Newspaper headlines: Refugee rules, interest rates, Labour inquest and eel fishing

Proposals to change EU rules that state refugees must be dealt with by the first country they arrive in are widely reported in the press.

The Financial Times says the requirement is the linchpin of the European Union refugee system but it has become politically toxic for EU leaders.

"The policy broke down last year, when Germany waived its right to send hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers back to other EU member states but exhorted its reluctant partners to shoulder more responsibility," states the FT.

"The move could oblige some EU members, such as Britain, to take in many more refugees, since it would become harder to send them back to neighbouring countries.

"It could also increase the pressure on EU members to back a formal quota system as well as common asylum rights and procedures to spread the burden across the bloc."

The Independent says this could cause problems for David Cameron ahead of the EU referendum.

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Media captionBroadcaster Henry Bonsu and former Labour trade minister Lord Digby Jones join the BBC News Channel to review Wednesday's front pages.

"One of the main arguments of the British campaign to remain in the EU is that the regulations allow the UK to deport asylum-seekers if Britain is not the first European country that they arrived in," it continues.

"If those regulations were to be changed the UK might be forced to accept refugees who have managed to enter the country from across the Channel, regardless of where they first arrived in Europe.

"This could further encourage migrants to head for Britain."

The Telegraph says the move would present Mr Cameron with a "bruising battle" in the middle of his renegotiations with Europe.

The Mail believes it would unleash an "asylum free-for-all" that could turn the UK into "even more of a magnet for immigrants".

For the Sun, it could mean Britain will be forced to take even more refugees.


Sympathy for savers

The papers weigh up the pluses and minuses of Bank of England governor Mark Carney's statement that now is not yet the time for interest rate rises.

The Express says the announcement will be welcomed by homeowners, but savers will be less happy.

Tumbling oil prices and the economic instability of China are thought to be behind Mr Carney's prediction - and many experts believe rates will stay low for years, the Express continues.

The paper sympathises with the savers, for whom it says it looks as though they have little to look forward to.

It comments: "Bank of England governor Mark Carney has now ruled out an early rise in interest rates.

"This will please mortgage payers who have enjoyed the historically low rate for so long now that any increase would be a harsh shock to the system and disrupt many domestic financial arrangements that have been in place for years.

"But this news is of course deeply disappointing for savers."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bank chief Mark Carney warned not to expect interest rate rises any time soon

The Mirror says: "While it is good news for homeowners enjoying cheap borrowing, the pitiful returns for savers will continue."

Mirror business editor Graham Hiscott urges Mr Carney to "drop the coded language and tell it like it is".

The Telegraph agrees, saying Mr Carney has failed to impress as an economic forecaster.

"Mr Carney's habit of hinting at rate rises then changing his mind is not just bad for his reputation," it says.

"Many households have based financial decisions at least partly on his guidance, taking out fixed-rate mortgages in anticipation of rate rises that never happened. Will they trust him again?"

As the Guardian's Larry Elliott puts it: "Marching the markets up to the top of the interest rate hill only to march them down again has become a bit of a habit."


'Searing assessment'

Labour's inquest into its emphatic general election defeat is reflected upon.

The Guardian says former Labour cabinet minister Dame Margaret Beckett said in the report that the party would face big challenges in trying to win the 2020 election as changes to parliamentary boundaries and Britain's ageing population moved against Labour.

The Independent reports the inquest pointed to a failure to build trust on the economy and to convince voters on immigration and welfare, as well as doubts over Ed Miliband's leadership credentials.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Labour suffered a heavy defeat under Ed Miliband in the general election

The Telegraph says the review was largely absolving of Mr Miliband and his policies, instead blaming media attacks, fallout from the Scottish independence referendum and Conservative "myths".

The Times states: "Ed Miliband has ducked most of the responsibility for Labour's crushing election defeat in an official report that instead blames the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, Scottish nationalists and the media."

Tony Blair's former communications chief Alastair Campbell gives a "searing assessment" of Labour's prospects under Jeremy Corbyn, says the Guardian, in an article in the paper.

Mr Campbell writes: "I know that if Labour becomes an anti-American, anti-Nato, weak on defence, soft on terror, unilaterally disarming party of protest, along the lines Corbyn appears to want to take it, then Cameron's successor can expect a long haul in office."


Way of life

Finally, the Times has the story of Britain's last eel fisherman who has finally been forced to hang up his traps.

The paper says for all his love of tradition, and devotion to the Fens, 50-year-old Peter Carter could do nothing about the dramatic decline in eel numbers.

It reports that in an online message he said he was quitting after battling changes to fishing laws and a catastrophic plunge in eel stocks.

The Times recounts: "As an emotional Peter Carter called it a day, he was not only ending a family tradition that stretches back more than 500 years, he was also seeing the end of a custom that has been part of the Fenland way of life for 3,000 years."


Eye-catching headlines

  • Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of a neolithic man: Fairytales first written down during the 16th and 17th Centuries can be traced back to prehistoric times, scientists have suggested Times
  • Mystery of Loch Ness monster may be deeper than we thought: The hunt for the Loch Ness monster has become even more arduous after a retired fisherman used sonar equipment to show it could be hiding at previously undiscovered depths Telegraph
  • Just the ticket: traffic wardens go as more police volunteers arrive: Home Secretary Theresa May is to announce the abolition of the traffic warden today, 55 years after their first appearance on London streets Guardian
  • No joke... giggling helps us stay slim: Collapsing into giggles could burn as many calories as a brisk walk, according to scientists Mail

Mr Carter tells the paper: "It breaks my heart but I can't live on empty pockets. So the last wicker eel hive and grigg have been lifted from the river.

"I will not be making any more. I've found employment elsewhere but still working around the waters."

The Telegraph, which pictures Mr Carter fishing in Norfolk, comments: "It is a pity to lose handicrafts such as hive-weaving, as the objects have a beauty few pieces of abstract sculpture equal.

"But it is a greater pity to lose livelihoods part of the half-natural, half man-made Fens. Most of us are urban workers, but we like to think that at sunrise on some tranquil piece of water a punt is nosing through the rushes in a way of life unchanged by the centuries."