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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 05:20 GMT 06:20 UK
European press review
European press

Renewed violence in the suburbs of Paris makes its mark in Tuesday's papers as the first anniversary of last year's riots approaches.

A French daily harbours few doubts about who the Socialists will choose as their candidate for next year's presidential election.

And Russian papers assess the impact on Europeans of the Kremlin's energy policy.

French unrest

The suburbs of Paris have played host to serious clashes between police and gangs of youths in recent weeks, prompting Le Monde to consider what lessons the authorities may have learnt from the rioting that engulfed towns and cities across France last year.

With relations between the Interior Ministry and police unions under strain amid complaints of inadequate staffing and funding, the paper wonders whether any real progress has been made.

The impoverishment of those who live in the suburbs, and the influence of the Islamists, is growing
Der Standard

"Apart from beefing up the police presence on the ground," it says, "the answer unfortunately appears to be in the negative."

Clashes between police and youths in French suburbs are, the paper concludes, "a reality which is not about to disappear".

What the latest outbreak of violence really shows, says Austria's Der Standard, is that Nicolas Sarkozy, interior minister and widely tipped as a contender in next year's presidential election, has failed to address the problems facing the run-down housing estates of Paris and the many Arab and African immigrants who live there.

As the first anniversary of the riots draws near, "the presidential candidate is as helpless and powerless as the rest of the government," the paper says.

"Meanwhile," it observes, "the impoverishment of those who live in the suburbs, and the influence of the Islamists, is growing."

Battle Royal

One politician hoping to beat Mr Sarkozy to the presidency is Segolene Royal, who faces the other two presidential hopefuls from the Socialists in a televised debate on Tuesday evening.

For France's Liberation, Ms Royal "may have only one real opponent to overcome on the path to the party's nomination: herself".

The paper points out that, despite attacks from political opponents and reservations among members of her own party, the 53-year-old retains a healthy lead over her rivals in the polls.

She has, it says, proved to be "unshakeable under the fire of adverse criticism".

If party members mirror the voting patterns of their electorate, the paper predicts, "Segolene Royal can sleep soundly in her bed."

Russian energy

Papers in Russia suggest President Vladimir Putin's handling of energy policy has made Europe "scared" of its dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies.

As grounds for concern among European politicians, Kommersant points to what it describes as "gas wars" waged by the Kremlin against a number of former Soviet republics over the past 12 months.

In Europe it has become fashionable to be afraid of Russia
Izvestiya

These wars were "as savage as they were pointless", the paper says.

Faced with these problems, it argues, Mr Putin should consider stepping down, with 18 months still left until his term of office ends.

"That would be a very sensible and truly graceful thing to do," it says.

Izvestiya, on the other hand, sees no need for such drastic action, but agrees that "Europe fears the energy revolution".

The paper points out that the Russian gas giant Gazprom recently decided to channel the bulk of the output from its new Shtokman gas field to Europe rather than to the US.

This, it says, amounted to an "unexpected present", but appears to have done little to reassure Russia's neighbours to the west.

"In Europe," the paper notes, "it has become fashionable to be afraid of Russia."

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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