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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 16/06/2015



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No new reform list from Athens for now

Roughly 70 percent of Greeks want to keep the euro and would be willing to accept austerity measures to that end, according to a recent survey by GPO opinion research institute. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


Athens will not present a new reform list at the meeting with the euro finance ministers on Thursday, Greek Finance Minister announced after inconclusive talks with EU Commission President Juncker and the IMF. The negotiations are proving so tough because the IMF and the Eurozone are pursuing different goals, commentators point out, and warn against underestimating the consequences of a Grexit.

Libération - France

IMF and EU heading for disaster

The International Monetary Fund is showing no regard for European sensitivities in its negotiations with Greece, the centre-left daily Libération criticises: "The IMF could hardly care less about whether Greece remains in the Eurozone, or even about the continuation of the European Project. It doesn't care about such political issues. For the Eurozone it's precisely the opposite: politics takes top priority. Its goal is to prevent a Grexit which could threaten the very survival of the common currency. ... Because the IMF and the EU are acting together, they are both unwilling to compromise, and hence demand the impossible from Athens: austerity measures meant not only to achieve a balanced budget but also an unrealistic primary surplus to help it repay a debt that is practically 'untouchable'. The two goals are irreconcilable, and so the threat of an unprecedented disaster looms over Europe." (16/06/2015)

The Independent - United Kingdom

Don't believe proponents of a Grexit

Those who are downplaying the dangers of a Greek exit from the Eurozone now have already been wrong in the past, the centre-left daily The Independent warns: "The panjandrums of the eurozone insist that there will be no financial or economic 'contagion' if Greece slips out of the euro embrace, because the system has been shored up in the past three years. Europe can take or leave Greece, they insist. Perhaps they're right. But we'd do well to remember that these are the same people who confidently predicted back in 2010 that Greece would rapidly return to growth after taking an invigorating dose of their carefully distilled austerity medicine. And look how that turned out." (15/06/2015)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany

No alternative to debt cut

Only if the creditors decide to dispense with some of the money they are owed will Greece be able to get back on its feet, the centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung comments: "Such a debt cut can't be organised at the drop of a hat or within a few days but will require detailed negotiations. No one should know this better than the German government, because Germany has had parts of its debts waived no less than four times in the last century, and from that it has benefited massively - something that everyone who is judging Greece and advocating its exit from the monetary union these days seems happy to forget. ... Germany's debts weren't waived because it had earned it but because it made economic sense to do so. The Greeks certainly haven't earned a debt cut either; but there is no way round it, for both economic and political reasons. The alternative would be a disorderly national bankruptcy." (16/06/2015)

Politis - Cyprus

Creditors want to topple Athens' leftist gov't

A deep rift divides the people of Greece from the powerful in Brussels, the liberal daily Politis observes: "The Greeks want a Europe that shows solidarity, not one that acts against it. A Europe that doesn't try to recoup its loans from the pockets of the poor through a rise in VAT and 300-euro pensions. ... What's more, the Greek government should try to get out of this tug of war that is increasingly sapping its strength. It's clear that the demands of the neoliberal power centre in Brussels are of a political, not an economic nature. Their goal is to humiliate this leftist government before the eyes of the Greeks. ... And the inexperienced Greek government should understand that it's not dealing with partners but with foes." (15/06/2015)


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Sme - Slovakia

Old Nato members leave new ones in the lurch

The US's plans to station heavy weaponry in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region are commendable, the liberal daily Sme comments, but it doubts that certain European Nato members will be willing to fight: "Washington's plans to station soldiers and heavy weapons in the Baltic lack the alliance's approval. The Nato members are divided in their stance. According to a survey carried out in the last week a majority of Germans, Italians and French reject the idea of using military force to protect allies against a Russian attack, regardless of Vladimir Putin's conduct in Ukraine. This raises the interesting question of whether Nato's principle of collective defence is still sustainable and capable of acting as a deterrent. Are the older members of the alliance really willing to fight for their new partners?" (16/06/2015)

Länsi-Savo - Finland

Weapons in Eastern Europe heighten tensions

The heavy weapons the US wants to transfer to Eastern Europe have more of a symbolic than military significance, the liberal daily Länsi-Savo comments: "The addressee of the message is clear. The goal is to make it clear to Russia that if things get serious Washington really will defend its Nato partners in Europe. It's easy to guess what the Russian reaction to the Americans' operation will be. The coming weeks and months will see extensive manoeuvres and a heightened presence of marine and air force units in international waters and airspace. ... It's too early to speak of a new cold war, but we may be talking about a progressive cooling for a long time to come." (16/06/2015)

Hospodárske noviny - Slovakia

Juncker must sell refugee quotas better

In the ongoing dispute over refugee quotas the EU interior ministers are meeting for talks in Brussels today, Tuesday. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is mainly to blame for the fact that the quota proposal has met with such resistance, the liberal business daily Hospodářské noviny writes: "Juncker himself must have understood by now that he should have taken a different approach to presenting his plan. His quota proposal has failed to evoke the solidarity he had hoped for and instead met with a wall of opposition. … The chief of the EU Commission knows from long political experience that some things must first be negotiated behind closed doors. … He should correct his mistake, convene a summit meeting as quickly as possible, barricade the doors and say: 'Okay, the quota system is off the table but no one is leaving until they promise to take in some of the refugees. And don't give me any figures below a thousand." (16/06/2015)

El Periódico de Catalunya - Spain

Refugee dispute could tear up EU

French police officers have prevented refugees from entering France from Italy in recent days. The refugee problem is dividing the EU, the centre-left daily El Periódico de Catalunya warns: "The refugee crisis is shifting to the north and opening up a rift that should never have been created between two EU member states like Italy and France. … Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced that if the EU doesn't intervene his country will adopt its own measures. Regardless of the question of whether Rome has its own Plan B, it would be a step backwards with unknown consequences for European cohesion. In this most recent episode only Rome and Paris are having their say. The silence from Brussels and the rest of the EU is deafening. Europe has forgotten the times when the Europeans themselves were refugees and migrants." (16/06/2015)

Yeni Şafak - Turkey

US wants to weaken Turkey with Kurds' help

The Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia scored a victory against the IS in the strategically important city of Tal Abyad near the Turkish border on Monday. At the same time another wave of Syrian refugees arrived in Turkey. This is the result of the strategic alliance between the US and the Kurds in the region who want to destroy Turkey's influence, the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak warns: "This time round the project is being furthered by the Syrian wing of the PKK. … Even before the elections when it looked like Turkey might end up with a coalition certain circles [from the US] accelerated the operation aimed at reducing Turkey's influence in northern Syria, destroying all ties with southern Syria and creating a corridor from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean. A devastating democratic plan that entails the deportation and ethnic cleansing of Turks and Arabs is being launched. At the same time this is perhaps the final phase in a strategy aimed at discrediting Turkey with neighbours who had opened up to it in recent years and isolating Anatolia once more." (16/06/2015)

Večernji list - Croatia

Threat of new cold war in the Middle East

The division of the Middle East into Shiite and Sunni spheres of interest is a cause for great concern, the conservative daily Večernji List believes: "In recent years relations have changed with lightning speed in the Middle East, but also to the east and south of the Mediterranean. At the same time some of the big players want to move up a rung to become regional powers. At the moment these are above all [Shiite] Iran and [Sunni] Saudi Arabia, two large and powerful Islamic states that are fighting for their zones of influence with no holds barred. ... Ultimately this could result in the formation of Sunni and Shiite blocs along the lines of Nato and the Warsaw Pact. The result could be a new cold war and a balance of fears in the region. But it could also slip out of control and lead to a conflict that provokes a major war." (16/06/2015)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Al-Bashir case a blow to Hague court

Despite an arrest warrant having been issued by the International Criminal Court, South Africa failed to arrest the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir at a summit meeting of the African Union in Johannesburg. This calls into question the entire work of the court in The Hague, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger comments: "The US refused to put its signature under the Rome Statute [founding the court] right from the start - as did Russia, China and North Korea. It is the legal abstinence of these states that made it possible for the African president to callously distance himself from this treaty in the first place. … The judges in The Hague won't throw in the towel tomorrow. … But if an institution is to play the role assigned to the International Criminal Court it must be placed on an entirely new foundation. And above all it must be recognised and supported by the major world powers - or at least by the permanent members of the UN Security Council." (16/06/2015)


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The Irish Independent - Ireland

Ireland would be winner and loser of a Brexit

The EU referendum to be held in the UK by 2017 has sparked a debate in Ireland about whether the country should follow Britain out of the EU. A Brexit would have both positive and negative consequences for Ireland, the conservative daily Irish Independent believes: "There is no doubt that losing our biggest trading partner from the EU would carry economic costs. One estimate, by the Open Europe think-tank in London, is that it could cut Irish GDP by up to 3pc by 2030. But Britain's EU departure could create Irish opportunities. Being the only native English-speaking EU member state could help the intensely competitive quest for overseas investment. ... But in the long term a more deregulated Britain outside the EU could more aggressively cut costs in this dogfight for the multinational investment money." (15/06/2015)


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Le Figaro - France

French must learn to spell

In the context of the French baccalauréat exams, the country's Ministry of Education has encouraged teachers not to penalise spelling mistakes too severely. According to a recent study by Baromètre Voltaire on average the French know only half of the spelling rules for their language. The conservative daily Le Figaro sees good spelling as a cultural asset that must be preserved: "No doubt good spelling alone doesn't make a genius, but it's certain that a genius needs good spelling to be understood. ... In our age much time is spent reprimanding the public on matters of ecology, health, traffic safety. ... We're told that what's at stake is the life of every individual and the future of the planet. But spelling, with its rules and its exceptions, is the Highway Code of the French language. It guards against linguistic deviations and stops thoughts from spinning out of control, to say nothing of barbarous head-ons. Is that such a trifling matter for a country?" (16/06/2015)

Blog Adevărul - Romania

Corruption driving Moldovans into Russia's embrace

The pro-Russian opposition won in the second- and third-largest cities in local elections in the Republic of Moldova on Sunday. Historian Marius Diaconescu sees this as a sign of a mood swing in the country in the blog of the centre-right daily Adevărul: "The electorate in Moldova is disappointed at the fake pro-European discourse and blatant corruption of those who represent it. The parliamentary elections in 2014 were already a warning signal that no one understood. Instead of getting rid of corrupt leaders and introducing real reforms, the so-called democratic parties have compromised themselves more and more in the eyes of the voters. … The pro-Russian sentiment among the electorate will now grow and secure the power of the socialists and communists for a long time to come. These parties will definitely use anti-Romanian discourse. That puts an end to any plans for unification with Romania for the time being." (15/06/2015)


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Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

Don't censor anonymous reader comments

The European Court of Justice in Strasbourg will hand down judgement in the Delfi vs. Estonia case today. The question is whether the web portal can be held responsible for anonymous comments and therefore must monitor the content posted by its readers. Chief editor Urmo Soonvald opposes such an obligation in the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht, defending democratic rights: "The freedom of opinion is a sacrosanct value. It played a role in the independence of Estonia and will pave the way for the independence of many other states that are struggling for freedom. Anonymous freedom of opinion makes the relations around us more transparent. Nothing good can come of obscure, closed and controlled societies. And it's exactly the same thing if the content posted by users is controlled by censors who decide what is right and how people should think. People's opinions, and their right to spread them, must not be censored. That was the practise in Eastern Europe until 1989 when the system exploded with a bang." (16/06/2015)

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