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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 25/03/2015

 

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Plane crash in southern France

The search and recovery operation is being coordinated in nearby Seyne-les-Alpes. All 150 passengers died in the crash. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

One day after the crash of a Germanwings Airbus A320 flying from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will travel today to the crash site in the French Alps. The press is shocked by the tragedy and sees Europe united in grief.

Corriere della Sera - Italy

European family united in grief

After the plane crash President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will meet at the site of the crash today, Wednesday, to pay their respects. Europe is united in its grief, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera comments: "A good family knows how to come together in times of grief. And the European family - threatened from outside by violent fanatics and disparaged from inside by irresponsible populists - is showing in these hours that it isn't just a hodgepodge construction but truly stands together. For one day we have forgotten the things that divide us. We have known how to focus on what holds us together. Like in January, after the Paris attacks. We learn from pain." (25/03/2015)

La Croix - France

Pay tribute, don't speculate

As long as the cause of the crash remains unclear the only thing to do is remember the victims, the Catholic daily La Croix writes: "If it did turn out that this tragedy was provoked by terrorists it would of course take on exceptional importance. But as we go to press there is still no proof of that. So the only thing to do is send out our thoughts to the victims. One spring day in Barcelona they boarded a plane to Düsseldorf. A banal trip like thousands of others every day. They came from Germany, Spain, and other countries. According to preliminary information two babies and 16 teenagers returning from a school exchange trip were on board. Since noon the lives of 150 families and their loved ones have been shattered forever. By an absurd accident in a corner of paradise." (24/03/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Plane crash shatters trust in flying

Is flying really safe? we ask ourselves automatically after every plane crash like the Germanwings one, the conservative daily Lidové noviny comments: "It is safe, the competent authorities and their statistics reply. And from a global perspective, they're right. In 1989 there were 35 tragic accidents; last year it was only eleven. … The average person compares planes with cars. The likelihood that you'll die in a car crash is 75 times higher than the likelihood of dying amidst the wreckage of a plane crash. So why are we less afraid to get into a car? Well, the numbers have a weakness. They don't take account of human psychology as it has evolved over tens of thousands of years of battling for survival. And that psychology tells us that in a car a human is more or less the master of his or her fate. Unlike in an airplane. That experience trumps all the statistics." (25/03/2015)

Savon Sanomat - Finland

Check safety of low-cost airlines

After the crash of Germanwings Airbus A320, the liberal daily Savon Sanomat hopes for a full explanation of the cause: "The flying conditions at the site of the crash were apparently perfectly normal. ... Did the plane have a technical or a structural problem? Was it a terrorist attack? Why was it flying at an abnormally low altitude, and why did it deviate from its usual flight route? ... If there was a problem it must be brought to light, because similar problems could occur with other Airbus A320s. ... In addition, the safety practices of low-cost airlines must be scrutinised. If cheap flights become unsafe, many customers will presumably be willing to pay more if that means increasing their chances of arriving safely at their destination." (25/03/2015)

POLITICS

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Taraf - Turkey

AKP will never make peace with Kurds

The jailed leader of the PKK Abdullah Öcalan appealed to his supporters to begin a new era of peace with Turkey on the Kurdish new year festival, Newroz, celebrated last Saturday. But the AKP government is not willing to find a solution to the conflict with the Kurds, the liberal daily Taraf complains: "With every Newroz the Kurdish side takes further steps towards peace, but since the truce the government, out of ignorance and incompetence and above all as a result of Erdoğans' election tactics, hasn't take any further steps. … It can't and it probably never will. By contrast in his last letter, as on previous occasions, Öcalan stresses vehemently that the Kurdish political movement is part of Turkey. … But they have no negotiating partner. Unlike the government the Kurdish movement has defined its policy and taken the initiative, but it takes two sides to turn dialogue into negotiations and a truce into lasting peace." (24/03/2015)

Financial Times - United Kingdom

Cameron scores own goal in election campaign

Speaking in an interview with the BBC on Monday, British head of government David Cameron ruled out the possibility of serving a third term as prime minister. That was a major blunder just six and a half weeks before he makes his bid to be elected for a second term, the conservative daily the Financial Times comments: "In most modern democracies, party leaders bidding for power strive to create an impression of boundless energy, something that can evaporate if they give the slightest intimation of their own political mortality. When Tony Blair made a similar announcement in 2004, ruling out a fourth term in his case, authority immediately drained from the then Labour leader." (24/03/2015)

De Morgen - Belgium

De Wever courting far-right voters

Bart de Wever, leader of the Flemish nationalist N-VA party and mayor of Antwerp, sparked a wave of indignation in a TV interview when he played down racism in Flanders as a peripheral phenomenon. The left-liberal daily De Morgen is not surprised at de Wever's comment "that the Flemish aren't really racist, but at most react in a racist way when impertinent North Africans blame their own failure on the supposed racism in society. ... Such statements have long been part of the message propagated by the N-VA in its public appearances. ... The party won the last elections by attracting voters of the [far-right] Vlaams Belang and Zwarte Zondag en masse. These groups have to be tossed a bone from time to time. Without coming across as too despicable, but still according to the motto: 'We' can't be accused of anything. Other people are to blame: the North Africans, the politicians who can't do their jobs, our political opponents." (25/03/2015)

REFLECTIONS

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Le Monde - France

Geoffroy de Lagasnerie on how not to fight terrorism

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Thursday presented a bill providing additional funds for fighting terrorism to the country's police and intelligence agencies. That's exactly the wrong move, philosopher and sociologist Geoffroy de Lagasnerie writes in the left-liberal daily Le Monde: "What we have here is a repressive conception of state action based on reacting to events by giving ever freer rein to the security forces. But how would it look if we responded to the terrorist threat with more social justice, more democracy and less violence? How would it look if we focussed state action on social structures and their transformation, that is to say the cause of the phenomena we seek to fight, and not their effect? These are the important questions that it is necessary to answer if we want to sketch out a different future. ... By taking the same steps as the United States, Manuel Valls has condemned us to repeating its mistakes rather than correcting real problems. In other words, to stagnating in the fear, danger and vulnerability that feed the cycle of violence." (24/03/2015)

ECONOMY

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De Volkskrant - Netherlands

Half the minimum wage for youths unfair

In the Netherlands young workers are protesting against a regulation under which the minimum wage for employees aged between 18 and 23 can be as much as 50 percent less than the generally applicable minimum wage. The protests are more than justified, the left-liberal daily De Volkskrant contends: "Employers are gratefully exploiting the minimum wage for youths. A trend of students and schoolchildren pushing 'adult' employees out of jobs has been under way for several years, and results from the lower minimum wage for youths. … The argument used by employers that without lower minimum wages unskilled employees would disappear from the job market is entirely unfounded. Who would stock the shelves in supermarkets or flip burgers if not them? … The wage gap between youths and adults is distorting the job market. You can't sell this kind of age-based discrimination to young employees any more." (25/03/2015)

SOCIETY

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Die Tageszeitung taz - Germany

Facebook lawsuit shows consumers' power

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) began hearing  a case brought against Facebook by Austrian law student Max Schrems on Tuesday. The court will examine whether the US company is obliged to observe EU data protection laws. For the left-leaning daily taz the case illustrates two things: "Firstly, consumers are by no means as powerless as is generally assumed. The current plaintiff before the ECJ, law student Max Schrems, started out in a small way, simply demanding that Facebook hand over the data it had on him - and he ended up getting 1,200 pages of data. … Secondly, if a single user can achieve so much, what are governments capable of? Legislators who don't duck away from supposedly all-powerful companies and the US government, but have the courage to take a clear stance for consumers and citizens and their rights? … [Yet] the German Federal Ministry of the Interior has blocked a German opinion on the Facebook case." (25/03/2015)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Campaign against Balkan immigrants nonsense

Young men from families that immigrated from the former Yugoslavia reportedly bullied fellow pupils at a school in eastern Switzerland. This violence must not be ignored, but the cliché of "Balkan machos" is unfounded, writes the daily Tages-Anzeiger: "Switzerland hasn't recruited the wrong foreigners, as right-wing nationalists claim. Rather it has aggravated the problem with a misguided migration policy. Still, the process of integrating people from the Balkans is advancing at a faster pace than the integration of Italians did 30 or 40 years ago. It's not just the construction companies, painters' businesses and restaurants founded, opened or managed by people from the Balkans that confirm this. It's also the growing number of young politicians, academics and skilled workmen. They are part of Switzerland. And they will stay here. There will always be setbacks in the integration process. But it's fatal to try and create fictional enemies." (25/03/2015)

The Press Project - Greece

National pomp unworthy of Syriza government

On March 25 each year the Greeks celebrate the anniversary of the rebellion against the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1821. This year a big party is planned after the military parade. The celebrations are entirely inappropriate under the circumstances, writes Iasonas Triantafyllidis on the portal of The Press Project: "A progressive government should abolish parades. This outdated ritual developed by authoritarian regimes is meaningless. … Especially in the year 2015. I wish there was someone with the sensitivity but also the courage to get rid of the parades - particularly since this government describes itself as progressive. Instead there will be partying and dancing outside parliament after the parade on March 25. … I had hoped I wouldn't have to witness this. Those with dignity are those who don't owe anyone anything and keep their word. Dancing, festivals and parades are pointless here." (24/03/2015)

NaTemat - Poland

Ban billboards in Poland

The city of Warsaw has ten times more billboards than the considerably larger city of Paris. To counter this trend the Sejm passed a law limiting outdoor advertising on Friday. But even that won't be enough, the liberal-conservative politician Paweł Pisorski writes on his blog for the portal naTemat with an eye to Luxembourg: "This is a step in the right direction because municipalities can charge maximum fines of 5,000 złoty [1,200 euros]. ... But in fact this fine would have to be ten - or even one hundred - times higher to be effective. In Luxembourg, by contrast, there are no large advertisements or billboards at all. The country is small but economically well-developed. The regulation was simply agreed to and everyone observes it. Wouldn't it be better to adopt this solution instead of creating a whole set of new laws?" (25/03/2015)

MEDIA

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Deutsche Welle - Romania

Journalists often worse than online mercenaries

The Internet commentators hired by the liberal-conservative Romanian party PMP were remunerated with bribe money paid to former minister Elena Udrea, according to corruption investigations against the close associate of former president Traian Băsescu. But such online mercenaries are no worse than dishonest journalists, the Romanian service of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle writes: "The task of the paid commentators was to give the illusion that they belonged to an overwhelming majority. They didn't present arguments, they just voiced fabricated opinions. All too often, however, that's exactly what the press does too. ... There are many examples of situations in which the media have deliberately mystified facts. And also as far as their verbal violence and their preaching tone go they are every bit the equal of paid commentators. So it would be hardly surprising if the commentators we criticise today see themselves as petty offenders compared to the white-collar hacks who intentionally lead readers astray." (25/03/2015)

LOCAL COLOURS

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Népszabadság - Hungary

Hungarians an unhappy lot

According to a Europe-wide study the Hungarians are among the most unhappy people in Europe. The left-liberal daily Népszabadság explains why its fellow countrymen are so aggrieved: "Our government is now going to pressure the ratings agencies that measure collective happiness. After all, it's just not on that our country's satisfaction ratings are at junk status. ... What is striking about other countries is that people don't spend all their time complaining about their state of mind. And they're less aggressive than we are. ... Furthermore women have more prominence in pubic life than they do here, and the state apparatus isn't as corrupt (apart from in Austria, but there at least the press dares to write about such things). What's more, they spend more money on education than on prestigious buildings. And - in Denmark for example - people don't spend their whole time moaning about why they're not happy enough." (24/03/2015)

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