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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
European press review

European papers fail to agree on whether the "yes" vote in Luxembourg yesterday has breathed new life into the European Constitution. To the east, papers focus on the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

Back from the dead?

Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau says those who declared the constitution dead after the French and Dutch "no" votes have been proved wrong.

"Although the European Constitutional Treaty has not been saved yet by Luxembourg's 'yes' it has been granted a breathing space and a new chance," the paper says.

According to the daily, the outcome shows that it is sensible to continue the ratification process until all 25 member states have had their say.

"If in the end there is a clear picture of approval, then it will become easier to save the essence of the constitution," it believes.

"And more than one 'no' may even become a 'yes'," says the paper, hinting at possible referendum retakes.

Germany's Der Tagesspiegel describes the "yes" vote as a "personal triumph" for the prime minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to the paper, his triumph is "only tempered by the fact that Juncker had to threaten to resign" in order to persuade voters to back the EU Constitution.

"But he can take credit for scoring a success of Europe-wide significance," it continues, "by breathing new life into the constitution."

The paper admits that the future of the constitutional treaty is still uncertain.

"But it is far too early to scrap the text," it believes.

Germany's Berliner Zeitung emphasizes the "symbolic value" of the result.

The paper suggests that the Luxembourg vote may signal a shift in Europe's mood, which may enable Denmark, Poland, Ireland and "even Britain" to put their referendums back on the agenda.

"Apparently the French and the Dutch 'no', which some regarded as the beginning of the end of the EU, was a snapshot of the situation rather than the last word," it says.

But Germany's Die Welt is not convinced of the significance of Sunday's vote.

The paper believes the people of Luxembourg approved the constitution because of their prime minister's threat to resign, and because they know that their country benefits a lot from EU membership.

"Luxembourg's 'yes' is also a 'thank you' to Europe, a 'thank you' against the spirit of the times," it says.

"But this cannot fundamentally change the fate of the EU Constitution," the paper asserts.

The Madrid daily El Pais agrees the constitution's future is still, as it puts it, "extremely uncertain".

With Luxembourg a great beneficiary of integration - home to key institutions and enjoying the EU's highest per capita income - it is surprising as many as 40 per cent voted against the treaty, it says.

"And it seems that they did so under the influence of the French rejection of the constitution," the paper adds.

"To all intents and purposes, the constitutional process remains suspended and nobody yet knows how it will continue," it concludes.

Remembering Srebrenica

Before the massacre of some 8,000 Muslims by Bosnian Serbs 10 years ago today, the town of Srebrenica had barely been heard of, says the Swiss daily Le Temps.

"Today it is the emblem of a real tragedy and a wound that cannot heal for Europe," the paper says. "For countless bad reasons, we were incapable of stopping human folly."

There were no winners or losers in the Bosnian war and the Dayton accords only put the victims and the executioners back together again, it adds.

"All pacification is pointless until the main criminals are under lock and key," it argues. "All mourning is indecent... until the history of this slaughter has been exhumed and recognised as such."

"Only then will Srebrenica belong to history."

Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau says one of the lessons of the massacre is that the states of the western Balkans need a clear prospect of EU membership.

"Srebrenica... in Bosnia stands for Europe's darkest hour since the World War II," the paper says.

It observes that the Europeans proved "completely incapable" of creating peace or stability "in their own backyard" when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia.

The paper adds that the Kosovo intervention put an end to the expulsion of Kosovo Albanians but has not provided sufficient security for the Serb minority.

The right lesson, it believes, is to allow Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro to join the EU.

"Unless the five states in the western Balkans are admitted to the EU, it will not be possible to work through the legacy of the Yugoslav wars, and there will be no prosperity, stability or peace in the Balkans," the paper says.

Austria's Die Presse says more should be done to secure arrests over the Srebrenica massacre.

"By arresting (Radovan) Karadzic and (Ratko) Mladic, the international community could demonstrate that the speeches to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre on this anniversary day are more than just cliches about how sad people are," the paper says.

The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.


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