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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 26/03/2015

 

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Athens polishes up its reforms

The reforms presented so far have failed to convince the Euro Group. Tsipras must now make improvements to receive additional aid. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

After his visit to Berlin, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plans to present the Euro Group with an updated reform plan by Monday at the latest. Tsipras must convince Greeks that reforms are long overdue, some commentators write. Others fear that by giving in on the debt issue he will push voters into the arms of the far-right parties.

Proto Thema - Greece

Success at home strengthens Tsipras abroad

Domestic successes will give Tsipras more self-confidence in his dealings abroad, the liberal weekly paper Proto Thema believes: "The decisive factor now is how the government deals with undeclared income, the long list [of tax dodgers] and the billions of euros in foreign depots - in a word, how it plans to establish tax equity. ... Of course, also important is how it plans to improve people's lives, for example through the restructuring of public administration. ... The key issue now is whether the new government can maintain its moral advantage over all previous governments while in power. ... But in any case, the stronger it is at home, the more it can hope to achieve abroad." (25/03/2015)

Nachdenkseiten - Germany

Prime minister must teach Greeks self-criticism

The Greek prime minister said during his visit to Berlin that "not only others were to blame" for Greece's problems. It is no mere coincidence that Tsipras is confronting his people with the question of their own mistakes now, journalist Niels Kadritzke comments on the blog portal Nachdenkseiten: "Because the government must pass and implement drastic, socially necessary and long overdue reforms very soon, it is obliged to develop a narrative of 'individual responsibility'. … If the Tsipras government wants to reinforce comprehension of the need for this reform programme it must enhance Greek society's ability for self-criticism. … A 'clear and direct' assessment of one's own situation and the homemade problems is a prerequisite for the Syriza government to make the fresh start that the governments of the old, worn-out parties never wanted or managed to make." (25/03/2015)

Les Echos - France

Syriza's failure pushes voters to the right

The fact that Greece will continue to adhere to the austerity measures can be read as a failure on the part of the Syriza government, the liberal business paper Les Echos comments, fearing that popular disappointment will lead voters into the arms of the far right: "Now that Greece's failure has closed the door on the left people may turn for solutions to the far right, which champions more freedom and a liberation from Europe's constraints. In the next elections Greeks will be tempted to vote for Golden Dawn, which wants to leave the Eurozone and expel immigrants. ... If the light breeze of recovery that is now blowing across the continent dies down and governments fail to find fast and efficient ways to keep Europe's promises, their enemies will have an easy time gaining the upper hand." (25/03/2015)

POLITICS

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Corriere della Sera - Italy

Open power struggle in the AKP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticised on the weekend the government's move towards closer cooperation with the pro-Kurdish left-wing HDP. The power struggle within the Islamic-conservative ruling AKP party is now out in the open, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera notes: "On the one side you have sultan Erdoğan, intent on securing the (two-thirds) majority he needs in the parliamentary elections to change the constitution and introduce the presidential system that will guarantee him absolute power. On the other side you have his ex-protégée, current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is increasingly annoyed by the head of state's grab for power. … The power struggle is now out in the open and intensified by the fact that polls predict ebbing support for the AKP and the possibility of it falling short of an absolute majority on June 7. Its period of dominance seems to be drawing to an end." (26/03/2015)

Público - Portugal

Yemen conflict a time bomb for Arab Peninsula

Saudi Arabian units began attacking Houthi rebels' positions in Yemen on Wednesday night. The latter had closed in on the city of Aden in southern Yemen, to which the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had fled to a month ago. The liberal daily Público warns that the conflict could spread: "The chaotic situation in the country resulting from the rapid advance of the rebels could culminate in an indirect confrontation between Saudi Arabia (which supports the Hadi government) and Iran (which supports the Houthi rebels). If Hadi's government fails and the country is left at the mercy of rival branches of radical terrorism we will witness a regional conflict that could trigger a war. And that is a threat the world must not ignore." (25/03/2015)

Financial Times - United Kingdom

Kiev must get its oligarchs under control

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko removed oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky from the post of governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region on Wednesday. This should just be the start, the conservative daily Financial Times comments: "Any campaign to bring the oligarchs to heel, however, must go well beyond Mr Kolomoisky. It needs to ensure that all those who benefited most from the way Ukraine was run in the past both stick to the rules in future and contribute to the costs of rebuilding. ... Whatever the military challenges, creating a stable, prosperous country remains Ukraine's most potent long-term weapon in defending its statehood against Moscow's determination to undermine it." (25/03/2015)

The Irish Times - Ireland

Brexit a danger for Dublin-Belfast relations

The debate about whether Britain should exit the EU has flared up once more in the run-up to the UK's general election on May 7. A Brexit would have serious consequences for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic - and Dublin should do all it can to prevent this, the left-liberal daily The Irish Times urges: "Imagine the political implications of reimposing Border controls and changing the way in which crime and terrorism are jointly dealt with. ... If the UK voted to leave the EU and Scotland then subsequently voted to rejoin, resulting in the break-up of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland would be profoundly unsettled politically and economically. The role which Ireland can play in the British debate is modest but we should play it with imagination and daring in the interests of the people of our State and of Northern Ireland." (25/03/2015)

Sme - Slovakia

Europe's phone number is Angela Merkel's

Henry Kissinger allegedly once asked: "If I want to call Europe, who do I call? Today the clear answer to that question is Angel Merkel, the liberal daily Sme concludes: "If US President Barack Obama, his Ukrainian colleague Poroshenko or Athens' prime minister Alexis Tsipras need to call someone in Europe, they know which number to dial - Angela Merkel's. At the very latest since the negotiations on Ukraine for the Minsk II agreement, it's clear to everyone who calls the shots in Europe. … Europe indeed needs a respected figure like the Americans or Chinese have in their presidents - and that figure is Merkel. … Admittedly Germany can be pretty ruthless in its new role. Up to now Europe has lived more from its institutions than from any national leader. The matter could be elegantly resolved if at some point Merkel assumed a European post. Then Europe's phone number would remain the same." (26/03/2015)

ECONOMY

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Der Standard - Austria

Plane crash hits Lufthansa where it hurts

The plane crash in the French Alps will cause financial difficulties for the German airline Lufthansa for a long time to come, the left-liberal daily Der Standard predicts: "The shock over events like this tends to grow not only in proportion to one's proximity to the crash site. The fact that this has hit a German company - and a subsidiary of Lufthansa - adds to the sense of shock and dismay. Although it's been hard hit by cuts, Lufthansa has until now managed to maintain its excellent reputation as far as safety goes. And that's the most important currency in civil aviation. Trust in the famous German precision, quality and thoroughness has been dealt a hard blow. Never has the crash of a German airliner had so many fatalities. What that means for the future of Europe's biggest carrier is impossible to say right now." (26/03/2015)

Blog Cink - Hungary

Complicit Orbán must resign

Hungary's foreign ministry invested billions in tax money in the bankrupt brokerage firm Quaestor, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán confirmed on Wednesday. László Szily calls on the blog portal Cink for the resignation of both the head of government and Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó: "Up to now in my opinion only Szijjártó should have resigned. But now I also believe Orbán should step down too. … The issue here is that the foreign ministry invested billions in the brokerage firm and then took them out on March 9, the very same day Quaestor's bankruptcy was made public. … If the foreign ministry does such a thing there is every reason to believe that other ministries would do the same, and the all-powerful prime minister must be aware of this. What was initially only an assumption has now been confirmed by Orbán." (25/03/2015)

SOCIETY

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Mladá fronta dnes - Czech Republic

Czechs flipping out over US military convoy

Next weekend a convoy of hundreds of US soldiers will pass through the Czech Republic on its way back from a military manoeuvre in the Baltic to its base in Germany. For days now supporters and opponents have been mobilising public opinion for or against the military convoy and, in the eyes of the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes, blowing the issue out of all proportion: "It's remarkable with what vigour Czech society can react to a military convoy travelling from A to B. And how difficult the supporters of the different groups find it to accept that others hold different views. Sometimes it seems as if the third world war had already broken out, with its epicentre right here in the Czech Republic and above all in the social networks. This extends even to the choice of words. There's talk of 'Führer' and 'conspiratorial groups'. The players in these tragicomic battles really think they're at war. They really need to put a cold cloth on their foreheads." (26/03/2015)

Super Express - Poland

Church must not keep silent about abuse

Representatives of the Polish Catholic Church are not obliged to inform the public prosecutors if they learn of a case of abuse by a priest, the spokesman of the Bishops' Conference of Poland, Józef Kloch, said on Wednesday. The editor-in-chief of the conservative daily Super Express, Slavomir Jastrzębowski, is outraged: "One can say with certainty that the Church representatives are harming their own interests, and therefore the Church, most with such a stance. Yet their strategy should be simple. Their slogan must be 'zero tolerance for paedophiles'. This is actually stated quite clearly in the Book of Matthew: 'If anyone causes one of these little ones - those who believe in me - to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.' This quote may seem extreme in its severity, but I like it very much." (26/03/2015)

LOCAL COLOURS

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Why not a skyscraper in the Alps?

Swiss real estate investor Remo Stoffel presented plans for a luxury hotel in the small village of Vals in the Swiss canton of Graubünden on Wednesday. At 381 metres in height, with 82 floors and rooms costing up to 25,000 euros per night, the project for Europe's tallest building promises brave new business prospects for the the Swiss Alps, the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung applauds: "The tallest constructions in Switzerland are already situated in the Alpine region. The Zervreila dam just above Vals is over 150 metres high. Back then entire valleys were destroyed to supply the Swiss plateau with electricity. Now the opposite is the goal: unspoilt nature, Heidi-land kitsch. … Developments in the mountains are based on taste and cultural trends. So Remo Stoffel's tower can't just be disregarded, especially since as we're led to believe the money for the construction project is there. If we had always stuck to our old views there would never have been an Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Alpine region needs freedom for the necessary economic stimulus, even if it doesn't please everyone." (26/03/2015)

Duma - Bulgaria

Sofia's underground needs English lessons

Since Monday the stations in Sofia's underground train system are announced in both Bulgarian and English. Too bad the speaker's pronunciation leaves much to be desired, the daily Duma notes: "At least the broken English with a strong Bulgarian accent does a lot to improve the mood in the trains. ... Particularly teenagers, who clearly speak better English than the metro employees, get a huge kick when the speaker stutters her way through the names 'Railway Station', 'Lion's Bridge' and 'King's Town Road'. ... Let me get this straight: thousands of workers slaved away for years to create these wonderful stations costing millions of euros, and now we can't find a single person who can correctly pronounce a few English words?" (26/03/2015)

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