Editor Southern Europe
Barry's Feed
Jul 20, 2011

Analysis: Ex-communist president holds the line in Italy

ROME (Reuters) – As Italy struggles to escape the euro zone debt crisis and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi slides into decline, an octogenarian former communist has taken center stage in warding off the danger.

President Giorgio Napolitano holds a largely ceremonial office but he has been remarkably prominent in dragging politicians into the defense of the euro zone’s third largest economy against speculators’ attacks.

Jul 7, 2011

Confusion, divisions and insults over Italy’s budget

ROME (Reuters) – Confusion, insults and political divisions on Thursday dogged Italy’s austerity budget, intended to eliminate a deficit by 2014 and prevent the country being sucked into the euro zone debt crisis.

There was so much uncertainty over the size of a three-year programme of belt-tightening measures announced on Wednesday that a string of different figures published by Italian newspapers on Thursday diverged by up to 28 billion euros (25.10 billion pounds).

Jun 21, 2011

Greek govt survives vote; protesters chant insults

ATHENS, June 22 (Reuters) – Greece’s embattled government on
Wednesday survived a confidence vote crucial to avoiding a
sovereign default, as thousands of protesters chanted insults
outside parliament.

The assembly voted confidence in the government, reshuffled
by Prime Minister George Papandreou to stiffen resolve behind a
painful new austerity programme, by 155 votes to 143 with two
abstentions. All Papandreou’s Socialist Party deputies voted
solidly with the government.

Jun 21, 2011

Protesters besiege parliament before Greek vote

ATHENS (Reuters) – More than 20,000 chanting protesters besieged the Greek parliament on Tuesday before Prime Minister George Papandreou’s embattled government faced a confidence vote crucial to avoiding a sovereign default.

In the biggest protest in Syntagma square for several days, the protesters chanted slogans against the politicians, shone hundreds of green laser lights at the building and into the eyes of riot police outside and pushed their hands forward in a traditional insult.

Jun 21, 2011

Greece faces vote crucial to avoid default

ATHENS (Reuters) – Prime Minister George Papandreou’s cabinet faces a confidence vote late on Tuesday, the first of three tests the Greek government must survive to avert the euro zone’s first sovereign default.

The vote follows a euro zone ultimatum that the debt-choked Mediterranean state must approve a new five-year package of painful economic reforms in two weeks or miss out on a 12-billion-euro aid tranche that it needs to avoid bankruptcy.

Jun 21, 2011

Cabinet vote nears as EU/IMF team heads to Greece

ATHENS (Reuters) – Prime Minister George Papandreou’s cabinet faces a confidence vote late on Tuesday, the first of three tests the Greek government must survive to avert the euro zone’s first sovereign debt default.

The vote follows a euro zone ultimatum that the debt-choked Mediterranean state must approve a new five-year package of painful economic reforms in two weeks or miss out on a 12-billion-euro aid tranche that it needs to avoid bankruptcy.

Jun 20, 2011

Europe delays decision on emergency loans to Greece

LUXEMBOURG/ATHENS (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers postponed a final decision on extending a further 12 billion euros ($17 billion) in emergency loans to Greece, saying Athens would first have to introduce harsh austerity measures.

The ministers said in a statement that they expected to pay the money by mid-July. Greece has said it needs the loans by then to avoid defaulting on its debt.

Jun 19, 2011

Greek PM warns against default, Europe meets on aid

ATHENS/LUXEMBOURG, June 19 (Reuters) – Prime Minister George
Papandreou asked Greeks on Sunday to support austerity steps and
avoid a “catastrophic” default, as European finance ministers
discussed extending tens of billions of euros of aid to Greece.

Addressing the Greek parliament, Papandreou appealed for the
opposition to support deeply unpopular tax hikes, spending cuts
and privatisation plans which international donors have demanded
as a condition for the aid.

Jun 19, 2011

Papandreou asks Greece to avoid “catastrophic” default

ATHENS (Reuters) – Prime Minister George Papandreou, besieged by public protests and dissent in his own party, appealed to Greeks on Sunday to support deeply unpopular austerity reforms and avoid a catastrophic bankruptcy.

Papandreou addressed parliament at the start of a confidence debate in his new crisis cabinet, ahead of a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg which is expected to release a new aid tranche to keep Greece going.

Jun 16, 2011

Berlusconi’s 17 years of dominance draw to a close

ROME (Reuters) – After 17 years, Italians finally seem to have had enough of Silvio Berlusconi.

Massive defeat in four referendums on nuclear energy, water privatisation and trial immunity for ministers last weekend were the biggest blow in an annus horribilis for the prime minister that many analysts say signals the start of a new era.

    • About Barry

      "I am the Editor or cluster chief in charge of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. I have previously worked all over the world in a long career with Reuters which has taken me from Asia to the United States. My positions have included Americas production editor, World Desk editor, Middle East Editor and Africa editor. I recently planned our multi-media coverage of the soccer World Cup in South Africa and reported extensively on the tournament and its impact on the continent. I will be based in Rome from November"
    • Contact Barry

    • Follow Barry