BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Monitoring: Media reports
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
Austrian press hails end to sanctions
Voting in the European Parliament
Austria comes in from the European cold
Newspapers in Austria have broadly welcomed the decision by its European Union partners to lift the sanctions imposed in February after the populist Freedom Party joined the government.

But the Kurier daily condemned the EU's handling of the affair.

Democracy cannot be defended with undemocratic measures

Der Kurier
It agreed with the EU wise men's description of the Freedom Party (FPOe) as "populist right-wing with radical elements", a view "so undisputed that even the FPOe doesn't object to it".

However, the EU was wrong to conclude that the FPOe should not be treated as a normal party.

"Democracy cannot be defended with undemocratic measures," it said.


And the party's unacceptable views on Austria's Nazi past did not justify rejection of its legitimate stance against the corruption of Austria's post-war consensus and its widely-shared concerns about EU enlargement, the paper continued.

"Stupidity is feasible. Wise men call that 'counter-productive'," it concluded.

Another Vienna daily, Der Standard, looked at the implications for Austria.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel
Schuessel is back at the heart of Europe
Over the summer, the sanctions had become "a phantom... that hovered over Austria", ignored by the young and reminding the old of the post-war allied occupation.

Now that they were formally over, it said, Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel had to show that his positive moves on compensation for Nazi-era slave labourers and fair treatment for immigrants were not just a response to the sanctions.

"Now is the time for the cabinet to prove how genuine and honest it is in dealing with the past," it said.

No exit strategy

In Germany, the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine had harsh words for the Berlin government's stance.

"Now that the whole affair seems to be over, the government is pretending it always took a moderate position," it said.

A crisis managed against all common sense

Back in February, however, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had called for the party then led by Joerg Haider to be "nipped in the bud".

The paper concluded that Mr Schroeder never had an "exit strategy" and ended up hiding behind the "wise men" who finally recommended that the sanctions be lifted.

This view was echoed in France, where the Liberation daily lamented "a crisis managed against all common sense".

"The historical irony is that it is now up to Jacques Chirac, the main architect of this sanctions strategy, to lift them in his capacity of president of the European Union: a very bitter pill to swallow," it said.

Double standards

Criticism was also voiced in the Czech Republic, where the Mlada Fronta Dnes daily accused the Prague authorities of endangering their EU membership chances.

Relations with Austria are not going to be settled immediately. The spectre of mistrust will hang around for a long time

Mlada Fronta Dnes
Prague rejected concern from neighbouring Austria about its Temelin nuclear plant as interference in its internal affairs, but was more than happy to interfere in Austria's affairs, it said.

"By applying a double standard in our approach to Austria and imposing sanctions, we perhaps helped ourselves for a little while," it said.

"But... relations with Austria are not going to be settled immediately. The spectre of mistrust and alienation will hang around here for a long time."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

12 Sep 00 | Europe
EU states lift Austrian sanctions
08 Sep 00 | Europe
EU told: 'End Austria sanctions'
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Media reports stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Media reports stories