Sarkozy: “We will fight to defend Europe and the euro”

With apologies to Moochin, here’s the real POTD [of the week? – Ed] when the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, had his card marked at Cannes by Frau Bundeskanzlerin.  Via Daniel Hannan at the Telegraph blog. Italy have called in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but no money has changed hands, according to Berlusconi… Answering questions at a press conference in Cannes this afternoon, Mr Berlusconi said he had no intention of resigning and did not believe his time in government was coming …

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“if you want to show some proper respect and courtesy to the Holy See…”

In the Irish Times Paddy Agnew has an interesting, and prompt, response to last night’s announcement of the Irish Government’s decision to close the Irish Embassy to the Vatican.  From the Irish Times article In practice, there are two types of Holy See ambassadors – those who have their own embassies in Rome and those who work out of the embassy in a neighbouring country such as France, Switzerland or Malta. Senior Vatican diplomats point out that as far as …

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Irish Government to close Vatican Embassy

As the BBC reports The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore made the announcement with “greatest regret” on Thursday. He said that the closure was part of government cost cutting plans. Mr Gilmore added that although the embassy to the Holy See was one of the Republic’s oldest missions, it yielded no “economic return”. “The government believes that Ireland’s interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador,” he said. “The government will be seeking …

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Euro crisis: “The Greek government has become adept at playing Europe’s leaders…”

The Guardian’s Business blog team are live-blogging events following the ‘bolt from the blue’ that was the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou calling for a referendum on the ‘rescue package’.  And there’s an emergency Greek government cabinet meeting at 4pm [GMT]. BBC business editor, and still everyone’s hero, Robert Peston, looks at “the price of Greek democracy”. Opinion polls wouldn’t suggest there’s a high probability of Mr Papandreou winning the day. But views can change. What’s in it for the Greek people? Well, …

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Euro crisis: “And all bets are off if Europe does not start to grow again…”

At the Guardian’s business blog, Graeme Wearden is live-blogging the European debt crisis, as the “OECD predicts some negative growth in eurozone in 2012… and calls for “bold” action from the G20, Italian bond yields hit 6.13%, Markets fall as bailout deal euphoria peters out, [and the] Euro crisis drags MF Global to the brink“. Meanwhile BBC Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, considers “Europe after the euphoria” Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or that expectations had been exceeded, but there was a whiff …

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Euro crisis: “It is easy sometimes to exaggerate the impact of street protests.”

With the G20 finance ministers meeting in Paris to ponder the eurozone debt crisis, time for a quick look at how the PIIGS are doing…  Now that Slovakia has, finally, acquiesced to the inadequate European financial stability facility…  At the cost to the Slovakian government of a general election in March 2012… In Portugal the government is seeking to tighten the austerity belt further, and the international rating agencies cut Spain’s credit rating.  The Guardian’s Jon Henley is on a “Europe on the breadline” …

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RWC – Final Group Games…

Ok – let’s eliminate absurdites and look at the more realistic scenarios for the Six Nation Teams: 1. In Pool D – Barring losing to Fiji by 62 39 points or more Wales are through the Group of Death in second behind South Africa. 2. In Pool B – Scotland need to beat England by 8 points and restrict England to less than 4 tries to get through in second. If they do Argentina win the group, providing they secure …

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Euro crisis: “It is a debt crisis but a crisis, too, of legitimacy.”

Credit ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded two major French banks ahead of crisis talks between President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou.  BBC business editor, and still everyone’s hero, Robert Peston explains why.  And Greece isn’t their only concern.  Nor are they the only ones taking an interest.  [Adds – More on the interest elsewhere].  The Guardian’s business blog is live-blogging today’s events… And, even though they “know how difficult a treaty change will be”, that’s precisely what …

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Euro crisis: “even though we know how difficult a treaty change will be”

Whilst the Eurogroup continues working “on a proposal”, there are some other snippets to note. The IMF has announced it is releasing almost €1.5billion to Ireland as part of the EU-IMF financial aid package for the country.  Apparently the Irish government has maintained “resolute implementation” of the economic restructuring programme, and is “ahead of schedule in some areas”. Not so Greece.  The Irish Times’ Arthur Beesley informs us that the EU-IMF inspectors have “unexpectedly left Greece yesterday after the emergence of divisions …

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Jean-Claude Juncker: “The Eurogroup is working on a proposal, which I hope all eurozone member states will be happy with”

A quick update from Brussels on the crisis in the euro-zone where Finland’s demand for collateral in return for financial aid to Greece is, as the New York Times reported, threatening the “fragile consensus”.  [Offer them an island or two! – Ed]  I don’t think that would cover it… The BBC reports that European Central Bank (ECB) president, Jean-Claude Trichet, wants European governments to get back to work quickly. “The full and timely implementation of the July 21 agreement between heads …

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Sarkozy: “We have to converge. The status quo is impossible.”

Frau Bundeskanzlerin and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, emerged from their bunker yesterday to call for “true economic governance” for the eurozone.  As Derek Scally reports in the Irish Times Mr Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel presented joint proposals for further reforms and euro zone integration after meeting in Paris yesterday, calling them essential steps to end ongoing instability. “To strengthen the euro as our common currency, it is clear that we will need a closer interlocking of economic and financial …

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Euro crisis: “When preserving the status quo is no longer a viable option…”

The Italian government is facing internal dissent over the terms and conditions of the European Central Bank’s “sticking plaster”.  Meanwhile, in the Irish Times, another supporter of the “European Project”, Thomas Klau, referencing the recent FT article by Otmar Issing I mentioned, at least identifies the fundamental area for discussion. In the English-language debate particularly, the relationship between democracy and European integration is often most vigorously argued about by Eurosceptics. It is essential for advocates of deeper European integration not …

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Euro crisis: “Que Sera Sera…”

The European Central Bank’s “sticking plaster” appears to have had the desired effect of alleviating pressure on Spanish and Italian government bonds.  For now.  As BBC business editor, and still everyone’s hero, Robert Peston, observes It would have been utterly disastrous if there had been any other outcome. Because – for the avoidance of any doubt – the ECB is taking a substantial reputational and financial risk in buying the debt of these nations: many will see the ECB as …

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Euro crisis: “The euro area crisis has reached end game…”

The Italian finance minister, Giulio Tremonti, has held crisis talks with  Jean-Claude Juncker, chair of the Eurogroup of finance ministers.  The Spanish Prime Minister,  Jose Luis Zapatero, “has postponed the start of his holidays” to keep “an eye on the international economic situation.”  Both countries’ bond yields have reached their highest rates in 14 years, and are considered to be at unsustainable levels.  As the Guardian reports, the stock markets have taken fright “as fears grew over the health of the global …

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Euro crisis: Back from the brink?

Well, perhaps…  Eurozone leaders emerged from their emergency summit yesterday offering a new €109billion bail-out for Greece with twice as long to pay it back [30 years] at a lower interest rate than before.  It’s a “restricted default event”, according to ratings agency Fitch.  The draft agreement in full is here [pdf file]. Ireland and Portugal get an interest rate cut too – Karl Whelan’s busy at Irish Economy calculating what it means for Ireland.  But the private sector involvement in Greece …

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Barroso: “Nobody should be under any illusion: the situation is very serious”

Everyone’s got something to say ahead of tomorrow’s emergency EU summit on the existential European debt crisis.  Whether you believe any of them is another matter entirely… Taoiseach Enda Kenny is echoing Frau Bundeskanzlerin. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is also hopeful that Ireland will be on the agenda at tomorrow’s meeting. However, in a statement issued today, Mr Kenny said he did not believe the meeting would solve all of the euro zone’s problems. “The crisis in the euro area …

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Euro crisis: “everything those leaders have done, after large amounts of dithering, has ended up making the situation worse.”

That’s the BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders quoted above, by the way.  Which brings me back to Thursday’s emergency summit called by European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy “Our agenda will be the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and the future financing of the Greek programme,” said Mr Van Rompuy in a brief statement last night. [Friday 15th July] Perhaps…  But Frau Bundeskanzlerin, who reportedly wasn’t as keen on the summit being called, has been playing down expectations …

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Jean-Claude Trichet: “It is not a question of technique. It is a question of will and determination.”

At the Telegraph blog, Andrew Lilico takes his life in his hands to ask, “Is it time for the eurozone to turn into a Single European State?”  A key point he makes, I’d suggest OK – so what do we do, if we don’t want to break up the euro altogether? First, we have to accept (a) that this is fundamentally a political project, a precursor to a Single European State, and must be accepted as such by all its …

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Van Rompuy: “Our agenda will be the financial stability of the euro area as a whole…”

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency summit of divided euro zone leaders on Thursday to address the existential European debt crisis.  From the Irish Times report “Our agenda will be the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and the future financing of the Greek programme,” said Mr Van Rompuy in a brief statement last night. “I have asked for the preparatory work to be brought forward inter alia by the finance ministries.” And they …

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Euro crisis: “Europe has been producing its usual cacophony of voices in the past few days”

BBC Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, has been looking at Spain in the aftermath of defeat for the prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s ruling socialist party in municipal and regional elections.  From Gavin Hewitt But nerves are back. In weekend elections the governing Socialist party took a thrashing. Even in strongholds like Seville and Castilla-La Mancha it was defeated. There is a pattern emerging in Europe. Given a chance, the people turn on the incumbents. In Spain national elections do not …

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