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European Press Review: Blackout Not Just Italian Problem

September 29, 2003

Italy’s power outage was a top story in Europe’s editorials on Monday. The meeting between U.S. President Bush and Russian President Putin and the Pope’s appointment of new cardinals also made the headlines.


"This isn’t just an Italian problem," wrote Corriere della Sera from Milan. "The power outages that we have seen this summer in the United States, Great Britain, and Denmark prove that the frivolous liberalization of the energy industry is a common problem in many countries. But, like in Italy, nobody wants to admit to such irresponsible and paradoxical decision-making," the paper noted. It pointed out that many of the problems in Italy’s energy market are self-inflicted. "First, Italy totally forbids atomic energy," the paper said, "Then, it develops the strictest environmental sanctions in Europe, and local authorities raise objections to power plants and power lines, as if energy weren’t important for people and businesses." The Milan daily concluded that such practices are the result of the Italy’s decision to buy "one-fifth of its energy from foreign countries to save money while giving its pollution to its neighbors."

The conservative Le Figaro from Paris warned against viewing the blackouts as a purely foreign problem and said that the power outages could happen in France. "A lot of French commentators made fun of the United States. They said it’s a big country that isn’t able to provide a power network for its citizens. But remember that what happened there in 2003 already happened in 1978 and could happen again to us or our neighbors," the paper observed. "This problem matters now," it stressed.

In Russia the editorial focus turned to the meeting of U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Gaseta newspaper from Moscow observed that a lot hangs on Putin’s answer to Bush’s request to endorse the deployment of United Nations’ troops to Iraq. Although the Russian leader refrained from giving a concrete answer in front of the U.N. general assembly, he stated "the breath of our participation will be set down when we know the contents of the new Iraq resolution." The paper noted that only a few weeks ago in Sardinia Putin said that he’s not against the American proposal. It concluded, "So it’s clear that Putin isn’t going to put up any barriers to the proposed UN resolution from the United States."

Le Parisien

from Paris commented on the fact that the new cardinals appointed by Pope John Paul II have already received their regalia. "It’s a sign, as if we needed one, that the Pope knows that the cardinals will have to choose his successor soon," the paper wrote. And it described the "chill" the head of the Catholic Church sent down the spine of his closest co-workers Saturday night shortly after the mass for his predecessors, when he said in Latin ‘Non omnis moria’ – I am not dying completely. Then the paper quoted the pope saying, "A good sized piece of me will survive." It was "an ice-cold statement," wrote the Parisien. "Right up to the end Karol Woytila is full of surprises," the paper observed and added, "he is still making the effort to give a unique stamp to his time in the Vatican."

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