Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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May 16, 2013

Austria misses EU deadline to sell Kommunalkredit

VIENNA, May 16 (Reuters) – Austria’s Kommunalkredit
could still be sold and does not need to be wound
down, the country’s market watchdog said on Thursday after
Vienna missed an EU privatisation deadline for the lender.

The sale of Kommunalkredit, a public-sector finance
specialist nationalised in 2008, was required under the terms of
Austria’s bailout. Its failure adds to the country’s problems
with the European Commission, which is already questioning state
aid to another Austrian bank.

May 15, 2013

Austrian rivals baulk at supporting Hypo Alpe Adria “bad bank”

VIENNA, May 15 (Reuters) – Austria’s banks are giving a
thumbs down to supporting the creation of a “bad bank” for Hypo
Alpe Adria to relieve pressure on state finances from
the nationalised lender.

Hypo Alpe Adria, rescued from collapse by the state in 2009,
has already swallowed more than 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion)
in government aid.

May 14, 2013

Austria determined to keep EU’s Syria arms embargo

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria will resist British-led efforts to lift or dilute a European Union arms embargo on Syrian rebels, Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Tuesday, arguing that more weapons would only fan the fighting and may snuff out chances for peace talks.

The EU has to decide this month whether to renew or amend its sanctions on Syria, where more than 70,000 people have died in a two-year uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

May 8, 2013

Austria eyes Irish model to handle bank woes-sources

VIENNA, May 8 (Reuters) – Austria may adopt Ireland’s “bad
bank” model to help reorganise nationalised lender Hypo Alpe
Adria before an end-May deadline from the European
Commission for a new and more effective revamp plan, sources
close to the matter said.

Brussels and Vienna are at loggerheads over the pace of
overhauling Hypo, with the Commission keen for its operating
assets to be sold by the end of the year but the Austrians
fearful rushed sales could hurt state finances ahead of
elections due by late September.

May 2, 2013

ECB cuts rates to support flagging euro zone economy

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – The European Central Bank cut interest rates for the first time in 10 months on Thursday, driven to act by an economy wallowing in recession and freed to do so by sharply falling inflation.

The ECB lowered its main interest rate by a quarter point to a new record low of 0.50 percent in response to a drop in inflation well below its target level, and rising unemployment.

May 2, 2013

ECB cuts rates for first time in 10 months

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – The European Central Bank cut interest rates for the first time in 10 months on Thursday, driven to act by an economy wallowing in recession and freed to do so by sharply falling inflation.

The ECB lowered its main interest rate by a quarter point to a new record low of 0.50 percent in response to a drop in inflation well below its target level, and rising unemployment.

Apr 29, 2013

Erste sees second-half uptick in eastern Europe

VIENNA, April 29 (Reuters) – Green shoots of recovery in
central and eastern Europe trouble spots will help Erste Group
Bank chop risk provisions this year, the region’s
number-three lender said.

Erste, which battles Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI)
for second place behind regional market leader
UniCredit, has bet big on long-term growth in central
and east Europe (CEE) and its outlook is heavily dependent on
the area’s economic prospects.

Apr 27, 2013

Austria aims to open up on bank secrecy within weeks

VIENNA, April 27 (Reuters) – Austria aims to agree within
weeks to give other European Union countries access to
foreigners’ bank account details, Chancellor Werner Faymann said
on Saturday, allowing the bloc to begin talks over bank secrecy
with non-EU states such as Switzerland.

Faymann said he hoped for a deal before a May 22 EU summit
that will discuss ways to curb tax dodging that costs members
about 1 trillion euros ($1.30 trillion) a year in lost income.
EU leaders have pushed Austria for a deal before the meeting.

Apr 26, 2013

Austria paves way for EU bank secrecy talks

VIENNA, April 26 (Reuters) – Austria dropped its blockade of
European Union efforts to negotiate accords cracking down on
cross-border tax cheats, unveiling on Friday proposals that
would allow scrutiny of foreigners’ accounts while keeping bank
secrecy for Austrians.

After weeks of political wrangling, leaders of the two
coalition parties laid out joint priorities for talks with EU
partners starting next week that could pave the way for deals
with countries like Switzerland and the United States.

Apr 26, 2013

Austria struggles for unity before EU tax talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Domestic politics are bedevilling Austria’s efforts to forge a unified stance on easing banking secrecy just days before initial talks with European Union partners on how to crack down on cross-border tax cheats.

Austria is the only one of the EU’s 27 states yet to agree to routinely share data on bank accounts held by foreigners, after Luxembourg bowed to pressure this month to end decades of banking secrecy that helped make it a major financial center.

    • About Michael

      "Mike has worked for Reuters for two decades and reported from more than a dozen countries on business and general news. His beats have included covering the European automotive industry, business news from Switzerland, German defense and security policy, and Hungary's transition to a market democracy after the collapse of communism in eastern Europe"
      Joined Reuters:
      1987
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