Tuesday

26th May 2020

Top eurozone officials meet amid alarm on Italy

  • Barroso (l) and Van Rompuy - market events are outpacing slow-moving political discussions (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Top eurozone officials are meeting on Monday (11 July) morning to discuss the debt crisis in the 17-nation single currency region amid concerns that it could spread to Italy.

European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet, EU monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn, eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission, are attending the specially-convened event in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The meeting, called by European council President Herman Van Rompuy, is expected to focus on the second bailout for Greece and its implications for broader eurozone stability.

Discussions on the fresh Greek package stalled earlier this month over disagreement on the nature of private creditor involvement.

At the time, it was said talks would probably restart in September, after the summer recess. But events once again overtook the political process - Van Rompuy called the event on Saturday, the day after Italian stock markets suffered a dramatic fall of 3.5 percent.

Markets became jittery after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi publicly criticised his widely-respected finance minister Giulio Tremonti.

There is also concern about the health of Italian banks, with the results of EU stress tests due out on Friday. At the end of last week, the premium which Italy pays to borrow money compared with Germany's soared to its highest point since the eurozone came into being.

Monday morning's extraordinary meeting comes ahead of an earlier-scheduled meeting of eurozone finance ministers in the evening.

The Financial Times reports that eurozone leaders are for the first time to accept that Athens will default on some of its bonds as a part of the second bailout.

With talks on the new package still at an early stage, the paper says the new measures could see a further lowering of interest rates on the bailout loans in a concession to Athens.

Italy: Euro crisis meeting could strain coalition

Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government is to face a major test at 6pm local time on Monday, when ministers meet to push through austerity measures under pressure from fellow EU leaders.

Italian 'national consensus' urgent, says Brussels

The European Commission has called on Italy to build a "national consensus" between political parties and with the unions to assure the implementation of austerity measures and structural adjustment in the wake of a surprise downgrade in the country’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s.

EU data protection rules abused to censor media

This week the EU's data protection rules (known as the GDPR) are two-years old. While the controversial GDPR was intended to offer greater privacy rights, it has also been abused by some authorities to muzzle a free press.

Coronavirus

Draft EU 'green recovery' plan amid clash over natural gas

The European Commission's recovery plan from the coronavirus pandemic gives priority to building renovation, renewables and hydrogen. However, eight member states have insisted that gas plays a crucial role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

Opinion

Clock is ticking: 300,000 vs 3.3m Covid-19 Africa deaths?

With the exception of South Africa and some parts of West Africa, the continent has been relatively untouched, including (quite surprisingly) highly-connected Ethiopia. Namibia, Burundi, Botswana, Seychelles, Zimbabwe only count a dozen of cases, and Lesotho is a virus-free country.

News in Brief

  1. Johnson: Shops in UK will reopen on 15 June
  2. German doctors: Summer holidays could cause second wave
  3. EU forced to choose between China and US: Borrell
  4. Spain to lift two-week arrival quarantine from July
  5. Germany gives Lufthansa €9bn bailout for equity stake
  6. Volkswagen ordered to pay in landmark 'dieselgate' case
  7. 40 million health workers urge more G20 investment
  8. Jourova: Budget rule-of-law link 'more needed than ever'

Column

That German court ruling hurts EU rule-of-law fightback

The short-term damage to financial markets may be smaller than feared. The damage to democracy is considerable because it weakened the ECJ - the most effective institution to stop attacks against democracy and rule of law in EU member states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  3. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic co-operation on COVID-19
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic research collaboration on pandemics

Latest News

  1. How Kaczyński ruined Poland, judges tell MEPs
  2. EU data protection rules abused to censor media
  3. Draft EU 'green recovery' plan amid clash over natural gas
  4. Clock is ticking: 300,000 vs 3.3m Covid-19 Africa deaths?
  5. Recovery plans unveiled This WEEK
  6. EU and UK stumbling into Irish border crisis
  7. Malta patrol boat 'intimidates' capsized migrants
  8. How coronavirus might hit EU defence spending

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us