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The paper clip

07.01.2013 / 11:39 CET
A round-up of the international news on Monday, 7 January.

European migrants could have their access to the UK's welfare state limited, David Cameron, the UK's prime minister, said yesterday as he
sought to appease Eurosceptics in his own party and the increasing
numbers of voters won over by the anti-EU rhetoric of the UK
Independence Party. The Independent has a report. The Guardian carries
an interview with Nigel Farage, in which the leader of the UK
Independence Party explains why he thanks God for David Cameron, the
Conservative prime minister, and why his once-crazy party will change
the face of British politics.

It is economically disastrous for the UK to place a question mark over
Britain's European Union membership and its benefits, Peter Mandelson,
the former European trade commissioner, writes in the Guardian.

A commentator in Spain's El País looks at the geopolitical realignment
in Europe being caused by the eurozone crisis. Spain's La Vanguardia
looks back at 2012 and argues that the EU proved the doomsayers wrong.

The Syrian opposition has dismissed calls by President Bashar Assad
for talks to end the 22-month conflict, the Guardian reports. The
rebels say Syrian president offered no meaningful concessions in his
first public speech in seven months, a speech in which he referred to
his opponents as “Western puppets”. Poland's Wprost writes that the EU
and Turkey have reiterated their calls for Assad to step down.

Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza looks at the first direct presidential
elections in the Czech Republic, which are due to take place next
week. According to Lidové noviny, the run-off is likely to be between
two former prime ministers, Miloš Zeman and Jan Fischer.

Jurnalul National looks at the EU's development funds for Romania,
concluding that this major benefit of accession has proven largely
theoretical because of Romania's inability to absorb the money.

Poland's Rzeczpospolita considers the (limited) impact that the
eurozone crisis is having on Belarusians' perceptions of the EU.

Governments have pushed themselves into a corner where austerity is
the default choice, writes a commentator in the Financial Times, under
the headline “US joins misguided pursuit of austerity”. Another
commentator in the Financial Times writes that the question for Tea
Party movement – state-shrinking austerity advocates in the US – is
whether they dive into their own political abyss in unison or in

Silvio Berlusconi, a former Italian prime minister, has announced an alliance with the separatist Lega Nord party and suggested that he could become economy minister should the right-wing bloc win February's general election, writes La Stampa.
Antonis Samaras, Greece's prime minister, is to hold talks in Berlin today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, writes Kathimerini.
Blic reports on another Orthodox Christmas behind barbed wire at the monastery of the Patriarchate of Peć in Kosovo. Kosovo's dwindling Serbian minority still requires NATO guards five years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

A defiant speech by Bashar Assad has quashed hopes for a quick end to Syria's civil war, writes Abu Dhabi's The National.

President Barack Obama is set to nominate Chuck Hagel, a maverick Republican former Senator, as his new secretary of defence, writes the New York Times.

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