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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
European press review

Europe's response to testing times in its dealings with Iran comes under press scrutiny today.

In Germany, papers look forward to a televised clash between the two key figures in this autumn's elections.

Meanwhile, some eyebrow-raising methods to lure tourists to Poland catch the attention of one French paper.

Iran and the EU

There are mixed views at the way the European Union is handling the dangerous stand-off with Iran on its nuclear programme.

Germany's Berliner Zeitung publishes a cartoon captioned "The good cop's last attempt," which shows the European Union in the guise of a policeman, questioning Iran depicted as a bearded man with a turban.

"Do not force me to call in Officer Bush. He's in a really filthy mood," the EU policeman says, while a second, bad cop resembling the US president lurks outside the room.

Switzerland's Le Temps warns the EU against pursuing its current line of policy and having to take Iran to the UN Security Council.

Now at least the following is certain: the Europeans have not only reached a unanimous position amongst themselves, but also with their US ally
Die Welt

"The latter will not apply any sanctions given that Russia and China will oppose this move. Tehran is therefore likely to slam the door shut on the IAEA and continue its activities without any international control."

"Let the Iranians save face by leaving them with their small number of centrifuges and by putting them under very strict international control, a solution which they would be ready to accept," it suggests.

Germany's Die Welt welcomes what it sees as an outbreak of "harmony and determination" within the EU towards Iran.

"Now at least the following is certain: the Europeans have not only reached a unanimous position amongst themselves, but also in conjunction with their US ally."

Germany's TV duel

Many German newspapers lead with news of a televised debate to be held in September between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his conservative challenger Angela Merkel ahead of national elections.

Berliner Zeitung reports that Mrs Merkel insisted on taking part in only one televised debate, or duel, as it is being called in Germany.

She was right to do so, it believes, because "she knows that Schroeder is hard to beat in front of a camera".

Der Tagesspiegel describes haggling between the main parties about whether to stage one TV debate or two as a farce, a view shared by other German papers.

Nevertheless, it thinks the debate and the saga surrounding it will not alter the outcome. Mrs Merkel's opinion poll lead, it says, is so large that she will most probably win.

Livestock row

Denmark's Berlingske Tidende calls for a rapid end to EU subsidies for the transport of livestock to destinations in the Middle East after all Denmark's MEPs got a majority of their European colleagues to sign a petition of protest.

She is up against powerful forces, especially in countries such as France and Ireland
Berlingske Tidende

The paper says the "scandalous animal transports" illustrate why people have "a pronounced lack of confidence in the EU system in general and EU agricultural policy in particular".

The daily says Danish Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel will fight to raise the EU's standards in animal ethics, even though "she is up against powerful forces, especially in countries such as France and Ireland".

Poland's sex appeal

In a lighter mood, Le Monde toys with French anxieties towards new EU member states, highlighting some new publicity from Warsaw aimed at attracting French tourists.

The phone hasn't stop ringing, the press wants more posters and daily hits on the website have gone up five-fold
Le Monde

"After the Polish plumber, the sexy nurse," the paper announces.

"To please all tastes, the Polish tourism office has dared to show this latest find to tempt people to discover Poland's thermal spas and resorts: a picture of a young nurse in a white blouse with plunging neckline and charming retro hairdo," it explains, adding a poster of a sexy plumber has also been published.

"Will French tourists now throng, entranced, to the Baltic cities of Pomerania?" the paper wonders.

So far so good: at the Polish tourist office in Paris, "the phone hasn't stop ringing, the press wants more posters and daily hits on their website have gone up five-fold".

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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