Connect to share and comment

Saving the euro: 2012 begins in earnest

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin, their first face to face of the new year, with old problems: Greece, and new ones: the rising price of oil, to deal wit
Merkozy 2012Enlarge
So happy to see each other after the holidays: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today, heading in to their latest meeting on how to save the euro (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe's power couple got down to work on the nuts and bolts of the new treaty for euro zone countries that will, they hope, put the brakes on the sovereign debt crisis. A fiscal compact with penalties for euro zone countries that run deficits above three percent of GDP is the core of that treaty.

At a press conference after both Merkel and Sarkozy expressed confidence the treaty will be done and agreed on and ready for signature by March 1. Agreed on - probably. But my experience tells me to be slightly skeptical about ready for signatures on March 1.

More interesting news to those who follow this as a regular part of their daily existence was Merkel joining Sarkozy in endorsing a financial transaction tax, or Tobin tax, on all EU banks.

More

Germany's shadow currency?

In some places the deutschmark is still coin of the realm
Euro dmEnlarge
There are still plenty of deutschmarks out there in case Germany decides to pull the plug on the euro. (JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

On the tenth anniversary of the euro, there are still places in Germany where the deutschmark is accepted as legal tender. Apparently this is not an exercise in nationalism or nostalgia.

Germany is a country where people save - as opposed to the U.S. - and there are still billions of deutschmarks in banks, under mattresses, wherever.

More

The French and the euro: not so happy anniversary

On 10th anniversary of euro going into circulation a poll shows a majority of the French think the single currency is bad for the country
Le penEnlarge
Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate of France's far right National Front at a Christmas market last month. An anti-euro campaigner, will she be able to win extra votes out of French disillusionment with the single currency. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Exactly ten years ago, the first euro coins and notes began to circulate around Europe. To mark the occasion the newspaper Journal du Dimanche commissioned a poll from Ifop on French attitudes to the single currency. The results are not encouraging for political leaders.

A majority of those polled, almost two-thirds, say the euro is not good for France or for them personally. There is a generational shift underlying this view. Anti-euro feeling is highest among the young. The over-65's are more likely to view the euro positively.

More

French manufacturing base is contracting rapidly as a result of crisis

In the last three years hundreds of factories have closed and jobs permanently lost
French factoriesEnlarge
Despite all the protests and demands that government do something to save jobs, French manufacturing is going through the most severe period of de-industrialization in four decades with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
In the last three years hundreds of French factories have closed as a result of the economic crisis and tens of thousands of jobs have been permanently lost
More

Greece: more on the cost of austerity

Children are paying the price for Greece's Great Depression
Greek familiesEnlarge
Greek families are paying the price for the extreme austerity measures being required to keep the country in the euro zone. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Children are paying the price for Greece's Great Depression
More

Rare, good news from the euro zone?

Italy's bond auction cheers markets. But will it last?
Euro symbol statueEnlarge
The Europe sculpture of Belgian artist May Claerhout outside the European Parliament building on November 17, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Could the euro zone crisis finally be at a turning point?

The Italian government today auctioned six month treasury bonds, and investors settled for sharply lower interest rates.

European equities markets were somewhat buoyed by the development, rising about 0.5 percent by the end of trading.

So why does this matter?

Well, because it could signal a first, baby step toward relief for the euro zone.

More

Mario Draghi's plan begins to take shape

European Central Bank President makes low interest loans available to Europe's retail banks and guess what? they snap the cheap money up.
Ecb loansEnlarge
You can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes Mario Draghi will give you what he thinks you need: in this case, cheap loans to the euro zone's cash strapped banks. (DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
European Central Bank President makes low interest loans available to Europe's retail banks and guess what? they snap the cheap money up.
More

Europe: Markets easing up

Christmas? or a sense that perhaps the patient has stabilized?
German santaEnlarge
Santa is smiling in Germany. A respected study of business leaders published today shows optimism for the economy in 2012 despite the euro zone's woes. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)
Christmas? or a sense that perhaps the patient has stabilized?
More

The thoughts of President Mario

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi tells European Parliament euro is strong and permanent
Draghi todayEnlarge
ECB President Mario Draghi appearing before Members of the European Parliament today in Brussels (JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi tells European Parliament euro is strong and permanent
More

Euro zone sovereign debt crisis: Six lessons for the US

NEW YORK — Although it may be tempting for Americans to believe that der schuh is on the other fuss, Europe's crisis may soon be our own.
Syndicate content