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Europe

German Press Review: Reformatory Efforts

German editorials on Tuesday discussed the expected talks about Turkish EU membership and the dispute between the two Christian Democratic Parties CDU and CSU about a reform of the health system in Germany.

German papers are divided on whether the EU should start accession talks with Turkey. The Abendzeitung from Munich saw Turkish entry as inevitable because "Turks live and work here, and Turkey and the EU are irrevocably interwoven economically and socially." The paper said it's "globalization, and it's not a process that you can stop with a thumbs down." The paper found it "sensible that Turkey be bound into an organization which represents Europe's values", and thought that it is much better than "driving 90 million disappointed Turks into the arms of radical Islam."

The Nordwest Zeitung from Oldenburg believed "it will work somehow" for Turkey to enter, but the paper also thought "we're looking through rose-coloured glasses if we think that Turkey can be part of the EU in fifteen or twenty years." Europe would see a "cultural break-up" and the negotiations "shouldn't be overloaded with optimism."

The Westdeutsche Zeitung from Düsseldorf agreed. It pointed to the EU report that systematic torture has disappeared in Turkey, and wondered if "next, unsystematic torture will disappear." To the paper EU entry meant "not just a better standard of living and more liberalisation, but the willingness to adopt European values and hand over some national jurisdiction to Brussels." The paper doubted that "the Turkish government is ready for that," and thought Ankara hasn't yet understood that "it's not the EU that wants to enter Turkey, it's Turkey that wants to enter the EU."

As for the German conservative parties’ dispute over the health system reform, the papers thought reconciliation between CDU and CSU will not be achieved easily.

The Märkische Allgemeine from Potsdam pointed out that the CDU wants a flat-rate premium, while the CSU prefers one that's dependant on income. The paper called on the CDU to "suggest how to finance the flat-rate premium", because it says "this is not about peanuts, it is about as much as €40 billion ($48 billion)."

The Fränkischer Tag from Bamberg thought it's hard to imagine that the CDU and CSU's ideas "could be mashed together" and saw two choices: "One of the parties gives in, or they think of something completely new."

The Rhein-Neckar Zeitung from Heidelberg meanwhile wryly observed that the ruling coalition of Sociale Democrats and Greens experience the dispute as "a cool waterfall after their march through the desert" of unpopular social reforms.