World media fear UK EU exit, looser US ties

Composite picture of the front pages of the European newspapers Le Monde, El Pais and Corriere della Sera

A day after the surprise result in the UK elections, world media outlets have been taking a look at the ramifications.

European papers are concerned about the effect on the EU in the light of Prime Minister David Cameron's promise to hold a referendum on leaving. And there is speculation that the Scottish nationalists' spectacular gains may herald the break-up of the United Kingdom.

A US daily fears the result may be the harbinger of the end of the US-UK "special relationship", but one Spanish daily is enthralled by a photo of Mr Cameron using cutlery to eat a hot dog.

Fears of 'Brexit'

The Australian daily The Age suggests that "David Cameron's rose-coloured victory comes with thorns".

Austria's Wiener Zeitung agrees. "The question in Europe is what will happen now to the difficult relationship between the UK and the EU. The British referendum on staying or exiting the EU is now coming - the sooner, the better", it says.

France's Le Monde says result from Brussels' point of view is undoubtedly "one of the worst possible scenarios" with the "route towards a referendum on leaving the EU" never having been more open. "The Brexit scenario... will disrupt relations between London and Brussels", it predicts.

But Italy's Corriere della Sera is more philosophical about the prospect. "We will finally know if and how we can count on Great Britain for the future of Europe". The paper concludes that even if there is a Brexit, "it will not be a breakdown. We have too much in common to throw away everything that unites us".

Another Italian daily La Repubblica has a word of warning for David Cameron, saying that Greece has already learned that when it comes to re-negotiating, "the EU can show it is a tough nut to crack".

The Boston Globe says "Britain's exit from the European Union... would be a disaster". The New York Times agrees, fearing an exit from the union "would further distance Britain from a role in setting European policy... That, in turn, would inevitably have an effect on Britain's ties to Nato and the United States".

Rise of nationalism

Canada's CBC website suggests that "the mirror is cracked in more ways than one, leaving a fractured political landscape behind".

And Spanish daily El Mundo thinks the Conservatives are already aware of problems ahead. "Despite the sweet victory... not even yesterday could they hide their fear that the Kingdom is now somewhat less united and more fractured".

France's Le Figaro describes the result as "an electoral tsunami that turns things upside down in the United Kingdom". It believes the challenge of nationalism across all of the UK will be David Cameron's "first challenge".

French daily Liberation disagrees. It thinks the SNP leaders recognise that "their new voters voted for them because of deep-seated rejection of the Conservatives but also of Labour" rather than because of a sudden urge for independence.

Iran's hard-line daily Vatan-e Emruz under a headline "Cameron's success; Sound of Scotland's footsteps" notes that "Britain's most unpredictable elections have proved all poll predictions wrong except one; which is that the louder than ever sound of footsteps of Scotland's independence will be heard in Westminster."

Praise and fears

The German newspaper Die Welt is almost lyrical about the election result. The Tories "embody the spirit of times of a progressive, enlightened, liberal Europe better then the imitators of rebellion in Athens or the fan clubs of redistribution in Paris, Rome or Berlin. A good choice for Europe", it enthuses.

But the Washington Post feels the result is "less than good news for American supporters of Britain and the 'special relationship'. It suggests that the problems Mr Cameron will face and British military cuts are "likely to perpetuate what has been a slow deterioration of a US-British alliance"... "critical to US global leadership in the post-Cold War era".

Meanwhile, the Greek newspaper To Vima is impressed with the speed at which the leaders of the losing parties resigned. It says this is worth considering, "especially when comparing it to what happens in Greece", "where leaders who are supposedly not 'stuck to their chair', cannot in reality be unstuck from them".

Finally, Spain's La Vanguardia is taken by a photo of Cameron eating a hot dog with cutlery during a family picnic. "Maybe Cameron is one of the few people on the planet who does not grab a sausage sandwich, but he has managed to catch in his hands lots of votes that opinion polls didn't give him… His image of a prim and smug guy has not cost him votes", the paper says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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