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Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 20/01/2016

Renzi's impudence a tactical manoeuvre

The tone has grown harsher in the dispute between Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over budget deficit limits. Renzi has now accused the EU of trying to take control of Italy. But there's a strategy behind his vocal criticism, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger points out: "This is what wrangling looks like in Europe. Normally the whole process is very civilised, particularly among the major states. Matteo Renzi, however, clearly has different intentions this time in brashly picking a fight with Brussels (and also with Berlin). Particularly now that Germany is preoccupied with its own affairs. The crescendo is a race he can't lose no matter how much he is criticised for it in Italy. In Brussels (and in Berlin) no one can seriously be interested in seeing the reformer from Italy and the only passionate European among its leaders fail. Even if he does hit the wrong note every now and then." (20/01/2016)

De Standaard - Belgium | 20/01/2016

Where is Donald Tusk?

In the EU's current crisis the President of the European Council Donald Tusk must lead the way, the liberal daily De Standaard stresses: "In the EU's current difficult situation we can and must expect more from the leaders than that they simply keep on repeating how serious the situation is. They must increase the sense of urgency in every capital and unite the camps. … Today's Europe is a chaotic heap; a cacophony of voices. Everyone urgently wants a solution but no one is willing to bear all the consequences. Europe as a solidarity-based union that masters one crisis after another because in the end the will to stay together is stronger than the quarrelling? This Europe is struggling painfully. Someone must point the way and remind Europe's leaders of their responsibilities. And that someone's name is Donald Tusk." (20/01/2016)

Le Monde - France | 19/01/2016

Hollande's education campaign the right course

French President François Hollande has come under fire for plans to fight unemployment with educational measures for 500,000 job seekers. For Yves Barou, chairman of the country's association for adult education, such criticism is the result of a typically French problem: "Everyone relies on education for himself and for his children! And many companies can't find people with the skills they need! ... Refusing those in difficulties the right to education is a form of French elitism based on disdain for implementation tasks and the rejection of professional careers for non-management staff.  … France's competitiveness depends on its ability to innovate in digital technology and the energy transition. For that we need entrepreneurs and engineers, but also specially trained technicians and experts." (19/01/2016)

Polityka - Poland | 20/01/2016

Row with Poland symbolic of the EU crisis

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said on Tuesday in the European Parliament that neither the restructuring of the Constitutional Tribunal nor the new media law contravened European regulations. The conflict between Poland and the EU reflects the division of the entire continent, the centre-left news magazine Polityka writes: "Today this line of conflict runs between the pro- and anti-Europeans. In the pro-European camp are the Christian democrats, liberals and social democrats, while the anti-Europeans include nationalists, populists and anti-liberals. Until now Poland has clearly belonged to the pro-European camp. But under the leadership of the PiS it is now crossing over to the camp of the EU opponents and striking out on the same path as Hungary under Prime Minister Orbán." (20/01/2016)

Cumhuriyet - Turkey | 19/01/2016

Ankara should have cracked down on IS and PKK

According to media reports 961 foreign IS fighters were apprehended in Turkey in 2015. The current terrorism problem is the result of the ruling AKP government being too gentle on its opponents, the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet believes: "Just three years ago the AKP was on moderate terms with everyone: it was sitting down at the negotiation table with the PKK; it accepted it. … The IS was - carefully formulated - neither friend nor foe. Its fighters could receive medical treatment in Turkey and IS-affiliated groups were even free to hold meetings. … The moderate relations of yesterday have turned into all-out war today. Because the IS is at least as brutal and inhumane a terrorist organisation as the PKK. They use the same methods. ... The one organisation beheads people with swords, the other with bombs. Yesterday's moderate relations with the IS and PKK have paved the way for today's atrocities and chaos." (19/01/2016)

Jutarnji list - Croatia | 19/01/2016

Bosnia can confidently seek to join EU

Bosnia and Herzegovina has announced it will submit its official application for EU membership by the end of the month. Brussels' reservations should only reaffirm the country's resolve, comments the liberal daily Jutarnji list: "So far Sarajevo has lacked the courage for this step because the politicians were aware of the chaos into which they have plunged the country. And Brussels also has always warned that it was 'too early' for membership negotiations. However, the EU itself is largely to blame for this, because Bosnia has been a so-called international protectorate for too long for the international community to reject all responsibility for the current desolate state of the country. All other states in the region are now on course for EU membership. … The fact that the expansion process as a whole is stagnating should not deter Bosnia but rather encourage it to put in its application as soon as possible so that it can be all the more resolute when it comes to introducing the necessary reforms." (19/01/2016) - Germany | 18/01/2016

Berlin must cooperate with Maghreb states

The government in Berlin wants to speed up deportations of asylum seekers from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia whose applications have been rejected. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel threatened in an interview to suspend development aid for countries that refuse to take back refugees. Cooperation based on an egalitarian approach would be better, public-service news website admonishes: "Algeria and Morocco are important partners for Europe and Germany when it comes to cooperation on security - and in particular on counter-terrorism measures and exchange of information. And both governments tend to react badly to external pressure. Threats are no good here. … Spain has shown how one can work more closely with Morocco and considerable improve collaboration: there are regular consultations between the governments. … Pointing your finger at other countries in televised interviews is not the way to do successful politics." (18/01/2016)

Expresso - Portugal | 16/01/2016

Portugal's 35-hour week a mistake

The Portuguese parliament voted in favour of a return to a 35-hour week in the public service sector at first reading on Friday. The liberal weekly Expresso sees this as the wrong decision: "Why should public servants work an hour less a day than those who work in the private sector? Of all the wrong measures this government has adopted so far this is the most symbolic because it shows how the government is once again kowtowing to the unions as it's done on other measures, for example in the education and transport industries. … We will see what this kind of policy brings and what surprises await us when our finance minister presents the draft budget." (16/01/2016)

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 18/01/2016

Time for a new Geneva Convention

Setting an upper limit on the number of refugees a country takes in is not compatible with current asylum law, Koen Lenaerts, President of the European Court of Justice, said in an interview on Monday. Then the asylum law must be changed, writes the centre-left daily The Guardian: "What is needed is a new Geneva refugee convention. It could limit the group qualification for refugee status, or the right of those fleeing to seek refuge outside their home region, or the length of time they may stay. It could try to guarantee places of safety for civilians in war zones. Historically the UN-approved 'responsibility to protect' clause was that shield, but that too is failing. Another reason to rethink the whole thing." (18/01/2016)

La Repubblica - Italy | 17/01/2016

Renzi's tactical battle with Brussels

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker vehemently rejected criticism from Rome of the budgetary targets for EU member states on Friday, prompting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to call for more respect for his country. Renzi is trying to score points with Italian voters, the centre-left daily La Repubblica observes: "Our prime minister is beating the election campaign drum. … This wave of nationalism is aimed at public opinion. Italy, like almost all other EU countries, is seeing its citizens grow increasingly indifferent vis-à-vis the politicians. The proportion of non-voters and voters who are against Europe and the euro now stands at 67 percent. … With this new surge of nationalism the likes of which we haven't seen since Mussolini's times, Renzi is trying to rouse the indifferent citizens into action and take the wind out of the sails of the anti-EU forces. And he might just pull it off, too." (17/01/2016)

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