Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Greek Leftist Leader Seeks to Woo Centrist Voters with Softer Stance on Euro


Greek Leftist Leader Seeks to Woo Centrist Voters with Softer Stance on Euro
Wall Street Journal
By Stelios Bouras and Alkman Granitsas ATHENS-- With days to go before Greece's Sunday elections, radical leftist leader Alexis Tsipras appears to be wooing centrist voters by saying he wants to keep the country in the euro even though he insists on ...
Greek leftist Tsipras slams bailout, vows to keep euroReuters
Greece Ponders Second Election in 6 WeeksVoice of America
Greek Stocks Rocket Ahead of Crucial ElectionsABC News -Financial Times
all 1,258 news articles »

It's decision time for euro zone

LONDON (Reuters) - The risks to Britain from a disorderly collapse of the euro zone are huge and Greece has to make up its mind over its membership of the zone, finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday. In comments likely to stir up resentment on the continent, where euro zone leaders are fed up with what they see as an obstructive Britain lecturing from the sidelines, Osborne told the bloc to form a banking union and underwrite its banks. ...

Greece Ponders Second Election in 6 Weeks

Voice of America

Greece Ponders Second Election in 6 Weeks
Voice of America
Tempers are rising as politicians from right and left fight for votes.

Greek leftist Tsipras slams bailout, vows to keep euro

ABC News

Greek leftist Tsipras slams bailout, vows to keep euro
SYRIZA leader warns speculators against betting on Greekeuro exit* Says Spain showed possible to stay in euro withoutausterity conditions* Opinion polls ...
Greek Leftist Leader Seeks to Woo Centrist Voters with Softer ...Wall Street Journal
Greek Stocks Rocket Ahead of Crucial ElectionsABC News
Greek jobless hits record as election loomsChicago Tribune

all 1,025 news articles »

Spain issues dramatic messages of impending eurozone doom

Spain's foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, said the EU's future would be played out in days or perhaps even hours

A panicky Spanish government issued dramatic messages of impending doom for the eurozone on Thursday as its borrowing costs reached unsustainable levels and foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo claimed that the EU may need to act within hours.

"The future of the European Union will be played out in the next few days, perhaps in the coming hours," he said, according to Spanish press reports.

The foreign minister, who was speaking as Spain's long-term borrowing costs hit an unsustainable 7%, warned that other European countries would suffer dreadfully if they let Spain fall. ''If the Titanic sinks, it takes everyone with it, even those travelling in first class,'' he said, in a warning clearly aimed at Germany and other eurozone countries.

The interest rate on the country's benchmark 10-year bonds briefly hit 7% on Thursday, its highest level since the country joined the euro in 1999, after the ratings agency Moody's downgraded Spain's sovereign debt to just one grade above ''junk" status.

Moody's said the downgrade was due to the offer from eurozone leaders of up to €100bn (£81bn) to Spain to prop up its failing banking sector adding considerably to the government's debt burden.

García-Margallo's comments contrasted with those of finance minister Luis de Guindos, who called for calm during an inevitably volatile period while Europe prepares to make key decisions on its future and waits to see how Greece votes on Sunday.

"It is not a situation that can be maintained over time … and I am convinced that we will continue to take more measures in the coming days and weeks to help bring it down," De Guindos told reporters, referring to Spain's borrowing costs, after senior cabinet members had met prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

Government sources said that the EU president Herman von Rompuy was set to meet Rajoy, Germany's Angela Merkel, Italy's Mario Monti and Frrance's François Hollande in a five-way meeting during the G20 meeting in Mexico on Monday.

Barack Obama, who has been pressuring eurozone countries to act quickly in order to sort out the debt crisis, was also expected to meet the five leaders in Mexico. David Cameron may also join the meeting.

The EU competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, was expected to get a chilly reception in Madrid on Friday when he flies in to meet Rajoy to discuss the bailout of the country's banks.

Rajoy's conservative People's party (PP) has called for Almunia, a Spanish socialist, to resign after he warned that some Spanish banks may have to be liquidated.

"Rajoy is head of the People's party but, most importantly, he is the prime minister and in that role he will not be asking for Almunia's resignation," a government source said.

Almunia will be in charge of the EU inspectors who oversee the restructuring of the Spanish banking sector. The budget minister Cristóbal Montoro has called them the "men in black".

Spain will next week be able to say how much of the €100bn its banks really need. Rajoy has said he will wait for the results of two independent valuations of Spanish bank assets before deciding on a final sum.

Those reports are due by 21 June, but Reuters reported that officials in Madrid already knew the contents of the reports and that Rajoy would have the figures with him when he travelled to Mexico.

The final figure was likely to be between €60bn and €70bn, according to Reuters, though officials in Madrid refused to confirm the amount.

Officials said that Spain wanted the banking loans to be delivered as soon as possible. ""No one is more interested than us in there being absolute clarity in our banking sector, and as soon as possible," a government source said.

Madrid is pinning its hopes of avoiding a wider bailout of the country on an EU summit to be held at the end of this month.

"The government is seeking a declaration of the irreversibility of the single currency and of its willingness both to defend that and to create the necessary mechanisms," a government source said. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Greek Syriza Wants Greece In Euro Zone Without Loan Agreement

Greek Syriza Wants Greece In Euro Zone Without Loan Agreement
Wall Street Journal
ATHENS--Greece's leftist Syriza party wants to keep the country in the euro zone despite not agreeing to the austerity measures accompanying Athens' second ...

Angela Merkel tells rest of Europe to get real about eurozone crisis

Chancellor Angela Merkel rejects pressure on Germany to act as Berlin blames Spanish PM over handling of €100bn bailout

Angela Merkel signalled yesterday that she is running out of patience with Europe's efforts to get to grips with its currency crisis, venting her exasperation at what she views as the excessive expectation being placed on Germany to save the euro.

In a speech to parliament in Berlin before a fortnight of crucial elections and summitry in Europe, the German chancellor bluntly told the rest of Europe to get real about the crisis, dismissed calls for Berlin to share responsibility for other eurozone countries' debt, and rejected charges that Germany was not doing enough to stabilise the currency.

"Germany is strong, is the economic engine and anchor of stability in Europe," Merkel said. "Germany is deploying this strength and this power for the benefit of people not only in Germany, but also in the service of European unification and the world economy."

But she warned: "Germany's strength is not unlimited. The way out of the crisis in the eurozone can only be successful if all countries are capable of recognising the reality and realistically assessing their strengths."

With the crisis well into its third year, the German leader sounded both pessimistic and newly combative, delivering some of her toughest language to date on Europe's predicament. She is keenly aware that she is increasingly isolated in her approach to the euro drama but shows little sign of shifting.

Referring to the G20 summit opening on Monday in Mexico, she said: "Once again Germany will be the centre of attention." She argued that some of the formulas being proposed for saving the euro using German money would simply amount to illusory short-lived fixes, condemning Europe to a future of high debt and economic mediocrity.

The blunt message from Merkel came days after a new €100bn (£81bn) rescue package for Spain, the eurozone's fourth bailout in two years, and days ahead of Greece's fateful election on Sunday which could decide whether the country becomes the first to be forced out of the single currency club.

Berlin takes the firm view that, regardless of the election outcome, Athens will need to honour the stiff eurozone terms if it is to be kept solvent. It also blames the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, for being too slow to request last weekend's bailout after he repeatedly ignored dozens of German requests for a frank analysis of the condition of Spain's banks.

The way the Spanish bailout was handled has unsettled rather than reassured the financial markets, Berlin believes. The role of the London-based European Banking Authority in the Spanish debacle has been in Berlin's view a complete and utter failure, meaning that a new European system of regulating eurozone banks should be established.

Merkel sounded bitter at the international pressure being heaped on Berlin to save the euro by, for example, agreeing to guarantee the savings of bank depositors across the eurozone or yielding to the calls for common European liability for the borrowings of eurozone governments – eurobonds.

"Seemingly simple ideas for pooling [debt] are not feasible constitutionally and totally counterproductive," Merkel declared in one of her strongest rejections to date of eurobonds. "They would turn mediocrity into Europe's yardstick. We would be abandoning our ambition of retaining our prosperity in worldwide competition."

Berlin is incensed that eurozone debtor countries are clamouring for Germany to underwrite their borrowings but are reluctant to cede sovereign powers over fiscal and budgetary policy to Brussels in return. "Liability and control belong together," said Merkel, meaning that copper-bottomed, German-scripted intervention in other countries' budgets would need to be in place before Berlin eventually committed to opening its chequebook to rescue the euro and repair others' profligacy. "All other discussion amounts to a bogus solution of our problems."

The robust talk from Merkel came as Madrid's borrowing costs broke through the affordability barrier of 7% for the first time in the history of the currency despite last weekend's eurozone agreement to bail out Spain's rotten banks.

If Berlin is frustrated with events in Spain, there are also worsening frictions with the new French regime of President François Hollande. Following talks in Rome with the Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, Hollande was expected to unveil his first euro rescue plan ahead of an EU summit in a fortnight. The plan calls for using the eurozone's bailout fund to rescue teetering banks directly and for the fund to be granted a banking licence so that it can tap more money from the European Central Bank.

The proposals are anathema in Berlin, suggesting a Franco-German clash is looming. For the first time in years the French and German leaders are approaching an EU summit with sharply conflicting positions. The convention is that they get together before a summit and draft joint proposals which are then swallowed by the rest of Europe.

But the Germans believe that Hollande, in his first moves as president, is peddling a false prospectus by, for example, reducing the retirement age. With youth unemployment in France at 25% and a widening competitiveness gap with Germany, Berlin takes the view that the markets will force Hollande to change track and conform more to German presciptions on European and national economic policy.

Ahead of the G20 summit, where the Obama administration is certain to try to pressure Merkel into more immediate action to stabilise the euro, the chancellor also sent a signal to the White House which is worried that a worsening crisis in Europe could ripple across the Atlantic and damage Obama's re-election chances in November. Germany is already doing its best, Merkel declared.

She is known to take a dim view of US calls for fiscal stimulus to try to get Europe growing. Such policies in the US are not producing a sustainable American recovery or lowering unemployment, Berlin believes. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


French President François Hollande met with his Italian counterpart Mario Monti in Rome Thursday to discuss finances amidst eurozone pressure to reign in debt. Monti told the press he and Hollande agreed Greece should stay in the eurozone.

It's time to get serious, says Venizelos

French President Francois Hollande has "spoken discreetly to the Greek people, saying simple and self-evident things", Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos stated in an niterview on Thursday, also stressing that Hollande's comments had been interpreted by others according to their positions.

"We must get serious", he said, "think responsibly and nothing is simpler and more responsible than for all forces that truly believe in remaining (...)

MARKET COMMENT: Spain Yields Hit Highs But Greek Stocks Surge

Malaysia Star

MARKET COMMENT: Spain Yields Hit Highs But Greek Stocks Surge
Wall Street Journal
Italian and Spanish stocks surprised in late action on Thursday, and Greece's benchmark surged, after unofficial Greek polls pointed to a New Democracy victory ...
Aviva Investors Says Betting Against Euro Before Greek ElectionBusinessWeek
FOREX-Rising Spanish and Italian yields pulls euro lowerReuters
Euro Rises 2nd Day Versus Dollar on Greek Austerity SpeculationSan Francisco Chronicle
Yahoo! Eurosport UK -Kansas City Star -International Business Times
all 1,053 news articles »

Greek Stocks Rally on Optimism New Democracy Will Win

Greek Stocks Rally on Optimism New Democracy Will Win
Greek stocks rallied the most in more than nine months, while a gauge of banks jumped 21 percent, amid speculation that New Democracy, the party that backs ...
Greek Stocks Rally on Optimism New Democracy Will Win ElectionsSan Francisco Chronicle
Greek Stocks SurgeWall Street Journal

all 6 news articles »

'Friend of Greece' François Hollande gives bailout ultimatum

French president offers Greece a tough choice: accept austerity measures or risk ejection from eurozone

Sunday's election in Greece is an election like no other. For starters, it is being watched outside the country as closely as it is within its borders. Leaders who might otherwise have registered the result as a footnote are as anxious about what might happen next in Athens as the people on its streets.

Political paralysis in the wake of last month's indecisive poll has spurred politicians who previously would have thought twice about publicising their views to speak out at length about how the Greeks should vote.

None, however, have had the impact of François Hollande, the French president, who has also weighed in.

Three days before the ballot, an exclusive interview with the Greek Mega TV channel – Hollande's first with a foreign news outlet since assuming power – has been as important for its message as the fact that it took place at all (foreign intervention of this kind has been unprecedented since the return of democracy following the collapse of military rule in 1974).

Calling himself a "friend of Greece", the French leader used the occasion to issue a pledge and a warning. He would do what he could to promote development funds for the crisis-hit country but, he said, if Greeks failed to uphold bailout commitments they had made to their international creditors expulsion from the euro zone could beckon "I respect the Greek people. They will decide what they want on the occasion of the election," he told Mega's flagship news programme in an interview conducted at the Élysée palace.

"But I must warn them, because it is my duty, because I am a friend of Greece, that if the impression is given that the Greeks want to move away from the commitments that were taken and abandon all prospects of revival, then there will be countries in the eurozone that will want to end the presence of Greece in the eurozone."

It was the starkest warning, yet, that Athens' fate hangs in the balance: if Greeks insisted on casting their votes in favour of "anti-austerity" parties at the ballot box they would, he seemed to be saying, not only be playing with fire but making his own job of supporting them practically impossible.

"I want Greece to remain in the euro zone," said Hollande, who is due to meet the Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, in Rome on Thursday to push for a new growth strategy before an emergency EU summit this month.

In another first since 1974, this is an election about issues and not political ideologies or faces. Greeks know they are confronted with an excruciating choice. Either they swallow the pill of bitter belt-tightening and further austerity in the form of yet more recession-inducing income cuts and tax increases, or risk ejection from Europe's shared currency with the dramatic decline in living standards that a return to the drachma would inevitably entail.

This morning the far-left Syriza leader, Alexis Tsipras, reiterated that if his party comes out on top, as some polls have predicted, "the memorandum [bailout accord] will be repudiated by the people's vote, not us".

There is a growing school of thought in Athens that perhaps a win by Syriza would indeed be the way forward. Confronted by the terrifying state of Greece's public finances, analysts argue, the firebrand Tsipras would be forced to move to the centre, his populism and fiery anti-bailout rhetoric disarmed by the force of power.

There is a certain logic to this but it is enormously high risk. Patience with Greece, the country that triggered the debt crisis in the first place, is clearly running out in Europe. Hollande has highlighted this as never before. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Pro-austerity party hopes lifts Greek index

Pro-austerity party hopes lifts Greek index
Financial Times
By Robin Wigglesworth in London Greece's stock market soared the most in almost a year on speculation that New Democracy, one of the major parties that backs the eurozone's austerity package, could win elections on Sunday. The Athens Stock Exchange ...
The Rise of SyrizaBBC News
Greeks to decide euro membership in nail-biter voteeuronews
Greek Political Parties Seeking Entry to Parliament on June 17Bloomberg

all 1,166 news articles »

Greeks to decide euro membership in nail-biter vote

ATHENS (Reuters) - An upstart radical leftist is racing neck and neck with the conservative heir of a prominent Greek family in an election on Sunday that will decide if Greece stays in the euro zone and which could spread turmoil across global financial markets.

Montenegro: Edging towards Europe

LEADERS of the European Union have the euro crisis to discuss at their summit on June 28th-29th. Perhaps surprisingly, Montenegro will also be on the agenda (and not because it uses the euro despite not being in the euro zone, leading some to speculate that Greece may follow its example). Most countries favour opening membership talks with the six-year-old Balkan country of just over 600,000 people. But it may not happen. The Bulgarians say that to hold Montenegro back at this stage would be unfair, but Sweden is not alone in wanting more proof of a genuine fight against organised crime and corruption.

The country’s courts have just offered some help. On June 5th a former mayor of Budva was jailed for corruption. Sent down with him was Dragan Marovic, his former deputy. By coincidence Mr Marovic’s brother is a political foe of Milo Djukanovic, who has dominated Montenegrin politics for more than two decades and heads the ruling party.When Ivo Sanader, a former Croatian prime minister, was arrested in December 2010, impressed EU leaders were quick to accept Croatia as the club’s 28th member next year. But it also...

Greeks divided on austerity

CNN's Matthew Chance reports on the uncertainty in Greece surrounding the growing demand for austerity measures.

Greek shopkeeper wants change in his country, for better or worse

BBC News

Greek shopkeeper wants change in his country, for better or worse
BBC News
Greek shopkeeper Spyros Makrigiannis says even if Greece is forced to exit the euro, its people will still survive. He says the country just needs change - for better or worse. On Sunday Greeks will vote in a second election in as many months.
Greek stocks rocket ahead of crucial
Expat Aussies fear Greece may quit EurozoneHerald Sun

all 1,097 news articles »

Greece prepares for crucial election – in pictures

As Greece readies itself for what could be the most important election since the return of democracy, we take a look at life on the streets

All eyes on Tsipras as ballot looms large

Alexis Tsipras, the radical Greek leftist who has been making waves and headlines both inside and outside the financially troubled Greek landscape, is still an uknown quantity for some.

Born into a comfortable middle class family, Tsipras has a post-graduate degree in engineering but worked only briefly in construction before turning to full-time politics and being handed the Syriza party leadership four years ago.

Greek stocks rocket ahead of crucial elections


Greek stocks rocket ahead of crucial elections
The Associated Press
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek stocks are rocketing higher three days ahead of national elections that could determine whether the debt-crippled country retains its cherished position in the eurozone. Athens' main stock index was up nearly 8 percent in ...
Greek parliamentary election: Your viewsBBC News
Greece before the election Wait and fleeThe Economist

all 1,089 news articles »

Why young Greeks are set to embrace Syriza

Why young Greeks in rural areas are set to embrace Syriza

Press Watch, June 14

French President Francois Hollande's interview with private Mega TV captured intense press attention. He said that if Greece decides not to fulfil its bailout commitments, some Eurozone member states may want to expel the country. But he also said that he does not want that to happen, and that a relationship of trust is needed between Greece and its partners.

The message was that the deal will be sweetened if Greece sticks it out.

Why young rural Greeks are set to embrace Syriza

BBC News

Why young rural Greeks are set to embrace Syriza
BBC News
We drive north from Athens into Thessaly, where once you leave the sea road, the mountains hide a vast alluvial inland plain. This is green Greece. Fertile with wheat, nuts, olives and cattle. The cow bells and the steep mountain roads make if feel ...
Greek Conservatives Sound Old and Tired Ahead of Sunday's VoteWall Street Journal (blog)
RPT-Greek radical Tsipras is no working class heroReuters
Greek crisis hits hard at the pharmacyWashington Post
Voice of America -The Associated Press -BusinessWeek
all 1,013 news articles »

Greek Conservatives Sound Old and Tired Ahead of Sunday's Vote

Wall Street Journal (blog)

Greek Conservatives Sound Old and Tired Ahead of Sunday's Vote
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Greek conservative New Democracy leader and potential prime minister Antonis Samaras is facing the biggest challenge of his political career ahead of general ...
RPT-Greek radical Tsipras is no working class heroReuters
Greek voters headed back to the pollsUSA TODAY
Greek crisis hits hard at the pharmacyWashington Post
Chicago Tribune -Voice of America
all 762 news articles »