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Mar 15, 2013

EU finance experts burn midnight oil over Cyprus deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU and IMF officials planned to work on a rescue package for Cyprus through the night in Brussels with the aim of presenting the outline of a bailout program to euro zone finance experts on Friday morning, sources said.

The package is expected to contain a mixture of tax increases, one-off revenue raising measures, plans for privatizations and the overhaul of Cyprus’s banking sector to ensure that funding for the bailout is sustainable.

Mar 14, 2013

Constitution changes no threat to democracy, says Hungary PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A defiant Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dismissed criticism that changes his government has made to the constitution are anti-democratic, saying there was no evidence of any breach of European Union rules.

The EU, the United States and human rights organizations have accused Orban of using constitutional amendments to limit the powers of Hungary’s top court and undermine democracy in the former Soviet satellite. The move follows steps last year to change Hungary’s media laws and the retirement ages of judges.

Mar 14, 2013

France raises concerns about budget rules at EU summit

BRUSSELS, March 14 (Reuters) – French President Francois
Hollande raised the prospect of a showdown with Germany at a
European summit on Thursday, calling for more room in budgets to
help stimulate growth, a challenge to Berlin’s faith in tight
fiscal controls.

Arriving at the two-day meeting, where discussion will focus
on economic policy and the social fallout from three years of
debt crisis, Hollande said it was essential that governments had
enough budget flexibility to kick-start growth with spending.

Mar 14, 2013

Austerity debate, social crisis dominate EU summit talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday, for once under little financial market pressure, with differences over austerity and how best to tackle the social costs of the debt crisis set to dominate.

The two-day summit will give EU leaders a chance to discuss budget policies, with signs that France, Spain and Portugal could be given more time to meet their deficit goals as long as they maintain a debt-cutting trend.

Mar 13, 2013

Euro minister cautious on size of any Cyprus bailout

BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Cyprus should get an international bailout closer to 10 billion euros than the bigger figures that have been widely reported, the leader of the euro finance ministers’ group said on Wednesday.

The 17 Eurogroup ministers will meet on Friday in Brussels after an EU leaders’ summit to discuss financial help for Cyprus, officials say.

Mar 13, 2013

EU leaders turn attention to joblessness, pain of austerity

BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuters) – Soaring unemployment and
biting austerity will top the agenda at a summit of EU leaders
starting on Thursday, with the social consequences of the
region’s debt crisis now seen as the greatest threat to the
survival of the single currency.

The president of the European Parliament, the EU’s only
directly elected body, warned this week that a generation risked
losing faith in Europe unless rapid steps are taken to tackle
joblessness and recession.

Mar 13, 2013

Euro zone meets on Friday to try to seal Cyprus deal

BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The euro zone’s 17 finance ministers will meet on Friday in Brussels after an EU leaders’ summit to discuss a financial bailout of Cyprus, officials said on Wednesday, signaling growing momentum for a deal.

The meeting, which follows a mission by the troika of international lenders to Cyprus, raises expectations that the euro zone is close to sealing a package of aid that the Mediterranean island asked for last June.

Mar 12, 2013

Analysis: EU sweats over how to bring Hungary into line

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hungary’s decision to change its constitution and limit the power of its top court is a forthright challenge to the European Union, and the uncomfortable truth in Brussels is that little can be done to rein Budapest in quickly.

The Hungarian parliament, dominated by supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has voted overwhelmingly for a set of constitutional amendments that opponents, including the EU, the U.S. government and human rights groups, fear will undermine the country’s 24-year-old democracy.

Mar 11, 2013

Banks saved, but Europe risks “losing a generation”

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe has spent hundreds of billions of euros rescuing its banks but may have lost an entire generation of young people in the process, the president of the European Parliament said.

Since the region’s debt crisis erupted in Greece in late 2009, the European Union has created complex rescue mechanisms to prop up distressed countries and their shaky banking sectors, setting aside a total of 700 billion euros.

Feb 28, 2013

Deepening social crisis threatens fabric of EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The worst of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis may be over in terms of financial turmoil but the region now faces a social crisis that has potential to tear the European Union and its single currency project apart.

Political and economic analysts speaking at the Reuters Euro Zone Summit said the decision last September by the European Central Bank to buy government bonds in unlimited amounts set a floor under one part of the crisis, but did nothing to prevent worsening social strife.

    • About Luke

      "Luke is bureau chief for Reuters in Brussels. The 25-strong, multimedia bureau covers all European Union issues, from trade, energy and agriculture to foreign policy, competition, regulation and economic affairs. The bureau is also responsible for coverage of NATO and Belgian politics, economics and company news. In his beat, Luke covers foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Iran, and writes about EU economic policy. He was previously based in London, where he was defence correspondent, and before that had postings in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Rome and Johannesburg."
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