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German Press Review: Poland’s Recipe for Disaster

The country's leading newspapers on Friday weighed in on the fights that threaten to derail Europe’s first constitution and the release of a 9/11 terror suspect in Hamburg.

Poland’s threat to veto the proposed European Union constitution if the country's voting powers are weakened prompted a critical reaction from Berlin’s Tagesspiegel. Poland, like Spain, wants to keep the current system where it has almost as many votes as Germany and France even though they have smaller populations. The paper wrote that no other country has supported Poland’s return to the European family as much as Germany and complained that the "thanks Germany now gets for that friendship is the potential failure of the European constitution." In conclusion, the paper asked: "Will Poland become the obstacle causing the whole thing to collapse just because it places too much emphasis on pride and egoism?"

The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger viewed the same discussion through a slightly different lens. "Between two equal partners, which is what Germany and Poland will be in the EU from May onwards, gratitude is not a consideration," the paper’s editors wrote. Still, the need to have an EU capable of acting should be taken into account, the paper said. "By that measure," argued the paper, "there can be only one conclusion: Warsaw’s miscalculated."

The Stuttgarter Zeitung took a critical view of the German judicial system in the case. "The higher regional court in Hamburg released him, but he’s still far from acquitted," the paper wrote. "The decision doesn’t yet relieve Mzoudi of the complaints against him because they are based on highly dubious statements from an unnamed source cited by the Federal Criminal Investigation office that raise more questions than they answer." Still, the judges in the case now doubt they can successfully prosecute Mzoudi. But the paper said that lack of evidence could also be blamed on those who have blocked the testimony of important witnesses, despite the fact that they could bring resolution to the issue.

"It’s not Mzoudi’s release that’s questionable in the current situation, but rather the way some have dealt with evidence," wrote the editors of the Frankfurter Rundschau. Ramsi Binalshibh, the main suspect in the case, is in the U.S. blurting things out spontanously, but the Hamburg court hasn’t been access to his testimony. After these statements became public on Thursday and they provided exculpatory information about Mzoudi, the best the Federal Prosecutor’s Office could come up with was the accusation that Binalshibh learned how to trick investigators during his interrogations.

Finally Die Welt from Berlin looked at the crackdown in Germany on a banned radical Islamist group known as the "Caliphate of Cologne." German police have launched a nation-wide sweep of more than 1,000 homes. The paper wrote that while the release of Mzoudi in Hamburg "demonstrated the lessons of the Western and Christian view of humanity in practice, the police action against the Caliphate shows that it is slowly being understood how dangerous freedoms can be when radical Islamic groups can establish themselves under the banner of religious diversity."

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