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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 30/06/2015



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Tsipras threatens with resignation

Tsipras said in a TV interview that he refuses to be the executor of the creditors' austerity policy. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has hinted that he will resign if the Greeks vote in favour of the creditors' austerity demands. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have meanwhile spoken out against the lenders making a new offer. Both sides must return to the negotiating table to prevent a Grexit, some commentators urge. Others believe the euro should be scrapped entirely.

Efimerida ton Syntakton - Greece

Brussels and Athens should end power games

A Grexit will have repercussions for all Europe, warns the centre-left daily Efimerida ton Syntakton, appealing to Athens and the EU to stop their power games: "Fear and division are the two major dangers at this moment. … Perhaps this is a unique opportunity in the long history of the Greeks for them to fight out the campaign against the austerity policy and the powers that be - a fight with which most European nations identify. The dip in share prices when the markets opened on Monday has shown that a Grexit is not just Greece's problem but everyone's. It won't be easy, either for us or for our EU partners. Everyone should now stop playing the power games and assume responsibility: We don't deserve to see the country crash. And we must stick together." (29/06/2015)

Keskisuomalainen - Finland

Grexit inevitable

Leaving the monetary union could help Greece in the long term even if the Greeks suffer inititally, the liberal daily Keskisuomalainen writes: "If the financing [by the creditors] ends after a no vote in the referendum on Sunday, Athens will be left to its own devices. … Greece will probably leave the Eurozone one way or another. If it has its own currency it can devalue it and thus slowly regain competitiveness. In practice, having one's own currency results in a rapid and efficient impoverishment of the citizens, because the wages currently paid to the Greeks in euros are too high in proportion to the country's output, and the taxes are too low." (30/06/2015)

Ziarul Financiar - Romania

Grexit would be a signal to Romania

20 years ago many in Romania saw Greece as a model for development. But if Greece exits the Eurozone it would come as a bitter lesson for Romania, the business paper Ziarul Financiar comments: "If Greece leaves the Eurozone it would call into question the development model for poor countries based on European funding. ... Excluding Greece from the Eurozone would prove that it is not possible for a country to develop mainly on the basis of loans from other states or private lenders. If this catastrophe does happen we'll have to forget about Romania ever joining the Eurozone. The day after the drachma replaces the euro in Greek wallets, Romania will have to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that it can only count on itself." (30/06/2015)

The Wall Street Journal - U.S.

Global perspectives: Return to drachma not an option

The creditors must not give in to Athens now, the liberal daily Wall Street Journal urges, reminding the Tsipras government of the consequences of leaving the Eurozone: "Optimists claim a return to a cheaper drachma would be good for tourism, but that would come with a huge decline in living standards. Greeks who owe debt in euros but suddenly earned income in drachmas would be crushed. Another deep recession would be inevitable. ... Appeasing Syriza's demands could spread political contagion to Spain, Portugal and other countries that might think they too can avoid reform and still be rescued. A last-minute reprieve is possible, but if not the Greeks will have committed suicide by ignoring economic reality." (29/06/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Europe won't collapse

Although the government in Athens is completely unpredictable its behaviour will not pose a threat to the euro and the EU, the conservative daily Lidové noviny comments: "What goes on in the heads of a radical left-wing government is hard to predict. Perhaps the new drachmas have already been printed. Perhaps Tsipras will stand in front of his people today or tomorrow and hail a new era of progress and social security. Perhaps not. … And what comes next? Will the euro or even the EU go to pieces? Will the Greek example prove contagious? ... No, there won't be any contagion. The Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese and other risk candidates have been sufficiently deterred by the Greek example and won't follow suit. Greece's collapse ultimately won't have any continental significance. Not even if the country introduces a new currency." (30/06/2015)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland

Monetary union obsolete

Europe must scrap the monetary union entirely, write the Basel-based economists Lukas Hohl and Rolf Weder in the liberal-conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung, describing this as the only logical consequence of the looming Grexit: "The US economist Paul Krugman sounds cynical when he writes that the 'real risk for the euro' is that Greece recovers one or two years after exiting the union, setting a positive example that others would follow. We see it as problematic to conclude from this that Greece should be kept in the single currency at any cost. If we believe that the monetary union limits the development potential of countries like Greece, then we must support the Grexit and the long-term dissolution or re-dimensioning of the EMU. … If the euro is not good for the EU or Europe we must start thinking about how to get rid of it." (30/06/2015)


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The Times - United Kingdom

Supranational institutions losing importance

The debt conflict with Greece and the refugee crisis show that the significance of European supranational institutions is dwindling, the conservative daily The Times comments: "For further evidence, you need only recall the row over dinner at the European Council last Thursday, as leaders failed to agree a plan to resettle 40,000 asylum seekers from north Africa. Tempting as it is to view this as the disintegration of the European dream, it is more likely just evidence of another phenomenon we see all over the world - a retreat from internationalism. The EU is not the only multilateral institution facing decay; consider the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, to take just three." (29/06/2015)

Frankfurter Rundschau - Germany

West must stop warmonger Erdoğan

The National Security Council in Ankara on Monday discussed the possibility of Turkey sending troops into neighbouring Syria. The general staff of the Turkish army however rejects President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's intervention plans. The West must not stand by and watch while Erdoğan plays with fire, the centre-left daily Frankfurter Rundschau admonishes: "President Erdoğan wants to send Turkish soldiers to Syria to drive the IS away from that sector of the border, but also to prevent the formation of a second Kurdish state like that in northern Iraq. This demonstrates that Erdoğan fears the Kurds more than he fears the IS. His populist attempt to foment Kurdish phobia and to win back nationalist voters would drag Nato into the Middle East chaos and make Turkey a target for terrorists. Fortunately the military is opposing the plan. The West too should make it clear to the adventurer in Ankara that intervention in Syria without an international mandate would act like an accelerant." (30/06/2015)

Diário de Notícias - Portugal

Cheating minister can remain in office

Portugal's Ministry of Justice has instructed its director generals via email to check the election manifesto of the opposition Socialists for any inconsistencies in the area of justice. But she will no doubt remain in office, the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias believes: "Justice Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz has recognised the clear evidence of this abuse in parliament and already apologised. … It is good that she admits the mistake. But she forgot her true political responsibility in doing so. This episode is a clear sign that irregular practices are being used within the institutions. Naturally the Socialists didn't fail to use this opportunity to call for the minister's immediate resignation. But Prime Minister Passos Coelho won't sack his minister just three months before the election." (27/06/2015)

La Vanguardia - Spain

Spain's new mayors set a good example

Many of the new leftist mayors elected in May started their terms by cutting their own salaries. For the conservative daily La Vanguardia such symbolic acts are highly important: "The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, promised in her election campaign that she'd significantly dock her own pay. And in doing so she follows the code of ethics of the group Barcelona en Comù, on whose platform she ran. And the new mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, announced that she too would significantly cut her pay. These cuts, from 110,000 to 43,000 [annually] euros in Barcelona and from 100,000 to 40,000 in Madrid, are a huge step forward for the left. ... Further cuts, for example in reducing the use of official cars or other expenses, set a commendable example for a population that has suffered intensely from the effects of the crisis." (29/06/2015)

Der Standard - Austria

Transnistria poses major threat to Europe

Ukraine has closed its border with the region of Transnistria, which although legally part of the Republic of Moldova is supported by Moscow. A new crisis for Europe is in the offing, the centre-left daily Der Standard warns: "With its blockade Kiev aims to weaken Moscow by forcing it to commit more resources in support of its small military contingent in Transnistria, or even to oblige Moscow to retreat in humiliation. In Moscow's revanchist circles the dream of spreading the 'Russian world' as far as the Dniester lives on. The price of such a plan is high: tanks and artillery have destroyed the lives of thousands of people. Igniting a new fuse in a nearby crisis region will not only hold more innocent civilians hostage, it also threatens to spark a pan-European conflagration." (30/06/2015)


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Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

Poland's Church interfering in politics

The Polish Episcopal Conference has announced that it was "greatly disappointed" at the news of the passing of a new law on artificial insemination last week. Once again the Church is interfering inadmissibly in politics, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza criticises: "Naturally the Church is entitled to its own stance on artificial insemination. But it must represent that stance in a civilised way, without denigrating anyone. However the bishops seem to have frequently had a problem with this recently. Nor should they interfere with secular laws or rate politicians according to their Catholic principles. Once again they have overstepped their bounds here. … Once again the clergy prefer to exert pressure on politicians rather appealing to the faithful directly." (30/06/2015)

Göteborgs-Posten - Sweden

Don't be afraid to criticise sexist Islam

Muslim organisations in Sweden have accused the leftist member of parliament Amineh Kakabaveh of spreading racist prejudices after she criticised the growing religious constraints on women in immigrant neighbourhoods in Sweden's suburbs. The liberal daily Göteborgs-Posten comes to Kakabaveh's support: "There's nothing new about such reactions to criticism. When the phenomenon of honour violence first caught the public eye in Sweden, many people spoke of chimaeras used to disguise racism against Muslims. ... The fact is that women in traditional religious milieus have significantly less freedom than those in a secular, modern environment. ... The fear of being labelled racist is great in Sweden. But the fear of remaining silent when people are oppressed should be even greater." (30/06/2015)

De Telegraaf - Netherlands

Police in The Hague hushes up fatal arrest

Protests in The Hague gave way to rioting on Monday evening following the death of a man from the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba after he was violently arrested at a festival. The police had stated afterwards that the man collapsed only after being taken into custody. A deliberate lie, the right-wing daily De Telegraaf fumes: "You get the impression that a severe breach - unnecessary police violence - was deliberately hushed up. The prosecutors withdrew the deceitful statement after video images and eyewitnesses confirmed a very different state of affairs. The images show that the man lost consciousness when he was overpowered by several officers. Perhaps there was a reason for their brutality. ... But the fact that the public and the media were initially misled by an invented story leaves us fearing the worst." (30/06/2015)


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Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

Delfi ruling bad for modern journalism

According to the European Court of Human Rights' mid-June ruling on the Delfi case, the operators of websites are responsible for their users' offensive comments. In the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht lawyer Karmen Turk voices doubt that this will be the end of the debate: "The online media in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe now have three options: they can continue with their comment platforms as before, they can make changes to them or they can end the 'conversation with the reader'. Former editor-in-chief of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger sees open journalism as the only way for digital media to survive. In this new form of journalism a reader-journalist dialogue takes place. … The court will hopefully soon have the opportunity to rule on a similar case and correct its judgement, because the current one raises more questions than it provides answers." (30/06/2015)

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