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Jan 23, 2015

Independent Greeks emerge as Syriza coalition option

ATHENS (Reuters) – The anti-bailout Independent Greeks party has emerged as a potential coalition partner for Syriza should the leftists win Sunday’s election, as polls predict.

Although it is a party of the center-right formed by rebels from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy, the Independent Greeks share Syriza’s opposition to the terms of Greece’s 240-billion-euro bailout by international lenders.

Jan 19, 2015

‘Grexit’ risk may be underestimated, Greek officials say

ATHENS (Reuters) – The idea that a Greek euro zone exit could be handled without much damage to the rest of the bloc is met with disbelief in Greek government circles.

With elections just six days away, leftist Syriza leads the opinion polls and is intent on cancelling the austerity terms of a bailout from Europe and the International Monetary Fund and also wants a big debt write off.

Jan 14, 2015

Anti-euro mood in Italy clouds Napolitano departure

ROME (Reuters) – For Italy’s partners in Brussels and Washington, President Giorgio Napolitano was a guarantor of stability during the euro zone crisis. But for austerity-weary Italians turning increasingly against Europe, his image is more ambivalent.

U.S. President Barack Obama last week thanked Napolitano, who resigned on Wednesday, for his “historic” term in office. The 89-year-old former communist has also been praised by international investors and commentators, who contrast his dutiful stance with Italy’s fractious politicians.

Jan 14, 2015

Italian President Napolitano departs, setting challenge for Renzi

ROME (Reuters) – Italian President Giorgio Napolitano handed in his resignation as head of state on Wednesday, leaving Prime Minister Matteo Renzi with the politically delicate task of finding a successor.

The 89-year-old Napolitano, widely respected outside Italy as a guarantor of stability during the euro zone crisis, had always been expected to step down before the end of his second term in office because of his advanced age.

Jan 2, 2015

Former Greek PM Papandreou sets up new party, complicating election outlook

ATHENS (Reuters) – Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced the creation of a new political party on Friday, confirming a long-expected split from the center-left PASOK and complicating the potential outcome of this month’s national election.

The new party, dubbed “Movement for Change”, has yet to detail policies but they are expected to be similar to those of PASOK, part of the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s center-right New Democracy.

Dec 31, 2014

Italy president says he will step down soon

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s 89-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano said on Wednesday that he would step down soon because of his age, leaving Prime Minister Matteo Renzi facing a delicate political challenge to replace him.

After dropping hints for months, Napolitano began the president’s annual end-year address by saying he was speaking also to his successor, who would “soon” take his place.

Dec 31, 2014

Italy presidential choice poses problem for PM Renzi

ROME (Reuters) – An expected decision by Italy’s president to step down next year would leave Prime Minister Matteo Renzi facing one of his most delicate political challenges.

After dropping hints for months, 89-year-old Giorgio Napolitano, is likely to indicate in an end-of-year address on Wednesday evening that he will leave his post early next year, although he may not name an exact date.

Dec 29, 2014

Ferry stricken by blaze fully evacuated, seven dead

ROME/ATHENS, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Rescue teams on Monday
completed the evacuation of nearly 500 people from a car ferry
that caught fire off Greece’s Adriatic coast, working through
the night and defying high seas and freezing weather in a
36-hour drama.

But seven people were killed in the incident, the Italian
coastguard said.

The fire broke out on a vehicle deck of the Norman Atlantic
ferry, which was carrying 478 passengers and crew and more than
200 vehicles, early on Sunday. Rescue efforts were immediately
complicated by bad weather.

Dec 10, 2014

Italy’s Northern League calls for EU to be ‘demolished’

ROME (Reuters) – In a European political landscape increasingly populated with insurgent, anti-system parties, Italy’s eurosceptic anti-immigrant Northern League is the latest to profit from a groundswell of hostility to the European Union.

The League’s 41-year-old leader, Matteo Salvini calls the euro a “criminal currency” and wants to demolish the Brussels consensus that has dominated European politics since the end of World War Two. He is also, at odds with mainstream leaders, an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dec 4, 2014

Rome mayor orders review of contracts amid graft scandal

ROME (Reuters) – The mayor of Rome ordered a review of city contracts on Thursday after a police investigation revealed a web of corrupt relationships between politicians and criminals in the Italian capital.

Police arrested 37 people and placed dozens more under investigation on Tuesday in the latest scandal to hit Italy, ranked one of the most corrupt countries in Europe in Transparency International’s latest global corruption index.