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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 18/11/2015

 

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France invokes mutual defence clause

This was the first time an EU member state has invoked the mutual defence guarantee. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

Paris called for military support from the EU states and invoked the Treaty of Lisbon on Tuesday evening to counter the terrorist threat. New methods are needed in the war against the IS terrorist organisation, write some commentators. Others point to the risks associated with activating the mutual defence clause.

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany

A risky call for assistance

France's appeal to the EU for military aid is understandable but unwise, the centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung argues: "Anyone who wants to show solidarity with France after the terror in Paris should fight alongside France, Hollande has urged. That doesn't have to be in Syria. France has soldiers in many crisis areas. ... Invoking the mutual defence guarantee laid down in the EU treaties is the only way Hollande can be sure he will get quick and substantial military aid on other fronts. However the situation will be much more critical should the French government at some point call on Europe to support its war against the IS in Syria. Denying assistance would mean leaving an attacked ally in the lurch. Germany, France's closest ally in Europe, cannot and should not do such a thing. At the same time, however, there is no consensus in Europe on whether violence is the right approach against the IS. ... For that reason Hollande's decision to invoke the EU 'casus foederis' could prove a mistake: if things come to a head it will divide - and paralyse - Europe." (18/11/2015)

ABC - Spain

Europe facing a new kind of war

Paris was right to invoke the mutual defence clause because Europe needs new answers to respond to the IS threat, writes the conservative daily ABC: "For the first time in history a terrorist group is controlling, governing and managing a territory with a population and economic resources. The political and police-based schemes used against conventional terrorist groups active in Europe like the [Basque] Eta, the [Irish] IRA, the [Italian] Red Brigades or the [German] Red Army Faction can't be applied here. Europe is facing new security threats and the answers to these challenges will force it to give up the habits that have allowed a group of fanatics to sow terror in the streets of Paris. Yes, this is a new war." (18/11/2015)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Mutual defence "light" a symbolic gesture

The centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger compares the advantages of an EU alliance with those of a Nato alliance: "A novelty in Brussels: the EU has activated its mutual defence clause for the first time ever. However, it's not yet clear what concrete help France is expecting. The symbolic gesture is more important anyway. And the EU can't offer much more than that; it doesn't have its own armed forces. Compared to Nato's mutual defence clause which was activated after 9/11 the EU version is at most a mutual defence guarantee 'light'. In a state of shock immediately after the Paris attacks there was talk of invoking the Nato clause again. But that debate is off the agenda. … What is really needed is a political solution to take the ground in Syria and Iraq from under the terrorist organisation's feet. The EU mutual defence clause allows Russia to continue participating in the Syria talks in Vienna. If Nato had got involved the Russians would no doubt have left - the result of a reflex left over from the Cold War." (18/11/2015)

La Stampa - Italy

Hollande gives himself a free hand with EU

By having the mutual defence clause activated Hollande has secured a lot of room for manoeuvre, the liberal daily La Stampa observes: "President Hollande had a good reason for invoking (at least for now) Article 42 of the EU treaties rather than Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty: he wants this declaration of support by the EU to give him the legitimacy he needs at a political and legal level. He wants to have free rein to intervene in the variable coalitions that are forming - with the US, Russia, and the regional powers. This double-track approach - unilateral and European - is typical of the politics of Paris, allowing it to gain the support of its partners while at the same time preventing any potential EU restrictions on France's international decisions." (18/11/2015)

POLITICS

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Le Monde - France

France mourning victims of its foreign policy

France has close ties with Saudi Arabia, and French arms manufacturers sell widely in the Middle East. But Paris turns a blind eye to the fact that the Saudis and the Emirates maintain ties with jihadi terrorists and have no respect for human rights, historians Sophie Bessis and Mohamed Harbi write in the centre-left daily Le Monde: "The victims of November 13 are also the victims of this voluntary blindness. ... It can never be stressed enough how much the double standard that has been erected as a political principle in the Middle East has fed resentment that has been stoked into hatred by radicals of all stripes. So yes, let's be realistic and demand the impossible. Let's demand that France put an end to its privileged relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two monarchies where Wahhabi Islam is the official religion, until they cut all ties with their jihadist epigons and as long as their laws and customs run counter to even minimum standards of humanity." (17/11/2015)

Irish Examiner - Ireland

Force the Gulf states to fight the IS

The West should threaten the wealthy Gulf states with sanctions to make them play a more active part in the fight against the Islamic State, the liberal daily Irish Examiner urges: "The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia are doing relatively little against the Islamic State, yet there must come a time when they will have to recognise that it is in their individual and collective interests to get rid of this cancer in their midst. The global reach of IS is matched by its global mission: to get rid of the 'infidel' in the Muslim world and convert everyone to their radical version of Islam. ... While the US and the EU have shown readiness to use economic sanctions against Russia and other countries, it may concentrate the minds of wealthy Arab states if they face the same sanctions unless they join the fight against IS." (17/11/2015)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany

IS terror unites Russia and West once again

First Western intelligence agencies and now the Russian intelligence service FSB have classified the crash of a Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 people on board as an act of terrorism. With this admission Russian President Vladimir Putin could move closer to forming a joint anti-terror alliance, hopes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "One wonders why it took the Russian authorities so long to openly address the reason for the crash. Russia's immediate reaction was to bombard the 'Islamic State's' headquarters in Syria whereas before it had concentrated on bombing the positions of Assad's enemies. Clearly the most recent wave of attacks has triggered a new military and diplomatic dynamic. As happened after 2001, a pragmatic alliance will probably form in which both sides, Russia and the West, draw closer to each other. Perhaps Putin can see now who Russia's real enemies are - and who are just imaginary enemies." (18/11/2015)

REFLECTIONS

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Iswestija - Russia

Global perspectives: Alexander Prokhanov predicts rise of a fascist Europe after attacks

The Paris attacks will prompt a spectacular shift to the right in Europe, the controversial nationalist author Alexander Prokhanov predicts in the pro-government Moscow-based daily Izvestia: "The European liberal project has run out of steam. The Schengen Area is breaking up into several zones fenced off with barbed wire. Multiculturalism is a thing of the past. The tolerance, the struggle to ignore the contradictions deeply embedded in human nature led to the series of attacks in Paris. Refugees from the Middle East and North Africa for whom Hollande shed French tears and whom Merkel embraced have become a threat to European civilisation. … The European nationalists who were considered backwards and pushed onto the sidelines in politics and in public life will rule Europe. It seems inevitable that Europe will become fascist. In the near future a constellation of European fascist states will be built on the ruins of the European Union. … The Nazi gene has survived the Holocaust and the Nuremberg Trials - it is dormant but is now ready to be reborn." (17/11/2015)

ECONOMY

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Jornal de Negócios - Portugal

Paris gives lame excuse for excessive deficit

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that his country won't be able to meet the EU's Stability and Growth Pact criteria owing to increased security expenditures as a result of the terrorist attacks. For the liberal business daily Jornal de Negócios this is just a lame excuse: "This is a strange way of justifying one's own incompetence. … When unforeseen costs are incurred you just have to cut spending in other areas. Which areas? Well, those areas that are less of a priority than national security. Justifying not adhering to the agreed budget reduction targets by putting forward such excuses paves the way for an arbitrary approach to excessive deficits: according to this argument, wouldn't the refugee crisis also provide Athens and Rome with good reason not to meet their budget reduction targets? If France sets a new trend here we'll soon have 19 countries in the Eurozone demanding such exemptions." (17/11/2015)

Der Standard - Austria

Tsiparas gets second chance for reforms

Now that Greece's international creditors have concluded that Athens has shown sufficient willingness to introduce reforms the first instalment of the bailout agreed in the summer will be paid out to the Greek government. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been given a second chance to rebuild his country, writes the centre-left daily Der Standard: "Tsipras has also been lucky regarding the state of the Greek economy: the weeks during which the country's banks were closed did far less damage than had been feared. The expected collapse doesn't appear to be materialising. If the prime minister now manages to push through real structural reforms against all the opposition the chances of the creditors waiving debt will increase. After the fiasco of his first term of office Tsipras has now been given a second chance. He must make the most of it." (18/11/2015)

SOCIETY

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Neatkarīgā - Latvia

Latvia safe from terrorists and refugees

The danger of a terrorist attack similar to the one in Paris taking place in Latvia is minimal, the national-conservative daily Neatkarīgā believes: "If all of Europe is drawn into the war, then Latvia will also become involved. The blessing in disguise, however, is that we are extremely poor and lie in the remote north-east corner of the European Union. That makes us uninteresting for refugees and terrorists. So far the refugees have used Latvia as a transit country on the way from Russia to Western Europe. The others who will be sent to us by Brussels in January won't want to stay here either, and will leave the country as soon as they can. Radical jihadists want to strike fear into our hearts. That's why the act of terrorism took place in grand and luxurious Paris. Eagles don't eat flies. So cold, remote Latvia is unsuited for such acts of terror." (17/11/2015)

Expressen - Sweden

Exodus to Europe: Swedes could lose trust in the state

Tents are in short supply in Sweden as a result of the steady flow of refugees arriving in the country. The state's inability to cope with the situation is worrying indeed, the social-liberal daily Expressen writes: "The Swedes rely on their politicians to solve all the problems that arise. Now those in power can't even come up with enough tents. ... The Greens want those who take in refugees to receive 2000 kronor [roughly 215 euros] per month; the Centre Party wants to leave it to the refugees to find their own accommodation. The politicians who are supposed to solve everything are now hoping for help from private individuals. ... We pay high taxes in Sweden, and now our good will is being called on to give the refugees a roof over their heads. Is something going very wrong here?" (17/11/2015)

Sega - Bulgaria

Exodus to Europe: Bulgarian police the best traffickers

According to the Bulgarian police roughly 27,000 refugees have been arrested for illegal entry into Bulgaria since the start of the year. But why are so few of them still in the country? the daily Sega asks: "You have to ask who has been making it so easy for the refugees to enter and exit Bulgaria, and why the intelligence services and border guards haven't arrested a single police officer who could have something to do with this. Clearly officers at the highest levels are involved in this huge business. Otherwise something would have come out long ago. The entire population in the Strandzha area [on the Bulgarian-Turkish border] as well as on the border to Serbia has become familiar with paths strewn with scraps of clothing left behind by the refugees to let those who follow know that the route is safe. Only the police seem to know nothing about it." (17/11/2015)

MEDIA

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Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

PiS taking control of state media

The new national conservative PiS government has presented specific data about how it plans to reform the state-run media in Poland. The liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza is less than optimistic about the results: "The new government wants to bring the media completely under its control. Several times in the past Kaczyński has blamed media that allegedly worked against him for his election defeats since 2005. This shows that the PiS has learned from past mistakes. Now the media are to help it remain in power. … The state-owned media will be run by a one-man management board elected by a five-member body, which in turn is chosen by the Sejm and the Senate - or effectively by the PiS. It speaks volumes about this media revolution that this one-man board can be dismissed at any time without having to wait until the legislative period comes to an end." (18/11/2015)

SPORT

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De Standaard - Belgium

Belgians must play football and party again

Football matches between Germany and the Netherlands as well as between Belgium and Spain were cancelled on Tuesday night after terror warnings. The liberal daily De Standaard can understand why: "These incidents show how little room to manoeuvre the politicians have. At the end of the day, it's up to them to calculate the risks. ... Nevertheless it is also in the best interests of the state to keep a cool head, even when it's under great pressure. In the meantime it's become perfectly normal for the international media to cite Belgium as a retreat for terrorists. ... Clearly by deploying more soldiers the Belgian government wants to do all it can to restore the country's honour and reduce the risk of violence. ... Security is the highest priority. But we must also return to normal as soon as possible. And getting together, playing football and partying are all part of that process." (18/11/2015)

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