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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 21/08/2015



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Tsipras wants new elections in Greece

An interim government will be put in place after Tsipras's resignation. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation on Thursday. New elections are expected to be held in mid-September, and Tsipras has said he hopes to gain a strong mandate for his party. The prime minister's decision could stabilise both Greece and Europe, some commentators write in praise. Others believe Tsipras is intentionally making people vote before they feel the impact of the austerity programme.

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Tsipras deserves a place in politicians' Olympus

With his resignation Tsipras has once again demonstrated courage and good reasoning, comments the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore jubilantly: "On his own against everyone else five weeks ago in Brussels, Tsipras was bold enough to capitulate to Europe's dictates to save his country from certain disaster. Then after six months of ideological provocations and impossible demands he managed to negotiate a third bailout package for Greece within just 30 days. If he now passes this third test with flying colours and presses ahead with Greece's recovery and modernisation, Tsipras will not only deserve a place in the Olympus of great Greek statesmen, but could also become the go-to man for new European policy: the man who through an incredible and far-sighted ideological about-face prevented a Grexit and saved not only his own country but also the euro. He has shown that having the courage to be intellectually flexible - a rare virtue in European culture and thought - is ultimately everyone's moral obligation." (21/08/2015)

Polityka - Poland

Clear majority in Athens also good for EU

A victory for former prime minister Alexis Tsipras in the September elections would stabilise not only Greece but all of Europe, the online edition of the centre-left news magazine Polityka believes: "Currently there is no one he could lose to, because Greece sees no alternative to him. What does this new turn of political events mean for Europe? Of course any election campaign will take its toll on the economy, but that's no reason to panic. There's a strong likelihood that Tsipras will receive a stable majority. That could improve the mood in Greece, which not so long ago was threatened with bankruptcy. And in time the country's relations with Europe could also normalise. What Greece needs most right now is calm to help it slowly emerge from the crisis." (21/08/2015)

La Libre Belgique - Belgium

Favourable wind blowing for Tsipras

Tsipras is playing his hand like a poker player and looks set to win the next round, the daily La Libre Belgique comments: "Even before getting his cards, a player has to take stock of how much he can bet. Transposed to Tsipras's terrain, this indicates that the winner of seven months ago should also take the next elections. Without an opposition that's able to get the better of Syriza and without a genuine programmatic debate, the real risk Tsipras faces comes from his own far-left party. …  There, too, the context seems to favour Tsipras: short of resigning en masse and creating a party that starts over from scratch, the Syriza MPs who no longer give the government their vote of confidence can only campaign for their own party, and therefore for Tsipras." (21/08/2015) - Greece

Syriza leader risking his popularity

Alexis Tsipras is sending the Greeks back to the polling stations before they are confronted with the repercussions of the new austerity memorandum and he loses his popular support, the liberal website Protagon writes: "The elections will be held before the people receive notification of the new property tax (which Tsipras had wanted to abolish), before pensions are slashed (which Tsipras had considered taboo), and before taxpayers receive their tax assessments. ... His main reason for holding new elections now is to catch the other parties off guard and limit the damage that comes from being in power - in the hope that he will still be the one making the decisions after the elections. ... So far the prospects seem favourable. But that could change. In Tsipras's case the old adage could hold: 'The thief gets away once, then twice, but the third time he gets caught." (21/08/2015)


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Aargauer Zeitung - Switzerland

Calais needs a European solution

The governments in London and Paris plan to set up a joint control and demand centre in Calais to stop refugees using the Eurotunnel to reach the UK. The liberal daily Aargauer Zeitung sees this as a sign of weakness and calls for a pan-European solution: "In general such selective police - and recently also military - measures simply shift the problem elsewhere: if the smuggler gangs can no longer get through in Calais they will simply transfer their operations to neighbouring Dunkirk or to a Belgian canal port. And the migrants won't go to England but to Germany or Sweden instead. … The response must be at the pan-European level. That's what the EU is for, that's what the European Council with its quarterly summits is for. Up to now, however, the heads of state and government haven't even been able to agree on refugee quotas. Yet they must reach far more extensive agreements and decide on a European policy for foreigners and refugees." (21/08/2015)

The Malta Independent - Malta

Tackle refugee problem in countries of origin

Europe must not close its borders to refugees, argues the centre-right daily The Malta Independent: "Many believe that the solution is to close Europe's borders. But that will not stop the problem. The real solution is to offer peace, stability and the possibility of a good future in the countries of origin. That, however, will take decades. ... August will soon roll into September and the weather will become more and more unsettled. Migrants will be more desperate to make the trip before the weather turns, and that is going to lead to more overcrowding on boats, which will ultimately translate into more deaths. We are still very far from finding a solution." (20/08/2015)

Blog Mozgástér - Hungary

EU leaving Hungary in the lurch on borders

The EU is leaving Hungary in the lurch when it comes to protecting its Schengen borders, political scientist Tamás Lánczi criticises on blog portal Mozgástér: "The spokesman of the EU Commission explained at a press conference that Brussels expects Hungary to protect its Schengen borders, but with its own means. … It doesn't take much imagination to see that a country with just under ten million inhabitants lacks both the material and physical resources to stop 200,000 to 250,000 refugees this year. The EU has made 60 million euros available for that. Only: added to the fact that that isn't even an adequate handout we're not allowed to use the money for protecting the borders, but only for integrating illegal migrants. In other words: we're supposed to protect EU borders using Hungarian taxpayers' money and use EU funding to ensure the education of immigrants." (20/08/2015)

Lietuvos žinios - Lithuania

Duda's first foreign trip to Estonia a wise move

Poland's new President Andrzej Duda will travel to Estonia on August 23 for his first official visit abroad, it was announced on Monday. The conservative daily Lietuvos žinios can understand why a similar trip to Lithuania is not planned for this year: "This is no doubt the cleverest choice the new president could have made in view of his country's domestic political agenda and relations with Lithuania. ... Duda has dovetailed Poland's domestic and foreign policy priorities, and kept his election promise to pay more attention to the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Of all countries, Lithuania should feel the least 'insulted' by this goal. ... Lithuania was not named explicitly. Nevertheless we should remember what was said during the [Polish] election campaign: relations will not be improved at the expense of Poles living in Lithuania." (21/08/2015)


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Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

Marta Švagrová calls on people to remember the Prague Spring

Today, Friday, marks the anniversary of the invasion by the Warsaw Pact troops that crushed the Prague Spring in 1968. How can the memory of this event be kept alive, asks feature writer Marta Švagrová in the conservative daily Lidové noviny: "When our son, who was in the first grade at school at the time, once discovered a well-hidden photo album with pictures from 1968 of tanks, barricades and bloody flags, we were shocked. We had wanted to keep those pictures from our children until we thought they were ready to see them. But when is the best time to tell young people the truth? Perhaps as early as possible. When young people go to university yet don't have any idea about what their grandmothers went through half a century ago, then it's too late. It doesn't occur to the young to ask questions if their families remain silent. True, there are films and recordings that are broadcast on the television and radio around August 21st every year. But nothing can replace the personal memories one can pass on. As long as those who experienced it are still alive." (21/08/2015)


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Die Tageszeitung taz - Germany

Integrate refugees to boost economy

Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees this week adjusted the number of asylum seekers it expects for this year upwards to 800,000. This will entail costs of around ten billion euros for the federal states and local authorities - but the spending will actually have a stimulating effect on the economy, the left-wing daily taz explains: "Building contractors will profit because they will be hired to build refugee centres. Caterers who supply food for asylum centres will also do good business. The same goes for the refugees as what happened during reunification: the government expenditures will have the same effect as a stimulus package. … In Germany sixteen million citizens have a 'migration background'. This hasn't generated costs. On the contrary, the Bertelsmann Foundation published a study that focussed solely on inhabitants with a foreign status and found that per capita and per year they pay 3,300 euros more in taxes and social contributions than they receive from the state. So there's no need to panic. Instead the refugees should be integrated as quickly as possible. That will be worthwhile. For everyone." (21/08/2015)

Berlingske - Denmark

Denmark must offer more than a green image

The US computer giant Apple plans to build a new data centre in the Danish town of Viborg at a cost of over 800 million euros. An examination of the documents has revealed that the project has been classified as a heat and power plant due to the presence of a heating pump in the complex, and been given corresponding tax privileges. The country would do better to attract foreign business with a more favourable investment climate instead of engaging in such trickery, the centre-right daily Berlingske believes: "The motives for Apple's location in Viborg were given a makeover in the government report. A green image, sustainability and wonderful ideas for protecting the world. But in fact a more favourable investment climate would mean lower taxes and fees. A green profile is good, but the bottom line is that the figures do the talking. The fact that so much creativity was needed to bring Apple to Denmark shows that conditions for Danish businesses leave much to be desired." (21/08/2015)


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Novi list - Croatia

Croats know what it's like to flee

The Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić said on Wednesday that once Hungary's border fence is completed Croatia could become a new destination for refugees on their way to Europe. The centre-left daily Novi List reminds the Croats of their own past as refugees: "Such things are quickly forgotten, but during the times of conflict in former Yugoslavia little Austria took in 160,000 refugees from this region, 110,000 of whom stayed on permanently. The same was the case with Germany, Scandinavia, Canada and other countries. Many Croats live and work abroad who left not just because of the war, but also to try their luck elsewhere for political and economic reasons. … Many Croatian families know how hard it is to go abroad." (21/08/2015)

Duma - Bulgaria

Slovakia right to reject Muslims

Slovakia has announced that it does not want to accept Muslim refugees on the grounds that there are no mosques in the country. The left-leaning daily Duma understands the Slovakians' fears and believes the tolerance limit will soon be reached in the rest of Europe: "The Muslims want to maintain their culture, language, customs and religion in their 'new home' at all cost. They seal themselves off and see themselves as a separate, independent society. There are endless examples of this in Europe, which has recently reacted with growing annoyance to this trend. Instead of welcoming Islam with open arms, things will no doubt cool off in the weeks and months to come. This tendency can already be felt. Sooner or later the Europeans will wake up and see that they are the victims of a doctrine that no longer has anything to do with the idea of the European Union as a community of sovereign states. Hopefully Slovakians won't be forced to build mosques, but who knows." (21/08/2015)


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The Independent - United Kingdom

Drain the doping swamp in athletics

The former middle-distance track champion Sebastian Coe was named the new president of the IAAF, or International Association of Athletics Federations, on Wednesday. Cracking down on doping will be the British gold medallist's biggest challenge, the centre-left daily The Independent believes: "Coe will also have to find a way to police the parts of the sport that do not want to be policed. Life bans for convicted drugs cheats would be an important first step. Next, if anti-doping authorities in individual countries do not fully co-operate with requests from his independent body, he must consider bans for entire nations. He will also have to find the money to fund it. The body's current annual revenue is approximately £40m. Contrast that with the £14bn made by Nike and Adidas." (20/08/2015)

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