1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

Europe

German Press Review: Looking Ahead to 2004

The realization that terrorism has arrived in Germany and a look ahead at the country’s reforms for next year dominated German newspapers on Wednesday.

The Stuttgarter Zeitung said that the very real threat of terrorism has reached Germany following intelligence that militant Islamists were planning an attack on a German army hospital in Hamburg. It showed, said the paper, that a threat thus far perceived as distant has now evoked the painful memories of recent terrorist attacks.

The incident in Hamburg, wrote the paper, also served to illustrate the need for heightened security as practised by the United States. Vigilance without hysteria can be a strong weapon against terrorism, the paper concluded.

The Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper took a slightly different tack and said that the recent upsurge in security precautions has almost become a kind of war posturing bordering on hysteria. The United States is closing down its airspace, Moscow has installed security checks on anyone approaching the Red Square and around 3,000 police are guarding London’s big wheel, the paper wrote. The recent spate of letter bombs and the planned attack in Hamburg all serve to conjure up the image of one enormous terrorist threat. That in turn justifies higher military spending and increased state-sponsored surveillance, the paper said.

The Mitteldeutsche Zeitung said the idea of Germany being a target of terrorism is hard to stomach at this festive time of the year. However the bomb threats against the Hamburg army hospital or the letter bombs mailed to EU figures and institutions in Germany don’t augur well, the paper found. Although the motives may differ, the aim is always the same: the potential terrorists want to create an atmosphere of fear that paralyses the public and challenges governments to react, the paper wrote. No one can say for sure how big the danger really is, but one thing is for certain, said the paper, the world has changed and so too has Germany.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung looked ahead to next year and the raft of reforms facing Germany. The planned simplification of the tax system will unleash a torrent of political accusations as the parties vie for the best proposals. As usual, on tax issues, the paper wrote, the Free Democrats are well ahead of the pack, however the main opposition Christian Democrats are the ones with the actual clout to achieve anything. Their sister party, the Christian Social Union, is still too tentative while the ruling Social Democrats and Greens have yet to position themselves, said the FAZ. The expected gains for the public from a radical tax reform are not so much lower levels of tax, wrote the paper, but rather the sense that they regain control of their financial lives and can see some light at the end of the bureaucratic tunnel.

On the same topic the Mittelbayerische Zeitung said the political parties in Germany must reach an agreement on a wide-ranging tax reform. Easing the tax burden is important, wrote the paper, but even more crucial is the drive to cut subsidies and put an end to tax exemptions. If the parties fail to achieve a consensus, Germany may be able to make some short-term gains by hopping on the American economic train, however the deep-rooted structural problems would remain, the paper concluded.

And finally the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper warned that the reforms in Germany will be painful. Still, many are prepared to dig deep to help the country out of its standstill. However, the paper wrote, they must be convinced that the reforms will have a lasting effect and are equally shared within the population. This is where the government still has a lot to do, the paper wrote.

  • Date 31.12.2003
  • Author Newslink Staff
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4Vhd
  • Date 31.12.2003
  • Author Newslink Staff
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4Vhd