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European Press Review on D-Day Celebrations
Everyday political affairs are largely muted in today's papers by the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, and the death of the former United States President, Ronald Reagan.

Sixty years on
Many European front pages lead on Sunday's ceremonies in Normandy to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

"France honours its liberators," the headline in Paris's Le Figaro says over a photo of President Jacques Chirac walking among the graves of Commonwealth soldiers in Bayeux with some of their surviving comrades in the background.

"The Normandy landings: a day of French-American reunion," is Le Monde's headline. Below it the paper has a picture of American soldiers raising the French tricolour alongside the Stars and Stripes on Omaha Beach.

"The reconciled of 6 June" is Liberation's main headline.

"The presence of Germany's Chancellor Schroeder," the paper says in smaller type, "gave an historic significance to the commemorations of the landings, which also made possible a rapprochement between Bush and Chirac."

Those attending yesterday's celebrations, Liberation argues, were not celebrating the victory of a group of nations over another but rather "the triumph of a vision of the world and of mankind based on liberty, human rights and the rule of law."

Mr Bush, Le Figaro notes, "stressed that France was America's first friend ever," while Mr Chirac declared that France would "never forget what it owes America, its friend of all times."

The fact that the celebrations were attended by the German chancellor, the paper adds, enabled Paris and Berlin "to present their relationship as an example to the world."

In Spain, La Razon hails the role of the Normandy landings in starting the phase of the war which eventually "brought lasting peace to Europe."

This should "remind people in the European Union that only with democracies united in the resolve to fight and suffer together against a common enemy" is it possible "to face those who, like the al-Qaeda terrorists today, are sowing division and fear among us."

The German perspective
In an article in Germany's Bild am Sonntag, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder describes D-Day as a "victory for Germany." "Today we Germans can commemorate this day with our heads held high," the chancellor writes.

"The victory of the allies was not a triumph over Germany but a triumph for Germany."

It was, he explains, a "victory over the criminal regime which murdered six million Jews as well as hundreds of thousands of its opponents," and "members of minorities or people simply regarded as 'not deserving to live.'"

Der Tagesspiegel, too, describes the notion that the Allies won for Germany as "clear, simple, true."

"A German patriot in the 21st century must be grateful that the Allies liberated Germany from the Nazis. This is what Schroeder meant," the paper says.

Austria's Der Standard, however, fails to detect any signs of a real transatlantic reconciliation.

The paper points out that, according to an opinion poll, the French regard Germany as a more trustworthy partner than the United States.

It also detects "ulterior motives" when Paris "invites first Berlin and then Moscow to attend celebrations in which Washington and London really want to play the leading roles."

Russian anguish
Moscow's Gazeta complains that "almost nobody in Normandy mentioned the fact that Russia," in the shape of the former Soviet Union, "was also in the war."

"It became quite clear from conversations with the participants," it says, "that they sincerely believed that the victory was forged... in Normandy."

"Official propaganda" in the West, the paper continues, has "brainwashed several generations in Europe and America" into believing that "the war was won by the (Western) allies."

Izvestiya reasons that "the point of the presence of a Russian delegation" in Normandy was "to highlight somehow the fact that the second front was just that — the second." But the point "was not successfully made," the paper complains. The only Russian flag to be seen was outside the mayor's office in Caen, it notes, while flags of the Western allies "could be seen everywhere."

Europe remembers Reagan
The death of former US President Ronald Reagan after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease, has drawn comment across Europe.

A commentary in the Czech Mlada Fronta Dnes remembers that Mr Reagan was, of all the Western leaders, "the most hated and ridiculed" by Prague's former communist regime.

"One could hear the rhetoric about Reagan's 'war-mongering' every day on television."

But although "a controversial president in many respects," the Czechs "should not forget that they are enjoying their present freedom also thanks to Ronald Reagan."

"Ronald Reagan was not an intellectual, [but] he was a great president" is the verdict of Austria's Die Presse.

Germany's Die Tageszeitung sees parallels between the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

"Bush's missionary zeal, his morally driven Middle East policy, his mantra of tax reductions and deregulation," the paper says, "look like a direct extension of the Reagan era."

America's current president, the French Liberation agrees, "models himself, not on his father but on Reagan."

The paper points to the parallel between George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" and Ronald Reagan's description of the former Soviet Union as the "Evil Empire."

Mr Bush's "ultraliberal economic policy," it adds, "draws its inspiration" from Reaganomics, while his moral values "are merely the extension of Reagan's traditionalism."

Reagan, the Russian Izvestiya says, "was a statesman who, despite all the differences between our countries, showed foresight and the will to stop the nuclear arms race, to embark on the destruction of nuclear weapons and to establish good relations."

Kommersant, also in Russia, believes that Reagan will go down in history "as a president who was instrumental in dealing a crushing blow to world communism."

"History has shown," it says, that by adopting "an astronomical defence budget," Reagan "successfully solved, not a defence problem but a geopolitical one."

The former Soviet Union's "attempt to keep up with America," it explains, "undermined the Soviet economy."


The above article is from BBC.



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