MPS saga not just a local affair

By Hugo Dixon
January 28, 2013

The Monte dei Paschi di Siena saga is not just an Italian affair. Revelations that complex financial transactions used by the country’s third largest bank had the effect of hiding losses are causing a political storm in Italy.

UK faces five years of limbo-land

By Hugo Dixon
January 23, 2013

The UK faces half a decade of limbo-land. David Cameron’s promise of an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by the end-2017— provided he wins the next election – means an extremely long period of uncertainty for business. That will be bad for investment. It also heightens the risk of an eventual “Brexit” – a British exit from Europe – which would be even worse for the economy.

Hugo Dixon: When is it OK to avoid tax?

By Hugo Dixon
January 21, 2013

When is it OK to avoid tax? And when should taxpayers refrain from actions that will cut their bills, even if their actions are perfectly legal? 

EU positive contagion hinges on growth

By Hugo Dixon
January 14, 2013

Mario Draghi didn’t quite coin a new phrase last week. But the European Central Bank president certainly popularised the expression “positive contagion”. After years in which the euro zone has been suffering from plain old contagion – which doesn’t even need the qualifier “negative” – Draghi now thinks a positive dynamic is in play. 

The EU speech Cameron should make

By Hugo Dixon
January 7, 2013

David Cameron is planning a keynote speech on Britain’s relationship with the EU later this month. Here is what the UK prime minister should say.
 
 The euro crisis is forcing euro zone nations to rethink how they wish to run their currency union. It is also forcing European Union countries that don’t use the single currency, such as Britain, to rethink their relationship with Europe.

It’s 20.12.2012; and it’s the end of a magical era

By Hugo Dixon
December 20, 2012

One doesn’t have to be a Mayan to believe that tomorrow represents a numerological end of an era. Apocalyptic visions stem from reading the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. But even using the widely used Gregorian Calendar, there’s something special about today: 20.12.2012.

Why Mario Draghi scores AAA on PPP

By Hugo Dixon
December 17, 2012

Who is Europe’s most powerful man? If one phrased the question as who is Europe’s most powerful person, the answer might well be Angela Merkel. But the deliberate use of the masculine excludes Germany’s chancellor, leaving the field open to Mario Draghi.

Dos and Don’ts of EU banking union

By Hugo Dixon
December 10, 2012

Conventional wisdom has it that the euro zone needs a banking union to solve its crisis. This is wrong. Not only are there alternatives to an integrated regulatory structure for the zone’s 6,000 banks; centralisation will undermine national sovereignty.

Bersani may not be bad for Italy

By Hugo Dixon
December 3, 2012

The last Italian prime minister whose surname began with a “B” – Silvio Berlusconi – was a disaster. The country’s next leader’s name is also likely to start with a “B”.

Battle against Grexit far from won

By Hugo Dixon
November 26, 2012

The battle against Grexit – Greece’s exit from the euro – is far from won. Assume Athens is promised its next 44 billion euro tranche of bailout cash and some further debt relief when euro zone finance ministers reconvene on Nov. 26. Even then, the banks will still be hobbled, while another round of austerity is in the works and vested interests are rife.