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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 05:37 GMT 06:37 UK
European press review
European press

Five years after the 11 September attacks, European papers take stock of the US-led war on terror and many are sharply critical. German dailies meanwhile are at odds over whether Pope Benedict XVI is first and foremost German or Bavarian.

US response to 9/11

Italy's La Stampa says the post-9/11 war on terror has already lasted longer than World War I and shows no signs of ending.

The Bush administration has accomplished the tour de force of reducing the huge surge of compassion and solidarity which appeared throughout the world... to nothing
Liberation

"And there is no victory in sight, no indication about how the undertaking might finish," it says, "rather, a proliferation of ethnic-religious wars, of terrorist attacks in various parts of the globe."

France's Liberation says that while the impact of 9/11 has not diminished, the past five years have changed our perception of events.

"The Bush administration has accomplished the tour de force of reducing the huge surge of compassion and solidarity which appeared throughout the world... to nothing," it says.

Indeed, adds the paper, worldwide trust of the US has fallen amid what it calls Bush's "disastrous" leadership.

"The American president", it says, "is helping to turn the planet into a vast battleground, precipitating the clash of civilizations to which the most radical jihadists aspire."

Belgium's De Standaard says the US reaction was wrong because it has "played into Osama Bin Laden's hands", has "made the world a more dangerous place" and "fuelled hatred".

The wars which followed the 9/11 events claimed much more American lives than the terror attacks themselves
Kommersant

It contrasts the US approach with Europe's preference for "negotiations" and "building trust between the parties in a conflict".

Spain's La Razon urges nations that defend the values of freedom, justice and equality to stand together in the fight against terrorism.

The paper says the world has seen the beginning of a "conflagration on a planetary scale", in which Western nations are being "hounded by internal and external enemies".

In the view of Russia's Kommersant: "The wars which followed the 9/11 events claimed much more American lives than the terror attacks themselves.

"The attitude towards America in the world also changed drastically over the past five years: from a victim of terrorism the US turned for many into a country responsible for its spread," the paper says.

Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta also expresses pessimism about the course of events.

"In the ecstasy of the "global war" on terror, one lost the culture of mutual tolerance and the ethics of compromise which supported the old world order," it says.

"The modern world is more spiteful and mutually intolerant than in the times of mature confrontation of at least the last quarter of the 20th century," the paper says.

Iraq war

Austria's Der Standard says it is not the 11 September attacks but the Bush administration's reaction, and in particular the war in Iraq, that marks a turning point in world politics.

The world of today has been moulded by self-willed decisions in the White House and not by the collapse of the Twin Towers
Der Standard

The paper argues that this war set the Arab-Muslim world against America and nearly caused the transatlantic axis to break up.

"The world of today has been moulded by self-willed decisions in the White House and not by the collapse of the Twin Towers," it concludes.

The Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes observes that, contrary to the war in Afghanistan, the Iraq war was perceived as problematic right from the start.

According to the paper, today the country is "virtually in a state of a civil war" and is "starting to look like another 9/11", but with "much worse and more far-reaching consequences".

Germany's Die Welt defends the use of military action in the fight against terrorism, but with one proviso.

"The terror principle can and must be countered by military means, and security policy measures must be taken without betraying one's own democratic principles," the paper says.

Pope in Germany

Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says Pope Benedict XVI, who is on a six-day visit to Bavaria, is the "most important German".

The paper argues that, in Joseph Ratzinger, Germany has "a figure of global standing who bears out the traditional claim that this is a people of poets and thinkers more than anybody else on the international stage at the moment".

But Germany's Die Tageszeitung says the jubilant "We are the pope" headline which appeared in the German press after Joseph Ratzinger's election was misleading because "the Pope is from Bavaria".

"This is where he belongs more than anywhere else in the world," the paper says.

It feels that while the Pope's origin is a mere "coincidence", it highlights a more far-reaching connection.

"Even in the 21st century, the Catholic Church and the state are still symbiotically linked in Bavaria," the paper says, if not legally, then at least "in terms of mentality".

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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