European Press Review: Brussels Acts on Terror and Microsoft | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 25.03.2004
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European Press Review: Brussels Acts on Terror and Microsoft

Thursday's European newspapers looked at the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe and the EU’s fine against Microsoft for breaching competition laws.

The French conservative paper Le Figaro asked how many more people have to die before western leaders formulate effective measures against the murderous ambitions of terrorists. The Parisian daily strongly advised that instead of criticizing entry restrictions of the U.S., Europe should see American initiatives against terrorism as examples and better coordinate their own actions. Le Figaro commented that Islamic extremists do not care about borders.

Belgium’s De Standaard noted the main suspect of the Madrid bombings was observed by secret services from five European countries, but he escaped. The Brussels-based paper ponders was Europe after the 9/11 attacks too lax? It commented that terrorists seem to escape attention in Europe again and again. De Standaard noted that there are European peculiarities, which terrorists use to their advantage. The lack of inner borders make it easier for them to travel. There is also an unsatisfactory co-operation between the police and secret services of different countries, concluded the paper.

Commenting on Microsoft’s competition fine by the European Union, the liberal Danish newspaper Politiken said the nearly €500 million penalty at first glance looks drastic. However, Microsoft founder Bill Gates will lose little sleep over the EU Commission’s initiative. The Copenhagen daily advised that the EU and its member states compel software suppliers to buy computer programs that allow open access to different sources.

The Basler Zeitung in Switzerland pointed out that the only winners in the Microsoft versus the EU case are the lawyers who collect fat commission fees. The real question asked the paper is whether consumers will profit from the decision made by the commissioner responsible for competition policy Mario Monti. Microsoft says no. The paper suggested that if Monti accepted a compromise offered by Microsoft, then consumers could buy Windows products, which would be linked to competing products such as Media Player. The Basler Zeitung predicted that Monti’s decision will force the matter back to the courts because the EU has now challenged Microsoft’s business model.