European press review
The debt crisis in Spain, Germany's push for a United States of Europe and Britain's celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee make the front pages of Europe's papers.
We start this week with Europe's debt crisis. As if things weren’t bad enough, they got worse for Spain this week.
For Portugal's Publico, Europe's worst nightmare has come true. Spain will be forced to ask for outside help to raise money. Spanish banks are thought to need around 40 billion euros in the short term.
According to one estimate, the banks could be facing losses of up to 260 billion euros over the next two years. Spain is hoping to avoid a full blown international bailout, which would be politically damaging and come with tough conditions.
But it could need funds to keep its banks afloat. The European Union and Group of Seven major world powers say they won't leave Spain in the lurch. But time is running out, the paper warns.
Germany, meanwhile, has been pushing for a new United States of Europe to make sure crises like this one do not happy again in the future.
Britain's Guardian reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the EU to move toward greater political, banking and fiscal union. That’s the price if Berlin is going to pay for what she sees as the failure of other governments.
EU leaders are meeting at the end of June to discuss a new eurozone integration plan being drawn up by senior Union officials. The hope, the left-leaning daily says, is that this plan will convince the markets of Europe’s determination to save the single currency.
The impact of the project, if it gets off the ground, will be immense. It's likely to create a more entrenched two-speed Europe. Key decisions would be taken in the 17 eurozone nations, and not the EU of 27 anymore.
In Russia this week, parliament voted to tighten laws on restricting demonstrations.
The move will see penalties for violence significantly increased. Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says the measures are typical of President Vladimir Putin. That is, despotism dressed up as law.
A whole pile of measures were added that essentially ban the right to assembly, the conservative daily says. There weren't that many rights in the first place, but apparently Putin saw them as a threat, especially after the protests that marked his return to office. Now even the organisers of demonstrations can be held accountable for the acts of drunken protestors, the paper says.
Plenty of headlines were made this week as Britain and the Commonwealth marked diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.
For the Irish Times, the Queen's celebration of 60 years on the throne coincides with polls showing that the British public retains a deep affection for the royal family. Support in Scotland, where independence moves are being mulled, is a little lower, although one in two Scots are still in favour of the monarchy.
The million spectators who turned out for the festivities in the pouring rain are testament to this. But this was no celebration of power, the liberal daily says. The Queen only rules over her subjects in a very limited sense. In Ireland, the monarchy jars with our sense of modernity and democratic values. But our neighbour, still recovering from the loss of empire, must be free to entertain its cherished delusions.
We end this week in Lithuania, with some interesting media preparations for the next general elections.
The weekly Veida has just started informing its readers about the candidates for the October polls. But it has decided not to waste time analysing the political platforms of the parties. Why bother, the magazine says, they never implement their programmes anyway.
Even their members don't bother with this stuff, and they rarely know what they should be voting for in parliament. The only ideologies the parties have are a lust for power and EU money. Veidas now plans to look at what parties and officials promised ahead of the last four elections, and what they actually made good on after.
It will be good to show the true faces of all these villains and good-for-nothings, it says.