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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 06/05/2015



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Front National suspends founder Le Pen

The 86-year-old Le Pen berated his daughter on Tuesday in a radio interview. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


The far-right French party Front National ousted its co-founder Jean-Marie Le Pen on Monday. His daughter and party leader Marine Le Pen had him suspended for making anti-Semitic statements. A clever gambit aimed at making the party acceptable, some commentators believe. Others stress that even without Le Pen senior the Front National will remain on the far right.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany

Using political correctness to secure power

Jean-Marie Le Pen was suspended from the Front National for his verbal attacks and not for his right-wing extremist views, the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung comments: "In 2002 his criticism of the ruling parties got him all the way to the runoff vote in the presidential elections. Back then it became clear how afraid Le Pen was at the prospect of assuming political responsibility. His daughter, however, is driven by a desire for power that is alien and daunting to Jean-Marie. The conflict is not about a disagreement over political direction. Marine Le Pen has by no means renounced her father's views. But she wants to get into government and for that reason can no longer tolerate her father's violations of political correctness. By 'discarding' the old tribune of the people, Marine Le Pen is making it more difficult for the established parties to continue shutting her out politically." (06/05/2015)

Libération - France

Front National still on the far right

Honorary chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen's suspension doesn't alter the party's right-wing extremist programme in the least, the left-liberal daily Libération warns: "Marine Le Pen knows what she's doing: with this theatrical break with her father she is underscoring the change in strategy effected a few years ago. 'How can you demonise me when I've rid the party of its demon?' she'll say. A large part of public opinion will give her credit for this understandable, spectacular and melodramatic break. But what's it really all about? If the FN is putting a damper on its anti-Semitism, it's because it has switched its scapegoat. It's no longer the Jews but the Arabs who are the targets of its hostility. Or more precisely, the Muslims. ... And while the exclusion of the party founder is a strong gesture, the party's programme hasn't changed in the least after this psychodrama." (05/05/2015)

Jornal de Negócios - Portugal

Critical global situation helps Le Pen

The dispute with her father may seem disadvantageous to Marine Le Pen right now but her party will continue to profit from the crises in this world until the presidential election in 2017, writes the liberal business daily Jornal de Negócios: "The threat of a Greek bankruptcy and an exit from the EU by the UK, which is being rocked by Scottish separatism, unresolvable conflicts in the Arab world and in Sub-Saharan Africa, illegal immigration and the jihad. All this works in Marine Le Pen's favour. The political patricide was an inevitable step in which a person who had become a hindrance to the party's expansion was tossed overboard. … Marine Le Pen must endure her father's rage for now but she stands good chances of facing Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round of the presidential election in 2017. (05/05/2015)


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La Stampa - Italy

Renzi's electoral reform weakens parties' power

Italy's Chamber of Deputies voted by a large majority in favour of Matteo Renzi's controversial electoral law reform on Monday. The amendment is absolutely typical of the way the prime minister sees politics, the liberal daily La Stampa explains: "Perhaps now that the reform has been approved it will be more clear that the Italicum is not just an electoral law system. It is another piece of Renzi's puzzle that points to a horizon whose pole stars are the principles of personal responsibility and the personalisation of policies. The new electoral law adopts the principle on which the election to the post of mayor is based: I vote for you and afterwards I judge you. The process of personalisation has begun, and it influences the relation between candidate and voter to the detriment of the old parties' power." (06/05/2015)

Ethnos - Greece

Tsipras failing on election pledges

The government under Alexis Tsipras has implemented hardly any of its campaign promises after almost 100 days in office, the left-liberal daily Ethnos criticises: "We have no doubt about the ministers' good intentions, but if they think the pace at which they're fulfilling their election promises corresponds to popular expectations they can think again. ... They haven't fulfilled a single one of the promises that made them so popular. The new government has neither been able to increase state benefits nor force employers to make their workers' lives easier. Granted: the rule allowing taxpayers to repay overdue taxes in 100 instalments and the abolishment of fines for delinquent taxpayers do provide some relief. Nevertheless they are measures aimed at squeezing money from the people for the state or the insurance funds." (05/05/2015)

Savon Sanomat - Finland

Brexit would hurt EU but not the UK

A Brexit after tomorrow's general elections in Britain wouldn't do any damage to the UK but it would be very costly for Finland, the liberal daily Savon Sanomat believes: "Britain doesn't belong either to the Schengen Area or the Eurozone. It has benefited from EU membership through cherry picking. But within the EU selfishness on the part of one country will always harm another. If the British spend their whole time trying to have the EU work to their advantage it will only increase Finland's net EU payments - not to mention what a Brexit would do. The EU's biggest fear is that the UK could get along fine without it. Britain is still an economic power and the City of London is still Europe's financial capital." (06/05/2015)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Europe must actively design refugee policy

Europe needs a more offensive refugee policy in view of the tragedies in the Mediterranean, the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung urges: "Europe faces a moral dilemma. On the one hand, saving refugees serves as an incentive for further immigrants - and victims. On the other hand, you can't let refugees drown just to prevent others from trying their luck. It must be said, however, that for years now the discussion of migration has mainly been defensive in stance. The real issue, however, isn't the right defence but what kind of migration we want. And that includes discussing taboo topics like temporary residence permits - because few immigrants want to stay in Europe for the rest of their lives. It means discussing having asylum applications processed in embassies and coordinated centrally, as opposed to country by country, as well as providing scholarships for African students on the basis that after their studies they will return to their country to bring about intelligent and creative change." (06/05/2015)

Ziare - Romania

Romania's tipping tax is ludicrous

As a new measure in the fight against tax evasion, as of May 1 businesses must issue an extra receipt for tips. Asked what customers should do if the pizza delivery service doesn't have any receipts handy, Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici said they should go to the pizzeria to pick one up. Writing on news portal Ziare journalist Ioana Ene Dogioiu says his answer is inappropriate: "After ordering a pizza to be brought to me at home because I'm too lazy to go and get it myself, I'm supposed to drive to the pizza service with a full stomach? … How much can the finance minister believe in his own policy if he grins broadly while giving such an ironic response? … This jovial superficiality is perhaps even the main reason why the government and parliament keep on coming up with such silly regulations which are contradictory and inapplicable and cause the average citizen to constantly make unintentional mistakes. These quickly cobbled together laws have a destructive impact on society." (05/05/2015)


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Večer - Slovenia

EU citizens don't benefit from upturn

The EU Commission on Tuesday raised its economic forecast for the European Union as a whole to 1.8 percent. But the people aren't benefitting at all from the upswing, the liberal daily Večer complains: "The problem is that above all in the crisis countries the general population isn't feeling this upturn at all, nor will they feel anything for a long time to come. Those who lose their job or finish their schooling can't find work. That's because the economists who write economic forecasts and analyses in Brussels and in the national capitals take it for granted that higher profits for companies are more important than benefits for employees, who they consider nothing more than an additional cost factor. Equally, our economists and politicians take for granted that unlimited economic growth is the only way out of the crisis." (06/05/2015) - Germany

New law will cause more chaos at Deutsche Bahn

In response to the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) strikes, Deutsch Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube plans to present a proposal aimed at an agreement today, Wednesday. GDL boss Claus Weselsky continues to reject mediation in the dispute. The public-service news site sympathises with Weselsky: "The Federal Labour Court ruled five years ago that a company can have an unlimited number of unions and that each union is free to recruit members. … Perhaps the new law [the new collective bargaining agreement law planned for the summer] will only make the situation more complicated at the national railway company, because according to the new rules each company would have to find out which union represents the greatest number of employees and then that union would negotiate for all the employees. If we look more closely at the Deutsche Bahn it is made up of around 300 subsidiaries, so this would be a hugely laborious process. Perhaps in the end it would be simpler for it to negotiate with just two more or less fundamentalist unions." (05/05/2015)

Der Standard - Austria

Only debt relief can save Athens now

According to a report in the Financial Times the IMF is urging the euro countries to give Greece debt relief. This is long overdue, the left-liberal daily Der Standard argues: "Because companies, consumers, international investors and creditors examine the economic indicators very closely before undertaking financial activities. And those indicators point to Athens collapsing under the burden of its debts and obligations. This is already having dramatic consequences. After a brief period of recovery the economy is once more stalling and dragging the budget figures down. The government representatives in Athens are not the only ones to blame for this. The euro leaders in Berlin and Brussels are also at fault. The disciplinarians failed to see that they had gone too far. Now the only remedy is for them to concede that all the tax money that flowed to Athens was lost long ago." (06/05/2015)


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Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Expulsion of the Germans was unavoidable

The Czech Republic is currently commemorating the Prague Uprising against the German occupation 70 years ago. Also under discussion is the expulsion of Germans that followed World War II. Petr Zídek, editor of the daily Lidové noviny, shows understanding for the forced expatriations: "Under normal circumstances the principle of collective guilt is unacceptable. But back then there were no normal circumstances. Critics of the expulsions must explain how the German problem could have been solved otherwise. A large majority of Germans in the Bohemian regions supported the genocidal policy of the Nazi regime. ... In practical terms it simply wasn't possible to assess the Germans' guilt on an individual basis. ... Organised expulsion was the only viable solution. ... Of course the excesses that took place remain a stain on our country's history." (06/05/2015) - Croatia

Croatia forgets lessons of fascism

Visiting the former Dachau concentration camp on the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed German's 'special responsibility'. That should serve as an example for Croatia in view of its own fascist past, the left-liberal web portal urges: "The message of a 'special responsibility' will hardly be heard here. ... Least of all by those who want to wipe out the memories of the barbarity of the [Croatian] death camps overnight. With a wave of the magic wand of forgetfulness, they want to turn it into an innocent fairy tale in which they idolise the criminals and demonise the liberators. ... The creation of bogeymen, hate speeches, putsch threats, songs and iconography show that 25 years after the Croatian War of Independence we still haven't learned a thing. Forgetting the exalted value of peace, we are hurtling straight towards a new war." (05/05/2015)

Trud - Bulgaria

Bulgarians need cheap holidays in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is expecting a considerable drop in the number of Russian tourists visiting its Black Sea resorts this season this year compared to previous years. But even if all 560,000 Russians who came in 2014 stayed at home this needn't be a major problem, the daily Trud contends: "The best thing would be for us to do exactly what the Russians are doing: they're actively developing their own attractions for local tourists to prevent 30 billion euros going abroad every year. They're creating new destinations in their own country. Instead of mourning the loss of these tourists, we should be doing the same. It's high time we developed the market for local tourists. It would suffice if the Bulgarians could benefit from the same lower prices as foreigners. It's not acceptable that it's cheaper for Germans to go on holiday in Bulgaria than it is for Bulgarians." (05/05/2015)


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Politiken - Denmark

Media must say no to Muhammad cartoons

An attack on an exhibition of Muhammad cartoons in Texas last Sunday has triggered a new debate about the limits of freedom of expression. We need to distance ourselves from the attackers, but this doesn't justify reprinting the cartoons, the liberal daily Politiken comments: "At the same time there has to be a limit to what the media feel entitled to do in the name of freedom of expression. ... In Europe, US newspapers are often accused of being too politically correct. The events in Dallas, however, are a good example of why one must be allowed to say no to the reprinting of all kinds of strange drawings. Freedom of expression also entails the right to distance ourselves from an initiative that deserves mockery and derision more than anything else." (06/05/2015)

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