Press Review

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After a fairly quiet weekend on the home scene it is the Barcelona summit which dominates Monday's front pages. "The EU launches an economic revolution" , "the EU promises work for all" and the "EU aims to overtake the US" -those are some of the attention grabbing headlines splashed across today's front pages.

After a fairly quiet weekend on the home scene it is the Barcelona summit which dominates Monday's front pages. "The EU launches an economic revolution" , "the EU promises work for all" and the "EU aims to overtake the US" -those are some of the attention grabbing headlines splashed across today's front pages.

The editorials are noticeably more "down to earth" with commentators suggesting that the EU might have bitten off more than it can chew. Catching up with the United States will mean a series of highly unpopular steps, says Mlada fronta Dnes. It will mean a definite end to the Union's generous social policy and protectionist measures, and European leaders returning from the Barcelona summit must be wondering how they are going to explain these steps to their voters.

On the domestic scene, the papers report on the demise of a controversial power sharing pact between the two strongest political parties, the "opposition agreement" - the agreement is due to end on the eve of the July 15th parliamentary elections. "The opposition agreement was a marriage of convenience and the two parties which agreed to it will both be glad to see it go," says Pravo. They both want a clean slate for the upcoming elections, as few reminders as possible of the concessions they were forced to make and the chance to court whomever turns out to be the most convenient partner for the next four years.

The papers all have something to say about the fact that the EU has criticized the CR for having too few women in government There is no doubt that the criticism is justified, says Mlada fronta Dnes. There is not a single woman in the cabinet and only 13 % of our MPs are women. Would a policy of positive discrimination or what are known as "quotas" work? The paper thinks not, expecting such a measure to stand little chance of gaining approval in Parliament.

And that may be precisely why women don't want to get involved in politics even though there is no law discriminating against them in any way, Mlada fronta Dnes says. What will have to change is people's prejudices and age-old stereotypes rather than our legal system. Because, let's face it - Czech women still live in a society where they have to be much more qualified than men if they want to successfully compete with them for governmental or parliamentary posts, concludes Mlada fronta Dnes.

Are there any advantages to marrying a foreign national? There are if you are gay - and your partner is German or Dutch. Pravo reports that a Czech homosexual had the pleasure of inviting friends and family to his wedding this weekend. He married his German partner in Berlin - something that he would not have been able to do in Prague - and told Pravo that living in a registered same-sex partnership would make all the difference.

And finally Lidove noviny carries an alarming story about the increasing number of young children who sniff solvents because they are the cheapest "drugs" available on the market. This form of drug abuse was very popular under the Communist regime when hard drugs weren't easily accessible, but it has now re-emerged with a vengeance, says Lidove noviny.

The only difference is that while in the past, it was widespread among people in their late teens, now it is abused by children who are too young to go to discos where they could get Ecstasy or some other party drug. These are kids in third and fourth grade who have heard about the effects of drugs and want to try something themselves, according to dr. Ivan Douda from one of Prague's Drop In centres. The paper warns parents that sniffing toxic substances kills brain cells and eventually does far more damage than for instance heroin.