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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 19/06/2015

 

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Pope lashes out at environmental destruction

The encyclical on the environment is a 220-page document. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

In his encyclical published on Thursday Pope Francis criticises the destruction of the environment and climate change. Never before has a papal document dedicated so much space to environmental issues, commentators write approvingly. They also commend the leader of the Catholic Church for criticising the frenzied consumerism of rich societies and pointing to their role in damaging the environment.

Večernji list - Croatia

Encyclical deals with more than ecology

Above and beyond environmental protection Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si also deals with social problems, the conservative daily Večernji List writes in praise: "Human egoism leads to the impoverishment of creation and the neglect of the next generations. The pope has called for sustainable and holistic development, and admonishes that the people 'have paid the price for the bank bailouts'. The market generates consumer-oriented mechanisms, but they must not become a model for humanity. And what exactly does the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' mean today? It means that 20 percent of the world's population should not use so much of the world's resources that it amounts to robbing the rest of humanity and the coming generations. ... We are not dealing with two separate crises, of the environment on the one hand and society on the other, but a single complex socio-economic crisis. Francis's message changes the world, or at least attempts to." (19/06/2015)

Sme - Slovakia

Concrete proposals for environmental protection

The two popes before Pope Francis also drew attention to the risks of climate change, the liberal daily Sme points out, commenting that the encyclical is nonetheless unique: "Never in the entire history of papal documents has more space been dedicated to environmental protection. The criticism of the lacking balance of power [in current policies] that focuses on economic and technocratic solutions and ignores social solidarity and environmental awareness is also new. On all this the pope is not moralising on a general basis but on the contrary, being very concrete. The chapter on climate change is detailed and in line with the latest scientific research. Francis is adding a philosophical and theological aspect to this. … The question is whether the pope's words will fall on fertile ground. Unlike the politicians the pope doesn't have the power to push through his ideas. In the end they are just words. But: 'In the beginning was the word.'" (19/06/2015)

Kurier - Austria

A teaching document against apathy

With his environmental encyclical Pope Francis shows that he also takes world ecology problems very much to heart, the liberal daily Kurier writes: "In the encyclical Francis calls on mankind to rethink the way it treats the environment. Specifically he talks of pollution, water shortages and cruelty to animals. And of the climate change caused by people (which conservative believers in particular are fond of denying with the argument that man can't change the climate). And the pope used an interesting image: if someone could observe the world from outside it, they would be pretty surprised. We should ask ourselves this question more often: what would an extra-terrestrial taking a holiday here make of us? Perhaps Pope Francis is just another 'naïve' person. But perhaps it's just that unlike other people he still cares about things." (19/06/2015)

Público - Portugal

Pope's appeal not just aimed at Catholics

Pope Francis called on the industrial nations to make an "ecological conversion" in his encyclical on the environment, and thus made history, the liberal daily Público comments: "At a time when several meetings and consultations on climate policy under the UN's aegis are coming up, this intervention by the pope takes on special meaning. … Not just because of the scope of the appeal, which is addressed to everyone: Catholics and non-Catholics alike. … The Laudato Si encyclical, which has already garnered much applause and criticism, presents - clearly bearing Francis's stamp - a resolute Vatican that is setting off in new directions." (18/06/2015)

POLITICS

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L'Humanité - France

Creditors solely to blame for Greeks' misery

The euro finance ministers failed to reach a compromise with Athens on Thursday evening. A meeting of the Eurozone heads of state and government on Monday will now seek a solution. The creditors have landed Greece in this situation, the communist daily L'Humanité fumes: "The IMF, the European Central Bank and the Euro Group have increased the deficit, impoverished the economy and devastated an entire nation. Today they are dancing a ballet of discord in which one wants to maintain all debts, another to slash pensions and the third is calling for widespread privatisation. This discord then converges in a harmonious refusal to reach an agreement. ... Europe would have everything to lose from a Greek default. It wouldn't just affect the euro exchange rate, but the very ability to live together in dignity and democracy." (19/06/2015)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Tsipras and Varoufakis don't want a deal

New negotiations with the finance ministers of the Eurozone in the debt dispute with Greece ended without a result on Thursday in Luxembourg. It doesn't really look like Athens wants to reach an agreement at all, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger comments: "Compromise seems to be a foreign word for the far-left Syriza and its far-right coalition partner. The investors have made concessions to the Greeks in recent weeks. But do Varoufakis and his Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras even want to reach a deal? Judging by the Greeks' rhetoric and attitude, you have to conclude that at the very least some people in Athens have wanted to leave Euroland for a long time. For these circles the only question that remains is who will be blamed for the fiasco in the end. Ideologists always want to perish at least as moral victors." (19/06/2015)

Politiken - Denmark

Eurosceptics put Denmark's reputation at risk

The right-wing Eurosceptic Danish People's Party (DF) made surprisingly strong gains in the Danish general elections on Thursday. With 18 additional seats it is the second strongest party behind the Social Democrats. The left-liberal daily Politiken fears for the country's reputation: "This result is about the worst thing that could happen to Denmark's international kudos and credibility. As far as our relations with the EU go, the [liberal] Venstre and the Conservatives have surrendered to the DF. ... It will be of decisive importance that the conservative bloc seeks broad cooperation on the topics of environment, climate and energy. That is the only way to uphold respect for Denmark and maintain the achievements that are a precondition for future prosperity. Let's hope that Venstre does all it can to prevent the progress of recent decades from going down the drain." (19/06/2015)

Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic

Dobrindt's road toll must apply for Germans too

The German Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt announced on Thursday that the introduction of the road toll in Germany would be put on ice for the time being. The European Commission has opened infringement proceedings against the toll, arguing that it violates EU law. The liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny can't resist the temptation to gloat: "The German road toll construction was unacceptable right from the start. It would apply to everyone but the Germans would get it back through their road tax, meaning that only foreigners would have to pay up. No one can really criticise the Germans for coming up with a scheme to secure millions in revenues for the country's underfinanced infrastructure. All the neighbouring countries, including the Czech Republic, have a road toll. But it applies to the cars, not to the nationality of the driver. ... Now the Germans are suffering a major fiasco that has considerable damaged the country's image. … But this disaster also offers the opportunity to come up with a normal and simply constructed toll for everyone - for those who live in Germany as well as for foreigners." (19/06/2015)

Delfi - Lithuania

Heavy Nato weapons to calm Eastern Europe

Political analyst Kęstutis Girnius examines Nato's plans to station heavy weapons in several Eastern European countries on the web portal Delfi: "The decision is not just a reaction to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine but also to the aggressive manoeuvres of its fighter jets and open demonstrations of military power. The move is aimed at demonstrating the solidarity within Nato and calming the fears of inhabitants of the Baltic region and other countries. The preventive stationing of weapons means that in the event of a crisis Nato rapid deployment forces would have immediate access to appropriate weapons. … This fact won't prevent Russia from launching an attack. But during the Cold War no one would have thought that a few thousand US soldiers in Berlin would be able to fend off an attack by a country party to the Warsaw Pact either." (19/06/2015)

ECONOMY

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The Economist - United Kingdom

Cameron's immigration limit slows recovery

British companies may not hire any more highly qualified staff from non-EU countries this month, because for the first time an upper limit for visa issuance introduced by the government in 2011 has been reached. The limit is counterproductive, the liberal business magazine The Economist writes: "The targets of the crackdown are the very last immigrants that Britain should be keeping out. ... Mr Cameron's self-defeating cap will crimp economic growth and won't even mollify critics of immigration. The 20,700 skilled non-Europeans represent barely 3% of Britain's annual inflow of immigrants, so slashing their numbers will do little to reduce headline figures. Nor will it free jobs for Britons, since many would-be employers of highly skilled foreigners will simply move." (18/06/2015)

Rzeczpospolita - Poland

Gazprom's new Nord Stream project just a show

The Russian company Gazprom signed a declaration of intent with several Western energy companies for the construction of two new lines to be added to the Baltic Nord Stream pipeline on Thursday. The conservative daily Rzeczpospolita sees the project as unrealistic: "Clearly Gazprom had to sign something to keep the political decision-makers in the Kremlin happy. ... And the Western companies had to sign something that will keep their Russian business running smoothly and ensure Moscow's favour, without undermining the EU sanctions. For that reason this protocol is nothing more than a declaration of pious hopes and good intentions, which as we all know often lead to nothing. No one has committed themselves and everyone is happy. The reality, however, is that Gazprom has no money for the construction. And Europe doesn't need more gas, but less." (19/06/2015)

SOCIETY

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Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Europe's refugee drama self-inflicted

A total of 60 million people - more than ever before - are fleeing their homes and seeking refuge elsewhere, according to the most recently published annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. These statistics prompt the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore to harshly criticise Europe: "It's waging a pathetic battle on the border between Italy and France. The conflict over the distribution of Syrian refugees says everything about Europe's short-sightedness: two million in Turkey, a million in Libya, a million in Jordan. Are we hoping they'll just stay put? Either we stop the wars on our doorstep and try to create a new world order, or we get used to the idea of millions of additional refugees. ... Europe and the West must be prepared to find a solution [to the Syria conflict] because our neighbours are at the end of their tether and even more frightened than we are." (19/06/2015)

De Telegraaf - Netherlands

Acquittal for scandal doctor mocks victims

In a surprise decision a court of appeals acquitted the Dutch doctor Ernst Jansen of charges of severe abuse on Thursday. He had originally been sentenced to three years in prison for dozens of misdiagnoses. This is a slap in the face for the victims, the right-wing daily De Telegraaf complains: "For years the victims have been fighting for justice and now the ex-neurologist has been acquitted of the main charges. … The court concluded that at most he could be accused of negligence in making false diagnoses. This offence, however, comes under the statute of limitations. … The Jansen scandal is considered the biggest medical malpractice case so far. The fact that judges could reach such widely diverging judgements on such a serious case is enough to drive one to despair. That alone is reason enough to appeal to the High Council [the supreme court]." (19/06/2015)

MEDIA

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Evrensel - Turkey

Turks couldn't care less about gagged media

The Turkish police detained four journalists at the Turkish-Syrian border crossing Akçakale on Tuesday. The journalists had put critical questions to the governor of Şanlıurfa province regarding the IS terrorist forces just over the border. In view of the Turks' apathy it's no wonder state attacks against the media are an everyday occurence, the left-leaning daily Evrensel writes: "The people have lost their interest in the news. ... If the people living in this country start fighting for their democratic rights and the freedom of information, the state will have to adapt. But as long as the people don't defend people who ask questions and champion the rights of journalists, as long as they don't claim their right to the news and demand true information from politicians, the vicious circle will continue." (19/06/2015)

Blog Adevărul - Romania

Romania neglects print media

The Romanian government decided last week to make 15 million euros available to audiovisual media that plan to produce informative and cultural programmes. As usual only television is getting the support, Mircea Vasilescu, chief editor of the weekly paper Dilema Veche complains on the blog of the liberal-conservative daily Adevărul: "With part of those 15 million euros the subscriptions for cultural magazines at public libraries or schools could be paid. But would this serve to promote education and culture? Not in Romania; television rules supreme here. … Television can do the job [the government believes]. After all, the print media will disappear anyway. In a couple of years we will be the first European country without any printed press, and then we can celebrate being part of the 'digital era'." (18/06/2015)

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