Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Dec 12, 2013

Mainstream parties clinch Austrian coalition deal

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s mainstream pro-Europe parties agreed on Thursday to govern in coalition for the next five years, promising to ensure continued prosperity in the Alpine euro zone nation.

The Social Democrats (SPO) and conservative People’s Party (OVP) had promised a new, progressive approach to politics after September elections in which voters tired of party paralysis punished them and bolstered the far right.

Dec 11, 2013

Verbund says needs more time to decide on gas plants

VIENNA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Energy group Verbund
needs more time to decide the future of its struggling gas-fired
power plants, which it had hoped to resolve by the end of the
year, it said on Wednesday.

Verbund is battling a difficult environment for gas power
plants in Europe, where demand is low due to a weak economic
climate, while competing renewable energy sources are being
heavily subsidised in neighbouring Germany, the continent’s
biggest economy.

Dec 11, 2013

Austrian banks set to pass stress tests: central bank

VIENNA (Reuters) – Six Austrian banks will hold up well in European stress tests next year that are designed to gauge whether the region’s banks can withstand tough market conditions, the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) said on Wednesday.

OeNB Governor Ewald Nowotny gave an upbeat view of how domestic banks would fare in the stress tests that aim to reassure investors about the resilience of 128 big euro zone banks in the wake of the financial crisis.

Dec 10, 2013

Big parties near Austrian coalition deal, avoid big changes

VIENNA (Reuters) – The two big pro-Europe parties that have dominated post-war Austrian politics are closing in on a deal to extend their coalition government by eschewing major change in favor of largely staying the course.

Barring last-minute surprises, Chancellor Werner Faymann’s center-left Social Democrats (SPO) and their junior partners, the conservative People’s Party (OVP), will unveil a deal in days to extend the coalition that has governed since 2006.

Dec 9, 2013

Privatisations at issue in Austria coalition talks

VIENNA, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Austrian conservatives are pushing
to sell more state-owned shares in big companies such as OMV
, Telekom Austria or Austrian Post
as coalition talks heat up with the Social Democrats.

The two big parties that have dominated post-war politics
have laboured to strike a deal that could keep them governing
together after September elections that weakened them both and
bolstered the euro sceptic right wing.

Dec 3, 2013

Russian banks exposed in Ukraine political crisis

VIENNA/MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The political crisis in
Ukraine, sparked by an East-West power struggle in which Moscow
has gained the upper hand, is increasing the risk to the
country’s financial system and creating a particularly acute
headache for Russian banks.

As crowds took to the streets to protest after President
Viktor Yanukovich rejected a trade and cooperation deal with the
European Union last week in favour of closer ties with Russia,
its rattled central bank, low on reserves, appealed to people
not to pull their deposits from the banks.

Dec 3, 2013

UniCredit not put off by Ukraine turmoil

VIENNA (Reuters) – Unicredit will not walk away from Ukraine because of political unrest, particularly as its business there has been doing better than rivals, the Italian bank’s head of central and eastern Europe (CEE) said.

Gianni Franco Papa also told reporters in Vienna that CEE’s leading lender would have to reconsider its business in Hungary if Budapest imposes another round of taxes on banks, and that he was not worried about stress testing of its bank in Slovenia.

Nov 27, 2013

Raiffeisen Bank Int’l unfazed by looming stress tests

VIENNA, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
(RBI) played down the potential impact from ECB-led
health checks of bank balance sheets next year and kept its
options open for beefing up its financial strength ahead of
repaying Austrian state aid.

Excluding 1.75 billion euros ($2.38 billion) in state aid
that needs to be repaid in just over three years, Vienna-based
RBI is undercapitalised versus regional rivals such as UniCredit
Bank Austria and Erste Group.

Nov 18, 2013

ECB has tools to ease but must take medium-term view: Nowotny

VIENNA/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – There is no need for the European Central Bank to respond with immediate policy reactions to below-target inflation, an ECB Governing Council member said on Monday.

Another said the worst of the euro zone’s economic woes are behind it.

The ECB cut interest rates to a record low earlier this month and said it could take them lower still to prevent the euro zone’s recovery from stalling after inflation tumbled to 0.7 percent – well below its target of just under 2 percent.

Nov 14, 2013

Austrian decision on Hypo Alpe Adria “bad bank” on hold

VIENNA, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Austria’s decision on how to set
up a “bad bank” for ailing state lender Hypo Alpe Adria is on
hold while the country’s two big political parties try to hash
out a fresh coalition, dragging out a problem that casts a
shadow over public finances.

Chancellor Werner Faymann of the Social Democrats (SPO) and
conservative leader Michael Spindelegger have agreed to earmark
5.8 billion euros ($7.8 billion) for struggling state banks if
the parties can agree to govern together for five more years.

    • 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"
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