European Press Review: Life After Oil | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 05.08.2004
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European Press Review: Life After Oil

European papers On Thursday focused on the European labor market and also looked at the effects of the rising oil price.

The French newspaper Figaro tried to put the workweek debate in perspective. It claimed that while the number of hours in the working week in the US has risen by 20 percent in the last 20 years, the working week in Europe has been shortened by 15 percent over the same period. "The world has changed," the paper wrote. "Tomorrow will not be as easy as yesterday. More effort is needed to avoid the decline."

While also calling for a more flexible attitude toward the working week, the British Financial Times noted there are numerous reasons for Europe's economic difficulties with state policies high on the list of problem makers. "The continent’s social security systems contain too many features that punish those who work and reward those who do not," the paper wrote.

The growing price of oil also remained a topic for editorial pages. The French business newspaper Les Echos said as the cost of oil increases, both governments and consumers should begin to think carefully about the way they live. "In view of our dependency on ‘black gold’ in our economy and in our daily life, it is not too soon to begin to prepare for the age which comes after crude oil," it wrote. However, the Italian Corriere della Sera of Milan sounded out with a note of moderation on the subject of oil. "It is not as bad as you think," the editorial began. While the difficulties arising from the increase in the price of oil should not be exaggerated, the paper argued that inflation also needed to be taken into account, "An oil price of over $40 is a serious problem, but the record occurred in 1981 when the price reached $42, which would be worth $90 at today’s prices," the daily concluded.