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European Press Review: Bush Security Exaggerated?

U.S. President Bush dominated Europe's editorial pages Wednesday, either because of the controversy over his administration’s handling of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or because of his upcoming visit to Britain.

Britain’s Financial Times looked at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to examine the cases of detainees being held at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, and wrote that there is now a ray of hope that the open-ended incarceration of 660 non-U.S. prisoners will be challenged. The paper added that the Bush administration should delay its plan to bring more prisoners before special military commissions until the Supreme Court rules on the matter.

The Swiss Tages-Anzeiger commented that there is hope the move will mean that U.S. President Bush will no longer have unlimited powers to do as he pleases in the fight against terror.

The Independent from Britain criticized the level of security U.S. officials are demanding for Bush’s upcoming visit to London. A vast exclusion zone covering large parts of central London is taking security to ridiculous lengths, the paper wrote. As far as demonstrations are concerned, the paper added, the authorities seem to be saying to the people of Britain that they can hold up a placard telling Mr. Bush to go home, provided that there is no danger of the president seeing it. “But this will not happen”, the paper said, “and that’s a shame, because Mr. Bush should get a first-hand look at the extent to which his policies have caused bitterness in Europe.”

London’s Daily Mail saw the matter quite differently. It pointed out that the people of Britain and America should remember that the things they have in common are stronger than any political differences. “The people of America and Britain have similar laws, speak the same language and have a shared past. People should remember this and welcome the U.S. president when he arrives in Britain,” the paper commented.

On the economic front, the worst may soon be over for Germany and the rest of Europe, the French newspaper Les Echos wrote. “Germany is coming out of recession,” the paper said, “and could in fact once again become Europe’s economic motor.”

Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten criticized the way in which the German Christian Democrats have dealt with the Hohmann issue. Party backbencher Martin Hohmann is expected to be expelled from the party on Friday over anti-Semitic remarks he made in a speech last month. “The worst thing about the scandal,” the paper wrote, “is that the CDU seemed to have been able to live with the politician’s right wing slogans as long as he remained below the radar of public interest.”