Please note:
You are in the euro|topics archive. For current articles from the European press review, please go to

Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 17/03/2015



  » open

Change of government a possibility in Israel

Both Herzog's alliance and that of Netanyahu would need a coalition partner. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


Israelis go to the polls today, Tuesday, to elect a new parliament. Opinion polls put the centre-left alliance under Isaac Herzog ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party. Some commentators see Netanyahu under pressure because he has failed in foreign policy. Others point out that Netanyahu has little grasp of the people's day-to-day concerns.

The Times - United Kingdom

Israel deserves new leadership

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed in foreign policy and should be voted out, the conservative daily The Times believes: "Negotiations now appear uncomfortably deadlocked. That is not Mr Netanyahu's fault alone, but his election campaign has focused on foreign policy and his record hardly merits unreserved support. His recent visit to Washington, invited not by the White House but by the Republican Speaker of the House, was emblematic of his flawed approach. There is no sense in making support for the Jewish state a party issue, rather than a bipartisan cause. ... Mr Netanyahu's record in office has been undistinguished. Israel, a beacon of democratic values in a dangerous region, deserves new leadership." (16/03/2015)

Hospodárske noviny - Slovakia

Netanyahu perhaps replaceable after all

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the coalition in December he had no problems with the idea of new elections because he was sure he was irreplaceable, the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny recalls:"The Israelis thought that no one was as experienced and able to stand up to Iran, the IS, Hamas and Hezbollah. But then Netanyahu's certainty that he was unbeatable began to annoy the Israelis. ... A large number of people are beset by economic worries, and suffer above all from high rents. Many have the impression that Netanyahu has no understanding for such problems. In addition the left has been able to sow doubt that only Netanyahu could protect Israel from foreign threats. His arrogance has brought relations with Europe - and above all to the US - to a standstill. ... According to the last opinion polls Likud is in for a beating. Of course, it's not over till it's over. But in any case Netanyahu's position seems badly shaken." (17/03/2015)

Público - Portugal

Security not at all the top priority

Netanyahu's challengers have good prospects of success because they seem to care more about the concerns and needs of the people, writes the liberal daily Público: "Netanyahu is trying to secure a fourth term by emphasizing the threat posed by Iran and Islamist groups. ... His rivals Tzipi Livni of the liberal Hatnua party and Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union are focussing on social issues. A poll by The Guardian recently showed that more than 50 percent see the cost of living as the top priority over security. ... And also as far as the omnipresent Palestine question is concerned, Livni and Herzog are gaining ground. Both see the resumption of direct dialogue with the Palestinians as a chance - contrary to Netanyahu, who has once again ruled out a two-state solution with an unequivocal 'no'." (16/03/2015)

Svenska Dagbladet - Sweden

Arab Joint List a force to be reckoned with

The fact that the Joint (Arab) List is also taking part in the Israeli elections and may actually be able to influence the formation of government is remarkable, the conservative daily Svenska Dagbladet concludes: "Four very different parties - communists, anti-Zionists, Arab nationalists and the Islamic Movement - have joined forces to overcome the 3.25 percent hurdle for entering parliament. Together these parties have turned into a genuine power factor. In practice it may be difficult to see how such a compromise can work, but at least in theory the MPs of the Joint List could actually become kingmakers once the votes are counted. That's fantastic." (17/03/2015)


  » open
La Croix - France

Negotiations with Assad unavoidable

After the allies' annoyed reaction to the statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry on negotiations with Bashar al-Assad, Washington explained on Monday how they are to be understood: while direct talks with the Syrian president are not intended, the powers that be in Damascus must be included in the peace process. But there's no getting around negotiations with Assad, the Catholic daily La Croix believes: "France, Britain and Turkey immediately denounced this position. ...  They argue that discussions with Assad would be immoral since he can't be treated like an ally or a normal dialogue partner. But according to the UN, the search for peace is a higher moral objective in that it could put an end to the suffering of millions of refugees and the biggest humanitarian disaster since the Second World War. France's neither-nor - neither the IS nor Assad - is increasingly unrealistic, and hence unethical." (16/03/2015)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany

Russia apparently preparing major war

In the documentary Crimea: the Road to the Motherland, which was aired on state television in Russia on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that he had been ready to defend Crimea with nuclear weapons if necessary. His true strategy is now clear, the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung believes: "The film shows Putin in a new role, one in which the Russian public has not yet seen him: Putin as supreme commander, coordinating a major military operation on land, water and in the air while outfoxing all opponents. Added to that is his statement that he also considered making the country's nuclear arsenal combat-ready to defend Crimea if necessary. To summarise: the major threat purportedly came from radicals on the extreme right who had it in for the Russians on Crimea. According to Putin, that led to him cocking Russia's nuclear arsenal. That may be just rhetoric. But it fits in with the image of a country getting ready for all-out war." (17/03/2015)

Helsingin Sanomat - Finland

Even Putin can't rule forever

After ten days, Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared in public for the first time on Monday. His absence made clear to the world that he will not rule Russia forever, the liberal daily Helsingin Sanomat believes: "In recent days the Russians and the rest of the world have realised that power in the Kremlin will one day pass into other hands. How that will happen remains unclear. In any case, the real power struggle is not taking place at the polling stations. ... Although the people feel the economic problems in their daily lives, they have no way of voicing their dissatisfaction. ... All it took was a few days during which Putin didn't appear in public, and already the image of a unified, stable power apparatus has cracked. No doubt all the speculation was often exaggerated, nevertheless it's shown how quickly the situation could change if ever a power vacuum emerges in the Kremlin." (17/03/2015)

Capital - Greece

Tsipras gets a last chance with Merkel

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next Monday in Berlin. This will be his last chance to reach a negotiated solution in the debt dispute, the liberal business portal Capital predicts: "The chancellor's proposal to Tsipras will probably boil down to: "Take it or leave it! And that's it. There will be no more scope for negotiations, even if this may be harsh. Tsipras must be prepared for a final discussion when he goes to Berlin. ... This great opportunity must not be wasted, because we won't get any more. A solution must be found because there is no alternative, never mind a Plan B. The choice is between Europe or marginalisation." (17/03/2015)

La Stampa - Italy

Don't leave Berlin alone with Europe's problems

Germany will continue to push for a just and peaceful world order in its leading role, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed last week in an opinion piece in the New York Times. But that doesn't release Italy and other countries from their duties in this area, the liberal daily La Stampa warns: "If Germany assumes the role of Europe's leading player in foreign policy, the dangers of a geopolitical rupture along the EU's north-south axis may be seriously overlooked: namely an economic danger (a Grexit) and a defence policy danger (Syria, Libya). Italy should play a key role in solving the problems in the Mediterranean. As long as a genuine common foreign policy and an EU army are lacking, all that counts are the united forces of the individual states. ... Italy too must take a direct interest in joining forces with others to bring the great crisis on Europe's southern front under control." (17/03/2015)


  » open
Večernji list - Croatia

States want arms deals rather than peace

The global trade in arms has grown 16 percent in the last five years, a report published by the international peace research institute Sipri on Monday shows. Who wants peace agreements when weapons are selling so well, the conservative daily Vecernji List observes: "Boko Haram buys weapons from the US, Germany and Israel among others, which is completely absurd. Israel, which ranks sixth on the list of arms exporters, advertises its weapons by stressing that they have been tested in real-life conditions (on the Palestinians). It will refuse to sign any peace agreement with the Palestinians for a long time yet simply because the arms industry is so lucrative. ... And there is evidence that the war in eastern Ukraine is being used by the Russians to test their newest generation of weapons in real-life conditions. ... Blood is being turned into big profit." (17/03/2015)

Blog David McWilliams - Ireland

Ireland should follow Greece out of Eurozone

With growth at 4.8 percent last year the Irish economy expanded at a faster pace than any other economy in the EU according to the latest data. But this has nothing to do with the country's membership of the Eurozone, economist David McWilliams writes in his blog, arguing that on the contrary EU membership has done Ireland more harm than good: "In fact, our 15 years' experience with the euro have been 15 years of massive economic instability. It has been a chaotic period of seven years of unsustainable boom, followed by a year of meltdown and then seven more years of recession, unemployment, emigration and public service cutbacks. The only reason the economy is growing strongly now is because England and America - our major trading partners - are growing strongly. ... If the Greek crisis caused a break-up, we should be first out the door." (16/03/2015)

La Tribune de Genève - Switzerland

Swiss will beg to join the euro

The Swiss export bureau Global Enterprise has put out a list of five tips for Swiss small and medium-sized businesses on how to export despite the strong franc. Instead of lamenting the decision to unpeg the franc from the euro, Swiss entrepreneurs should campaign to join the Eurozone, the liberal-conservative daily Tribune de Genève believes: "Defending a pegged exchange rate while wanting to remain permanently independent - rather than just adopting our partner's currency - is simply repeating on the currency level what we did on the political level, namely using bilateral agreements to reproduce everything that joining Europe would bring with it. Join? Never! those who still make up the majority call out. But when people start feeling the true cost of this in their purses such resistance will become a thing of the past." (16/03/2015)


  » open
Information - Denmark

Cyclone Pam a foreseeable disaster

Cyclone Pam, which destroyed much of the island state of Vanuatu on Friday, had been on the cards for some time, the left-leaning daily Information comments: "It will never be conclusively proven that the destructive Cyclone Pam was the result of man-made climate change. Nevertheless Pam fits in with the predictions of a climate model that foresees increasingly violent storms and extreme weather phenomena as temperatures rise. ... What happened in Vanuatu cannot have taken anyone by surprise. For 25 years the island states have been calling for help and concrete action, but the big CO2 emitters just shrugged and said 'Sorry, no money and no time'. Now they're sending in disaster experts, relief teams, tents, medication - and money. For one whole hour they demonstrate their humanity and sense of responsibility." (17/03/2015)

Adevârul - Romania

No pity for Romania's corrupt politicians

After the most recent arrests of Romanian politicians on corruption charges, their supporters are trying to cast doubts on their guilt. Liviu Iolu recommends a simple remedy on his blog with the daily Adevărul: "Tear your eyes away from the screen and take a look at the country. You'll see that behind every dilapidated street, every run-down factory, every shabby city, every portion of spoiled milk the state serves to our schoolchildren there is a theft and a thief. ... Remember that all of this is happening because of a fraudulent call for bids and a corrupt politician. If you don't get a hospital bed, remember that it was stolen by the corrupt personality whom you pity at prime time at the bidding of a journalist whose palm has been greased. I refuse to feel pity for any of these thieves, because they've robbed us of our land, our future, our lives." (17/03/2015)


  » open
24 Chasa - Bulgaria

Despair in Bulgarian bread sections

Nine out of ten customers at a supermarket in Sofia take fresh bread rolls from a self-service counter with their bare hands, author Elin Rahnev observes in the daily newspaper 24 Chasa, seeing this as a metaphor for the state of Bulgarian society: "A woman reaches into the bread container, presses five or six bread rolls with her bare fingers and then continues her shopping. They mustn't have been warm enough for her. ... Sniffing and coughing, a man bends over the croissants and I think of all the poor people who will come after him and all the diseases they could catch. I observe the situation as if rooted to the spot. Of ten people only one young girl takes the tongs, and I think to myself: that's a terrible result. ... If this is the way we behave we'll keep treading water eternally and moaning about how bad things are in Bulgaria, how the state is good for nothing and so on. But we are the state, and as long as we rummage around in the bread basket with our dirty fingernails without any consideration for others, we can't expect anything from the state." (16/03/2015)

Other content