[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 03:38 GMT 04:38 UK
European Press Review

Papers consider the outcome of Norway's general election. The German election draws nearer, and there is little optimism in the French press ahead of the UN summit in New York.

Norway poll

"The good news is that Norway now has its first majority government in two decades", Finnish Swedish-language daily Helsinki Hufvudstadsbladet proclaims of Monday's poll, which saw the electorate replacing a minority centre-right government with a "Red-Green" alliance of the Labour Party and two smaller parties.

The Norwegians have stepped onto an oily slippery slope towards the left. It is lucky that they can afford it
Berlingske Tidende
"But uncertainty about the basis for the new Red-Green government prevails", it goes on.

"The Labour Party has never been in a coalition government with anyone, the Socialist Party of the Left has never been in government before and the Centre Party has never governed with parties on its left", it points out.

Denmark's Berlingske Tidende says "the Norwegians have taken a distinct step to the left".

The centre-right administration lost votes to the far-right over immigration policy and to the centre-left because "it kept the lid of the oil-money chest firmly closed".

"It seems inevitable that the new government will spend more money... The Norwegians have stepped onto an oily slippery slope towards the left. It is lucky that they can afford it", the paper says.

The time is right for political Norway to sit down and discuss what can be done to attract more people to the ballot boxes
Aftenposten
Another Danish daily, Politiken, welcomes the Labour Party's return to power.

"It moved itself to the left politically and rhetorically during a clever election campaign by the charismatic former Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg", the paper says.

"And this lent new strength to expectations of the party as guarantor of greater equity in a country where the differences between rich and poor have increased in recent years."

Cash curse?

In Norway, Oslo's Aftenposten reflects on the "alarmingly low" voter turnout of 76.1%, a slight increase on the record low figure of 75.5% in the last election four years ago.

The daily sees this as "a clear message that large parts of the electorate are not sufficiently bothered about who runs the country".

"The time is right for political Norway to sit down and discuss what can be done to attract more people to the ballot boxes," it says.

Once again Norwegian politicians were able to take a bath in the country's oil cash box
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says the winners in Norway will have to be careful about how they use the money in the state's coffers.

"Once again Norwegian politicians were able to take a bath in the country's oil cash box", the paper says.

It believes the Labour Party made gains because Mr Stoltenberg gave the impression of being comfortable with Norway's oil wealth.

But the paper warns that Mr Stoltenberg will not be able to "simply tap into" the "oil billions" without ruining his reputation in the field of financial policy.

"Too much money, and no shortage of it, can become a curse for a government, too," it says.

Lessons for Germany?

Germany's Die Tageszeitung wonders whether the outcome of the poll can teach Germany's governing Social Democrats a lesson in the run-up to Sunday's election.

The paper notes that proposals for more market-based social security systems are also a dominant theme in the German election campaign.

It observes that Norway's Labour Party made gains after it took a consistently left-wing stance.

"Perhaps people in Berlin can learn something from this," it says.

But Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau dismisses the comparison, arguing that Norway's oil wealth makes it difficult to draw conclusions about elections elsewhere.

The Norwegian Labour Party's victory, it says, "will merely make the Social Democratic Party of Germany smile wistfully".

The paper believes that if Norway's voters turned against privatisation and market-based solutions, this was because "the Norwegians can afford it".

Pessimism over UN reform

Both French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will be absent from the proceedings at the UN summit in New York, notes France's Le Monde.

However lame it might be, the (UN) has... contributed to the main task for which it was created: keeping war between states outlawed
Liberation
"They will be missing what should have been... a decisive era in its reform, demanded so often and so often postponed," the daily says.

But the paper is pessimistic - as its front-page headline shows: "UN reform: failure in sight".

"It is however to be feared that they will not be missing very much, with this meeting highly likely to finish with a bunch of great speeches without any true decisions," it says.

"What's the UN for? Not much that's worth anything, says (US President George W) Bush, who is suspected, not without reason, of wanting to scupper it," France's Liberation states in an editorial.

"The UN has no sovereignty, even in a limited sense," the left-leaning daily says. "It reflects the states' system and their egoism, which leads the dance and sidelines it when it suits them."

But, the paper says: "However lame it might be, the organisation has... contributed to the main task for which it was created: keeping war between states outlawed."

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





EUROPEAN PRESS PROFILES
 

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific