Opinion

Paul Taylor

Analysis – Reality gap in euro zone talks bodes ill

Paul Taylor
Feb 24, 2011 15:57 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – A widening reality gap between Germany and the weaker members of the euro zone over how to solve the currency area’s sovereign debt crisis bodes ill for decisions eagerly awaited by financial markets next month.

Berlin’s centre-right coalition parties and the German central bank have taken hardline positions this week that could tie Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hands against any strengthening of the euro zone rescue fund, dashing investors’ expectations.

“Market participants are beginning to smell that there is huge room for disappointment on the outcome of the Euro summit … as there will be several regional elections in Germany,” a London bond trader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A parliamentary resolution drafted by the three German governing parties would sweep most of the potential solutions under discussion in the European Union off the table.

Although not legally binding, it will put Merkel in a tight negotiating “corset,” as Christian Democratic lawmaker Klaus-Peter Willsch put it.

Zapatero says winning financial Battle of Spain

Paul Taylor
Feb 22, 2011 09:47 UTC

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain is winning the struggle to restore financial market confidence and is convinced Germany will back a stronger euro zone rescue fund despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s domestic troubles, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.

“We are winning the battle, but I still have my guard up because we have to implement all the reforms that have generated more confidence,” Zapatero told Reuters Insider in an interview.

He voiced confidence that Merkel would back a strengthening of the European Financial Stability Facility at a March 11 euro zone summit despite political problems sharpened by her party’s crushing loss in a state election in Hamburg on Sunday.

In debt crisis power shift, Germany is Europe’s G1

Paul Taylor
Feb 21, 2011 09:00 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – Call it Europe’s G1.

The euro zone’s debt crisis has reshaped the way power works in the European Union, putting Germany in the driver’s seat at the expense of the European Commission and other member states.

Gone are the days when the EU executive’s exclusive right to initiate legislation made it the engine of European integration.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is now calling the shots, with France as a distinctly junior partner, setting out demands for economic policy coordination along German lines and using her leverage as Europe’s paymaster to gain acceptance.

Analysis: In debt crisis power shift, Germany is Europe’s G1

Paul Taylor
Feb 21, 2011 07:17 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – Call it Europe’s G1.

The euro zone’s debt crisis has reshaped the way power works in the European Union, putting Germany in the driver’s seat at the expense of the European Commission and other member states.

Gone are the days when the EU executive’s exclusive right to initiate legislation made it the engine of European integration.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is now calling the shots, with France as a distinctly junior partner, setting out demands for economic policy coordination along German lines and using her leverage as Europe’s paymaster to gain acceptance.

Egypt-inspired protests gain pace across region

Paul Taylor
Feb 16, 2011 15:17 UTC

By Paul Taylor

(Reuters) – Anti-government protests inspired by popular revolts that toppled rulers in Tunisia and Egypt are gaining pace around the Middle East and North Africa despite political and economic concessions by nervous governments.

Clashes were reported in tightly controlled oil producer Libya, sandwiched between Egypt and Tunisia, while new protests erupted in Bahrain, Yemen and Iran on Wednesday.

The latest demonstrations against long-serving rulers came after U.S. President Barack Obama, commenting on the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, declared: “The world is changing…if you are governing these countries, you’ve got to get out ahead of change, you can’t be behind the curve.” [ID:nN15125693]

Analysis: Protests show Iran opposition alive

Paul Taylor
Feb 15, 2011 21:55 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – Anti-government protests by thousands of Iranians inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia show Iran’s “Green” pro-democracy movement is still alive despite a fierce crackdown by the authorities.

But the chances of demonstrations snowballing into the kind of uprising that swept veteran Egyptian and Tunisian rulers from power seem remote in the near term, since Iran’s security forces are united in defending the 32-year-old Islamic Republic.

Monday’s rallies in Tehran and other cities, in which two people died and dozens were wounded and arrested, were the first big show of opposition on the streets since authorities crushed protests against a disputed 2009 presidential election.

Analysis – Protests show Iran opposition alive and changing

Paul Taylor
Feb 15, 2011 16:11 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – Anti-government protests by thousands of Iranians inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia show Iran’s “Green” pro-democracy movement is still alive despite a fierce crackdown by the authorities.

But the chances of demonstrations snowballing into the kind of uprising that swept veteran Egyptian and Tunisian rulers from power seem remote in the near term, since Iran’s security forces are united in defending the 32-year-old Islamic Republic.

Monday’s rallies in Tehran and other cities, in which two people died and dozens were wounded and arrested, were the first big show of opposition on the streets since authorities crushed protests against a disputed 2009 presidential election.

Protests show Iran opposition alive and changing

Paul Taylor
Feb 15, 2011 16:08 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – Anti-government protests by thousands of Iranians inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia show Iran’s “Green” pro-democracy movement is still alive despite a fierce crackdown by the authorities.

But the chances of demonstrations snowballing into the kind of uprising that swept veteran Egyptian and Tunisian rulers from power seem remote in the near term, since Iran’s security forces are united in defending the 32-year-old Islamic Republic.

Monday’s rallies in Tehran and other cities, in which two people died and dozens were wounded and arrested, were the first big show of opposition on the streets since authorities crushed protests against a disputed 2009 presidential election.

EU cacophony fuels market doubts on euro zone

Paul Taylor
Feb 14, 2011 13:12 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – A renewed outbreak of cacophony in the European Union is fuelling market doubts about whether the bloc will come up with a convincing solution to the euro zone’s debt crisis next month.

The risk premium on peripheral euro zone sovereign debt climbed last week after an acrimonious February 4 EU summit at which several countries rejected a German-led plan to anchor debt curbs in national constitutions, end wage-indexation and link higher retirement ages to demographic trends.

At the same time, political opposition in Germany and the Netherlands has cast doubt on how far the euro zone’s rescue fund will be strengthened and its scope widened to help states in difficulty.

After the Great Recession, the Great Regression?

Paul Taylor
Feb 7, 2011 07:20 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – After the Great Recession, Europe has embarked on a Great Regression. Wages, pensions, unemployment insurance, welfare benefits and collective bargaining are under attack in many areas as governments struggle to reduce debts swollen partly by the cost of rescuing banks during the global financial crisis.

The European Union, which long trumpeted a European social model with a generous welfare state, social partnership between unions and employers and a work-life balance featuring limited working hours and long paid holidays, has lost its swagger.

“The prevailing philosophy is that people have been paying themselves too much in some countries and we should be more like Germany, where people didn’t get a real pay raise for 10 years,” says John Monks, head of the European Trade Union Confederation.

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