We look first at the Swedish tabloids, unanimous in calling for the resignation of Sweden coach Lars Lagerback after the side bowed out of the Euro 2008 last night with a two nil defeat to Russia.
Both Aftonbladet and Expressen show more than seventy percent of Swedes say “Nej” to the question of whether Lagerbäck should lead their side into the next World Cup.
In Russia, on the other hand, there’s joy. For Moskovskiy Komsomolets, the Russian side “smashed the Swedish defence to smithereens”. They now go on to face Holland, though, so the joy may be shortlived…
Moving onto more serious matters, Kenya’s Daily Nation looks at the situation in Chad, where it’s unclear whether a major rebel offensive is about to take place, or not. The Daily Nation looks at it with a bit more distance: regardless of what the immediate future holds, for this paper it’s just “the same old tragedy unfolding again” – an autocratic leader, Idriss Deby in this case, facing armed opponents who probably don’t offer much of a better alternative, with foreign intervention ultimately being the deciding factor. The possible difference this time is that France said it would not intervene in Chad if the rebels do make it to N’Djamena. But unlike a lot of the European press, the Daily Nation simply does not believe that – it says France is unlikely to keep its word. The former colonial power of course has a sizeable military contingent in Chad…
I’ve been surprised to see this week just how much international attention France’s military shakeup is getting around the world – Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to cut personnel and spending as well as rejoining NATO’s military command was certainly big news for all its allies in Europe and America, and mostly the coverage has been favourable. But the front page of today’s Le Figaro, here in France, shows a bit of a backlash from the French military themselves: “Generals contest army reform” says the headline. In fact there’s a group of generals who’ve published a long rant in Le Figaro itself. They say they don’t feel they were properly consulted about the changes, and that these are basically cuts without a proper redefinition of France’s strategy or role in the world.
Mini-treaty : Sarkozy wants to get Ireland to vote again
French diplomacy in Europe also features on the front page of Le Figaro. Nicolas Sarkozy wants the Irish to vote again on Lisbon, apparently. The Irish “no” to the EU reform treaty has really put a spanner in the works for the French Presidency. Sarkozy was one of the architects of the treaty and he’s very keen that it should not be abandoned…
Britain doesn’t think it’s realistic to ask the Irish to just go back and vote again – according to The Guardian,that’s what Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be telling Nicolas Sarkozy today as he travels to Paris ahead of a Brussels summit, with the UK’s fresh ratification of the treaty under his belt. The House of Lords has approved the Lisbon treaty and the Queen has given royal assent, further to Sarkozy’s potential gratification, she accepts these sorts of things in Norman French apparently, with the words ‘La Reine le veult’.
There’s comment in The Guardian from Timothy Garton Ash, who is very disparaging about the French and German attitudes that the Irish could simply be told they got the wrong answer and sent back to try again – especially as they were the only country to vote. But he is more optimistic about Europe’s chances of finding a workable plan D or plan E as he calls it, and even continuing to function reasonably well without the treaty.