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The paper clip

14.02.2013 / 10:30 CET
A round-up of the international press on Thursday, 14 February.

The EU and the US yesterday announced the start of talks on the creation of a free-trade zone. There are at least four good reasons for Europe to stay away from a free-trade zone, according to the German daily Die Welt . Among the other papers with coverage are the UK's Guardian, Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza, and Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. An EU trade deal with the US would strengthen the west economically and as a community of values, writes Die Presse in a commentary.

Barack Obama's State of the Union speech is the subject of commentary in many papers, including France's Le Monde. The UK's Independent writes that he is a president at the very height of his power. Obama is confident in his power and visibly liberated by the knowledge that he will never face the voters again, it writes.

Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, is to co-ordinate investigations into the horsemeat scandal, the Irish Times writes.

 

Greece plans to sell off state-owned gas firms DEPA and DEFSA and gaming company OPAP by the end of April, writes Kathimerini, as part of the government's privatisation programme.

Europe must set out a clear vision for reform of the financial sector to restore investor faith in the banking system, writes a commentator in the Financial Times.

Spain's El País looks at the impact of the EU's long-term budget on research spending.

Slovenia's centre-right minority government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa, embroiled in a corruption scandal, is surviving primarily because the opposition can't get its act together, writes Delo.

Russia sold twice as many weapons abroad in 2012 as in the previous year. It now has a portfolio of $37 billion (€27.6bn) in foreign orders and continues to sell anti-aircraft systems to Syria, the Moscow Times reports a senior arms trade executive as saying.

The Financial Times looks at the financial-transaction tax planned by a minority of EU member states. While the European Commission is confident the plan is legally sound, it writes, the long arm of the levy has raised the hackles of big investment banks.

The UK's Independent writes that the British government intends to impose fresh curbs on the access that nationals from other EU states have to benefits, healthcare, housing and legal aid.

Vuk Jeremic, the president of the UN General Assembly and a former foreign minister of Serbia, is to be thrown out of Serbia's Democratic Party tomorrow, according to Blic.

Europe's ship-breaking proposals may be illegal, lawyers are warning. According to a Guardian report, leaked papers express grave concerns over the shipping industry's bid to overturn a treaty on the disposal of toxic waste.

The latest European politician to set out a vision for Europe is Miroslav Lajčák, the Slovak foreign minister. Pravda has a report on a speech that he gave in Lonon yesterday.

Slovenia's Delo writes that Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed Ukrainian opposition leader, has been fined for contempt of court, for failing to attend a court hearing.

Heavy fighting is under way in northern Syria and gun-battles are raging closer and closer to the centre of the capital Damascus, writes L'Orient-Le Jour. Yesterday's fighting is reported to have left at least 190 people dead.

 
US President Barack Obama's hesitant foreign policy now relies on drones and targeted killings to deal with a complicated world abroad, writes Abu Dhabi's The National in a commentary.

A commentator in the Financial Times argues that it is time for a grand deal with North Korea. Sanctions have failed to stop the country developing nuclear weapons and the only answer seems to be for the West to do a deal, he argues.

The Financial Times writes in an editorial that both Turkey and the European Union would benefit from reviving accession talks.

Switzerland has reluctantly signed an agreement with the US for the quasi-automatic exchange of banking information, known as Fatca, writes the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

Libération has a report on a visit to India by France's President François Hollande.

The arguments against the use of drones collapse under scrutiny – and they are the most ‘democratic' weapon ever invented, Paddy Ashdown, the international community's former high representative in Bosnia, writes in the UK's Times.

Portugal's Publico reports on a bribery case involving figures close to the world of football.

© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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