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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 11/11/2015



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Cameron presents demands to EU

Cameron is demanding more power for national parliaments and restrictions on freedom of establishment. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


David Cameron presented on Tuesday in London the reforms that he proposes as conditions for the UK remaining in the EU. The EU must not let the British prime minister dictate the rules, some commentators argue. Others see the proposals as a good way out of the Union's never-ending crisis.

Avvenire - Italy

The distinctive British sense of humour

Cameron has dictated the rules to the EU with typical British humour, the Catholic daily Avvenire comments: "What Downing Street prefers to refer to as a 'flexible union of free member states' is in fact a dictate - Anglo-Saxon humour remains true to form. This is a very elegant way of underlining the growing distance between London and the Continent, the former's insuperable distrust of the EU, the euro and the community's rules. What Cameron is really saying is: Let us keep all the prerogatives, rebates and exemptions we have regarding the EU budget - and please take care not to come too close to our coastline. Only then may we do you the courtesy of remaining at least nominally in the EU. Excuse me, I mean the 'FUFMS', the Flexible Union of Free Member States." (11/11/2015)

Pravda - Slovakia

British roulette for Europe

The EU shouldn't let itself be lulled by Cameron's recommendation to the British that they vote against a Brexit, writes the left-leaning daily Pravda, pointing out that for the British prime minister too, the outcome of the referendum is completely unforeseeable: "It's questionable whether Cameron's promise will be enough for the 27 other member countries to grant exemptions to the British, some of which run counter to the basic principles of coexistence. For example the right of Europeans to live and work where they please in the entire Union. ... The idea of a two-speed Europe is discussed at every opportunity. Cameron, however, wants to see it set down on paper. In return for the EU giving up one of the basic precepts of European integration he proposes his referendum gamble, the result of which depends on many unpredictable factors. For example how popular his government happens to be when the referendum is held, or how successful Europe has been in getting the refugee crisis under control by then." (11/11/2015)

Financial Times - United Kingdom

Both sides must be willing to compromise

The EU should meet Cameron half-way on the topic of migrant workers' rights if it wants to prevent a Brexit, the liberal business paper Financial Times urges: "The one issue that will meet resistance in Europe is Mr Cameron's proposal to restrict access to in-work benefits for EU migrant workers. This will run into opposition from Poland and other eastern European states whose citizens seek opportunities to work throughout the bloc. Mr Cameron has wisely shown some flexibility, saying he is 'open to different ways of dealing with this issue'. EU leaders should similarly demonstrate some restraint. If they want to stop Brexit, the prime minister cannot be seen to fail on an issue that remains neuralgic for UK voters." (10/11/2015)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Cameron pushing for diverse forms of cooperation

The British prime minister's demands for EU reforms open up new opportunities for non-members like Switzerland, writes the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger: "Cameron's proposals for lowering immigration are confined to measures against so-called benefit tourism. They entail the demand that freedom of movement should not automatically give migrants access to the social welfare system of another country - something that many European capitals endorse. … What Cameron outlined yesterday is not a horror vision of Europe. On the contrary, it is the image of an EU that breaks with the logic of an ever tighter Union and in view of the constant crises it faces finds new and diverse forms of cooperation. … For countries like the UK the EU will always be an economic project; for the EU core state it is also a commitment to certain ideals. And for countries like Switzerland that don't want to join, the prospect of flexible solutions - and a third way - is increasing." (11/11/2015)


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Právo - Czech Republic

Berlin's friendly façade is crumbling

Coming on almost a daily basis now, the retractions from Berlin's once so refugee-friendly course are proof that Germany's policy of openness has failed, the left-wing daily Právo writes: "Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière furnished the most recent proof of this when he talked openly last Friday of restricted asylum without family members being able to join relatives in Germany. As if family members didn't deserve any compassion. The minister was not punished for his statement. On the contrary, other politicians backed him and now the minister's words are official. … De Maizière's words and the ensuing deeds are not the only sign that Germany's stance is changing. … What will happen to the crumbling propagandist façade if the policy quietly changes step by step? It will end as it always does: one waits until everything is forgotten. And then the whole façade finally breaks down." (11/11/2015)

Delo - Slovenia

Exodus to Europe: Ljubljana following Berlin and Vienna

Slovenia plans to build temporary barriers on its border with Croatia to ensure that refugees are steered towards the border crossing points. Controlled border crossing would still be possible, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar explained on Tuesday. According to Cerar, Austria and Germany have decided not to take in more than 6,000 refugees daily. The centre-left daily Delo identifies two reasons for the decision to erect barriers: "On the one hand Slovenia is gradually relieving itself of the burden of the refugee problem, which is also taking a toll on its domestic affairs. On the other hand we are seeing Europe's willingness to be completely open to the influx of refugees come to an end in a synchronised way. There can be no doubt that Slovenia is symbolically closing its borders with the approval of Germany and Austria. A tightening of our two northern neighbours' border policy regarding the refugees is foreseeable for the near future." (11/11/2015)

Público - Portugal

Portugal's democracy can mature now

In Portugal a left-wing alliance toppled the conservative minority government with a vote of no confidence on Tuesday. Whether a left-leaning government will now be formed depends on President Cavaco Silva. The liberal daily Público is delighted to see things livening up in the country: "Our political scene has taken on a dynamic and unpredictable quality that didn't exist before. The routine of the traditional government scenarios has been broken. … With the end of the centre-right bloc our democracy can become more mature, more participative - in other words, better. … Since this path has never been taken before, the outcome is uncertain. In parliament the Left Bloc (BE) stressed 'the steps that the parties had been able to take together' - which naturally only emphasises those they haven't been able to take. If the Socialist leader António Costa becomes the new prime minister it will by no means be easy for him to overcome the differences with the BE and the Communists." (11/11/2015)

Jutarnji list - Croatia

Rajoy gives grist to the mill of separatists

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajy could be playing into the hands of secessionists with his staunch opposition to Catalonian independence, the liberal daily Jutarnji list believes: "The governing People's Party is just as opposed to secession as its rivals the Socialists and the new Ciudadanos party. Podemos is being more reserved with its criticism so as to win a few points in Catalonia since it has lost considerable support recently. What is fascinating is Prime Minister Rajoy's stubbornness. In shrilly maintaining that separation is out of the question he is only helping the separatists. They were unable to achieve 50 percent of the vote in the regional elections, meaning the referendum could end like the one in Scotland. The alternative is that Rajoy - or a new prime minister after the elections in December - stops ranting on and on whenever someone brings up secession and initiates negotiations on the redistribution of the tax burden." (11/11/2015)

Hotnews - Romania

Ciolos would be too good as Romanian PM

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday proposed the independent Dacian Ciolos as the country's new prime minister following the resignation of Victor Ponta. The news portal Hotnews is enthusiastic about the former EU commissioner but doubts that parliament will support him: "Ciolos's advantages are plain for all to see: his professionalism, his honesty and the management capabilities which he has already demonstrated in positions of responsibility. However these qualities also make him vulnerable. He's a technocrat, unpopular among the parties, and a complete loner when it comes to the game of politics. The parties will quickly attempt to make him more malleable. Ciolos wants to form his cabinet on his own. But it's hard to imagine that the parties in parliament will accept not being able to put forward a single minister. If Ciolos gambles everything on a single card he risks getting no support from parliament. Or if he does get some support, he risks being subjected to continual sabotage by a hostile parliament." (10/11/2015)


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Le Vif / L'Express - Belgium

Liza Lebrun calls for a people's climate summit

The World Climate Conference that starts in Paris on November 30 will be too focussed on the interests of the multinationals, environmentalist Liza Lebrun writes in the weekly magazine Le Vif/L'Express: "It's as good as certain that the proposed mechanisms will be tailored to the interests of the market. This is already the case with emissions trading, which under the cover of the fight against global warming is in fact a new source of profit for the multinationals. And in the same way the mechanisms will put the burden of (pseudo-) environmental and climate policies on the population rather than on those who are really responsible for the current situation, namely the companies and their shareholders. No ambitious, binding and socially equitable agreement can be reached without calling into question the logic of maximising profits that currently guides our governments' policies. And one of the most striking symptoms of this logic is the involvement of the multinationals in the COP21. For this reason we demand a climate summit that focusses on the interests of the people - and not those of the multinationals." (10/11/2015)


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Haniotika Nea - Greece

Athens' politicians turning into salesmen

The German airport operator Fraport is to take over the management of 14 airports in Greece as part of the biggest privatisation in the country's history. In the Cretan regional paper Haniotika Nea the academic and columnist Antonis Skamnakis criticises the members of government who had rejected the move until now: "This is much more than a change in political position in the name of pragmatism, as is typical for parties and politicians in power. It is a question of political consistency. In fact these politicians knew that much rides on the privatisation of the 14 regional airports in addition to ideological and programmatic considerations. This is also about our national sovereignty, the economy and the general management of the local municipalities. ... Most of the members of the current ruling coalition were not only against privatisation, but also took part in actions against these privatisations." (10/11/2015)


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T24 - Turkey

Turks couldn't care less about human rights

The EU progress report published on Monday criticises a massive decline in the human rights situation in Turkey. According to a current survey, however, only around five percent of Turks want the new government to do more to promote democracy and human rights. It's no wonder, the liberal online paper T24 explains: "The people reward those who make their lives - and society - more secure. Abstract terms are meaningless for them as long as their personal quality of life doesn't suffer. They don't care when other people's rights are violated because they themselves feel secure. Since they couldn't trust the other parties, the people chose the lesser evil by voting for the AKP. ... In the elections on July 7 they didn't feel pressured to vote for security. But in the November elections they did. The AKP recognised this and had no qualms about carrying out an operation against the Koza İpek holding just a few days before the elections - which even secured it more votes. If the voters had been concerned about democracy the AKP would never have dared to do such a thing." (11/11/2015)

Magyar Nemzet - Hungary

Helmut Schmidt was Germany's conscience

The former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt died on Tuesday aged 96. He was a cult figure of public life in Germany, journalist Péter Techet remembers in the conservative daily Magyar Nemzet: "He was the living conscience of the German public - for some, too much so. … Helmut Schmidt was more conservative, more Atlantic-minded and more European than most German social democrats. While Brandt represented cosmopolitan elegance and left-wing romantic and Schröder took a stance that was critical of the US, as a Social Democratic Party (SPD) chancellor Schmidt embodied the social centre. The SPD has never since managed to find a politician who was left-wing in his moral stance but not led astray by utopias. … However because of this attitude, as chancellor Schmidt did not have much power within his own party - and later he had even less." (11/11/2015)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

Poland's fascists are still fascists

"Down with Islam" was written on a placard with which Polish nationalists called on people to take part in a demonstration in Wroclaw on Wednesday to mark Poland's Independence Day. The fact that the slogans, images and writing are reminiscent of Nazi propaganda makes the situation clear, writes Jacek Harłukowicz in the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza: "If this isn't enough proof that we're talking about racists and neo-fascists here who are simply using the holiday to spark rioting, then I don't know what is. Today's fascists don't chant 'Heil Hitler' or 'Jews out' any more because they know that doing so would make them guilty of a punishable offence. So the racists have reflected and learned to disguise their slogans. But that doesn't mean that they no longer think this way. On Wednesday they will demonstrate because they are proud of their race. They are distancing themselves from all foreigners, immigrants, refugees and Muslims." (10/11/2015)


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Die Welt - Germany

Fifa's dirt also clings to the clean

In the corruption affair surrounding the award of the 2006 Fifa World Cup to Germany accusations are now being levelled at Franz Beckenbauer, who was head of the organising committee at the time. According to admissions by the German Football Association, Beckenbauer signed an agreement with Fifa shortly before Germany was named to host the event. The accusations are hardly surprising, the conservative daily Die Welt writes: "Anyone who jumps into a dirty pond shouldn't be surprised when he doesn't come out smelling of roses. The Fifa system doesn't run on warm words and good arguments. 209 national associations are represented by the federation, and they all have a vote in the Congress, its supreme decision-making body. How many of them share Western European values? Of course that doesn't release anyone from the obligation to respect law and order. Furthermore, Fifa has clear guidelines banning bribery and complicity. But in closed systems without an independent supervisory authority things can quickly start to fester." (11/11/2015)

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