Breakingviews

Rob Cox: EU’s new trustbuster begins with a bang

April 21, 2015

Since becoming Brussels’ antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager has taken action against the twin monsters of the digital and energy worlds: Google and Gazprom. But her battles on the Eastern and Western fronts of market abuse may leave Europe’s M&A boom plenty of room to flourish.

Time for Greece’s Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve in debt battle

By Hugo Dixon
February 21, 2015

The new Greek PM has crossed a Rubicon in asking for an extension to the country’s hated bailout programme while abandoning many election promises. Tsipras should realise there is no turning back. But he can snatch victory from defeat if he embraces radical reforms with vigour.

Rob Cox: Fragility bigger worry than volatility

October 21, 2014

Recent rollercoaster markets are a symptom of a more concerning malady. They reflect the shock accompanying recognition that widely accepted assumptions about everything from monetary policy to geopolitics, and even the state of global health, are dangerously flimsy.

Calculator: Does Scoxit = Brexit?

By Hugo Dixon
September 12, 2014

If Scotland votes for independence, one of the knock-on effects could be on Britain’s membership of the European Union. This calculator quantifies the political risks posed by the Scottish referendum for the UK in Europe.

Banks risk provoking EU with bonus get-arounds

September 2, 2014

Firms are paying top staff extra “allowances” in response to European bonus caps. That avoids raising base salaries and keeps costs flexible. The risk is that successful avoidance of the rules will prompt policymakers to shift the attack to pay quantum rather than pay structure.

Ukraine, the bailout Europe cannot shirk

February 24, 2014

After triggering the end of the Yanukovich regime, the EU has a responsibility to help with Ukraine’s dire economy. It won’t provide all the needed $20 bln, but it can give the IMF political cover, while calming Russian anger. The ultimate goal has to be for Kiev to join the EU.

Europe will court shutdown with new parliament

December 27, 2013

Eurosceptics and fringe parties will make big gains in next year’s European Parliament elections. A U.S.-style deadlock is unlikely, but mainstream parties will have to compromise more, and passing laws will be harder. It will look more like the old-style Italian model.

The wrongs and rights of the euro banking union

December 19, 2013

The EU governments’ agreement on how to resolve failing lenders looks complex and hard to implement, and it could worsen the fragmentation of euro zone banks. But it is a start. And the final compromise lowers the political barriers to fixing the southern countries’ lending woes.

Ukraine’s Russian lifeline means European pain

December 18, 2013

Vladimir Putin has agreed to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian bonds and to sell gas to Kiev at a discount. The deal gives relief to Russia’s troubled neighbour but costs Moscow little and buys valuable influence. Pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev and other cites won’t go home soon.

EU hits bank creditors and hopes for the best

December 12, 2013

European authorities have agreed to force losses on creditors of failed banks from 2016, in order to spare taxpayers the full cost of bailouts. It gives resolution authorities useful flexibility. The new regime isn’t without risks. At least banks and markets now know the rules.