth of the global emissions. And this is precisely where the conference in Lima represents a decisive step forwards: for the first time the biggest polluters, the US, China and India who together are responsible for more than half of all the global CO2 emissions, have promised reductions. ... This is a step in the right direction, above all for Europe. Climate protection can only be successful - and affordable - if it stops being just a hobby of the (for now) rich Europeans." (15/12/2014) - Germany

World Climate Summit needed despite setbacks

Despite all the criticism of the World Climate Summit this negotiation forum must not be abolished, the public newsportal warns: "That would be the dumbest thing one could do. Why is it that so many states are engaged in climate protection, that we so even talk about environmental damage and the concerns of those affected? That even the US and - very gradually - China are starting to act? The conferences are the platform, motor and showcase for climate protection. This is where sluggish countries must justify themselves. Where else? These conferences have turned a marginal scientific issue into a major topic in global politics. It's only for those who are caught up in it all that these meetings - with their delays and endless nights in the final phase - are hard to bear." (14/12/2014)


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Cumhuriyet - Turkey

Pity for arrested uncalled for in Turkey

Turkish law enforcement officers arrested dozens of journalists and government critics who are allegedly members of the Gülen movement on Sunday. They are accused of plotting to establish a parallel state. Mockery is just as misplaced as sympathy in reaction to these developments, the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet warns: "What happened to the movement yesterday understandably triggered the feeling 'you always pay for your misdeeds in the end' in many people. After all, the movement was once the protagonist of many political and legal measures aimed at consolidating the government's power. But we shouldn't forget that these operations were supported by the pro-Gülen media whose bosses have now been arrested. ... Therefore we should not praise these media as 'free media' and hail them as heroes of democracy. ... Nor is it acceptable to see the situation as funny and say 'if you dish it out, you have to be able to take it too'. ... Because that attitude doesn't lead to justice but revenge." (15/12/2014)

Blog Gianni Riotta - Italy

West must reach out to Ankara

The EU and the US have been quick to criticise the raids and arrests of journalists in Turkey but they should also make overtures to Ankara, Gianni Riotta writes in his blog: "All those who have long been setting up obstacles to Turkey's joining the EU will admit today how egoistic and short-sighted this strategy has proved. The danger of an anti-Western Turkey as the breeding ground for new unrest in the Middle East must be prevented. ... It would be wrong to slam the door in Turkey's face because that would give Erdoğan's propaganda the patriotic hue of a self-determined reaction against 'foreign powers'. Determination and diplomatic patience must be used to convince Erdoğan that the only way forwards is towards Europe, economic prosperity, and bolstering, not curtailing freedom." (15/12/2014)

Večer - Slovenia

Employee a pawn in Lux Leaks case

The Luxembourg public prosecutor's office is pressing charges against a former employee of consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers suspected of leaking documents about tax deals between Luxembourg and multinationals. This is once again diverting attention from the real problems, the conservative daily Večer comments: "As with Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, the bringer of bad news is being turned into a scapegoat instead of the reasons for the bad news being addressed. Luxembourg's former head of government and current EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker thus goes from being the perpetrator to being the investigator who uncovers the entanglement between politics and business to the detriment of the people. The capitalist system in which only growing profits count and the only ones to benefit are the rich is being preserved with the help of minor cosmetic adjustments, at least for a while to come. (15/12/2014)

The Times - United Kingdom

Torture legitimate in fight against terror

British MPs want access to the blacked-out passages in the US Senate's report on CIA torture practices in order to assess the involvement of the British intelligence service. The ill-treatment of terror suspects is justified if it prevents terror attacks, the conservative daily The Times writes: "The real moral issue, here, though, is whether such techniques can ever be justified even if they are effective. ... But sometimes it is a moral imperative to use limited ill-treatment if the purpose is to save innocent lives. If the alternatives are the prolonged sleep deprivation of a shackled and hooded detainee or a dirty bomb in the middle of Birmingham, which would you choose? It's like the distinction between murder and war. Killing is wrong - except in a just war, where it becomes essential in order to avoid the murder of the innocent." (14/12/2014)


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Avgi - Greece

Giannis Kibouropoulos on fears of the left gaining power

Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis warned on Monday that Greece may exit the EU if the leftist alliance Syriza comes into power. In the left-leaning daily Avgi columnist Giannis Kibouropoulos criticises the politicians' and markets' fear of a left-wing government: "The cynical 'rationalism' of the markets and the political elites can't dispel their almost metaphysical aversion towards all the left represents. ... At the heart of this fear is an irrational ideological hatred encased in a class-based dread that a government with leftist theories could create undesirable currents among the lower classes of an EU state. ... No matter how conciliatory and willing to compromise and negotiate the future government is, it won't manage to overcome the fierce enmity of the different blocks. The political wrecks in Athens, powerful Merkel and the wild beasts of the markets won't be assuaged. Perhaps for this reason it would be better to instil fear in them rather than try to calm them. Fear makes them angry, upsets them and ultimately makes them weaker." (14/12/2014)


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Äripäev - Estonia

Sloppy approach to Estonian-Finnish power cables

Estlink 2, the new interconnection between the Finnish and Estonian electricity markets, was constructed without a building permit, the business newspaper Äripäev has now uncovered. The newspaper is appalled that such a huge project built with the help of EU funding was carried out under such dubious circumstances: "The building permit was issued half a year after construction ended. This will amaze all those small companies that have to submit an application for installing every little pipe. A 170-kilometre connection between two countries was built without such a permit. The huge investments went off without a hitch. Major investors and lenders knew nothing of the missing permits - nor did they care. Estlink 2 in itself has been a successful international project, and hardly anyone doubts the need for it. ... But particularly for such a gigantic company, close attention should have been paid to its having the correct permits." (15/12/2014)

Kapital - Bulgaria

Uber the better alternative to taxis in Sofia

The online rideshare service Uber started operating in the Bulgarian capital Sofia last week. This won't make the passenger experience cheaper but it will make it cleaner and more pleasant than in most taxis, the weekly Kapital hopes: "In regulating taxi services the state is supposed to guarantee that passengers travel in a taxi that is in good condition technically and fulfils certain hygiene standards, and that the driver has the necessary driving experience and a proper certificate of good conduct. ... In practice however this doesn't always work. Uber guarantees the same without state intervention by carefully selecting its drivers, vouching for them with the brand and enabling passengers to review the service received. If for example an Uber driver smokes or makes phone calls during the journey, other Uber users will learn about it and won't book him again." (12/12/2014)


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Fakt - Poland

European Film Prize winner deserves Oscar

The black and white film Ida by Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski won in five categories at the European Film Awards in Riga on Saturday, including best film. The film tells the story of an orphan girl who learns of her Jewish origins shortly before becoming a nun. An Oscar candidate, film journalist Tim Gray writes in a commentary for the tabloid Fakt: "Because this movie is simply fantastically filmed and the actors' performances are excellent. In addition the topic is important, and the members of the US Film Academy tend to award such serious films. Moreover the film industry continues to be fascinated by stories that deal with World War II or the Holocaust. Of course it's not a film that will draw huge audiences in the US, where it will only be screened in a few cinemas and of course on the Internet. However the jury doesn't vote for the most popular movie, but for the best artwork." (15/12/2014)


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Die Tageszeitung taz - Germany

Peace movement seeks convenient bogeymen

Around 3,500 people demonstrated in front of the official residence of German President Joachim Gauck on Saturday, accusing Germany of pursuing a militarist policy. Both peace activists and supporters of the Vigils for Peace movement - which has repeatedly been accused of right-wing populism - took part in the protest. The two groups are united in their simplistic friend-foe mentality, the left-leaning daily taz writes: "Enlightened politics requires an ability to perceive and tolerate ambivalence. For example the fact that Putin is pursuing a Greater Russian policy in Ukraine on the one hand and that the West has shown too little consideration for Moscow's security interests on the other. At these winter peace demonstrations, by contrast, good and evil are clearly divided: US bad, Russia good. Basta. That's nothing more than the simplistic doctrine of an obsolete anti-imperialism. What fuels this movement is something pre-political: the desire for bogeymen." (15/12/2014)

Aftonbladet - Sweden

More rights for Europe's workers

At a summit between social democrats and unions at the Swedish union college of Bommersvik on the weekend, Sweden's head of government Stefan Löfven, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and the heads of the largest unions in the three countries met to discuss bolstering workers' rights in the three countries. The social democratic daily Aftonbladet sees a new path emerging for Europe: "The risk posed by the fact that a growing number of member states are seriously considering limiting freedom of movement is high. The alternative is to push ahead with political changes to EU regulations so working conditions for employees will improve in step with the freedoms granted to companies [free circulation of goods, capital and services]. ... Together with the unions, the social democratic parties [of the three participating countries] founded a working group to give content to their concerns. This work is important for European cooperation as a whole." (14/12/2014)

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