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The paper clip

06.02.2013 / 09:53 CET
A round-up of the international press on Wednesday, 6 February.

The UK and France are heading for a showdown at this week's European Council, the Guardian writes. François Hollande, France's president, yesterday indicated that the UK was the biggest obstacle to a deal on the EU's long-term budget. Le Monde says that Hollande, who yesterday addressed MEPs in Strasbourg, promised to bring stability to the single currency.

Anti-corruption lawyers in Spain will today question the former treasurer of the governing Popular Party, Luis Barcenas, over claims of secret payments to leading party members, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The story is all over the Spanish press, including El País and La Vanguardia. There is, though, uncertainty in the rival Socialist camp: El País writes that a leader of the Socialists in Galicia believes it was premature of the party's national leader to call for Rajoy's resignation at this point. An employers' association believes that the scandal is “catastrophic” for the image of Spain, El País writes.

Europe's ambitions to launch transatlantic trade talks at a summit on Thursday have been disappointed by Washington's reluctance to commit itself to negotiations amid US doubts over the EU's resolve, the Financial Times reports.

La Repubblica reports that governments across Europe are "alarmed" by the prospect of a political comeback for Silvio Berlusconi in a parliamentary election later this month.

A survey reveals that more than one-third of French people support some of the ideas of the far-right Front National, Liberation writes.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, has said that it would not be a tragedy if his country didn't join the EU, writes Hurriyet Daily News.

The Financial Times carries a commentary on a German proposal for the EU to have “contracts for competitiveness and growth”. The idea, to put it bluntly, is to bribe reluctant governments into changing their economic policies. It may backfire – and a better approach is available, he writes.

Bulgaria's government has said that a terrorist attack against Israeli tourists that killed six people in the port city of Burgas last year was the work of Hezbollah, a radical Shia movement from Lebanon, writes L'Orient-Le Jour from Beirut. The EU has not designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Lebanon's prime minister, Nagib Mikati, pledged his country's full co-operation in any investigation.

France plans to start withdrawing troops from Mali in March, the UK's Daily Telegraph writes. Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, said the focus will switch to searching for Islamist rebels in the north of Mali.

Tomislav Nikolic, Serbia's president, will meet Atifete Jahjaga, his Kosovar counterpart, in Brussels today, writes Blic. The meeting is a first since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia five years ago.

Plagiarism has cost the German education minister her doctorate, the Czech daily Lidové noviny writes. For the time being, though, Annette Schavan retains her post.

British MPs last night voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage, the Guardian writes.

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's deputy prime minister in charge of crime-fighting, tells Politika that "no criminals" will be allowed to sit in Serbia's government. Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialists, the junior partner in the coalition government, has come under pressure in recent days following revelations that he met several times with an associate of a fugitive crime boss.

Lebanon's Daily Star reports on the military training of teenage boys by Syria's rebels.

Like-for-like renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent is neither strategically sound nor economically viable, write two commentators in the UK's Daily Telegraph.

The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, has held his first working meeting with the country's new president, Miloš Zeman. Zeman said immediately after his election on 26 January that he thought Nečas's troubled government should call early elections. According to Lidové noviny, Nečas commented on future meetings: “President-elect Zeman uses brutal methods against me – he smokes, for example – and so we'll have to find a way to resolve that problem.”

© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.

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