Opinion

Paul Taylor

German hint of Greek debt relief raises euro hopes

Paul Taylor
Nov 26, 2012 10:52 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Three years into the euro zone’s debt crisis, Germany’s finance minister hinted tantalisingly last week at a potential breakthrough.

Behind closed doors at a meeting in Paris of a small group of senior policymakers, Wolfgang Schaeuble indicated that Berlin could eventually agree to write off some of the money it has lent Greece, in order to make its debt sustainable.

Three people present or briefed on the talks said Schaeuble had suggested there could be some kind of “conditional debt relief” for Athens if it sticks to tough economic reforms.

But Schaeuble backtracked within 24 hours.

The idea, aired publicly this month by German central bank chief Jens Weidmann, could be a game-changer in the currency area’s crisis since it offers for the first time the prospect of sharing out losses to make the debt-crippled state viable in the long run.

But it is politically explosive in Germany, where many lawmakers, jurists and commentators fiercely oppose any idea of a “transfer union” in which wealthier northern EU states would subsidise or underwrite weaker southern partners.

Analysis: German hint of Greek debt relief raises euro hopes

Paul Taylor
Nov 26, 2012 06:55 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Three years into the euro zone’s debt crisis, Germany’s finance minister hinted tantalisingly last week at a potential breakthrough.

Behind closed doors at a meeting in Paris of a small group of senior policymakers, Wolfgang Schaeuble indicated that Berlin could eventually agree to write off some of the money it has lent Greece, in order to make its debt sustainable.

Three people present or briefed on the talks said Schaeuble had suggested there could be some kind of “conditional debt relief” for Athens if it sticks to tough economic reforms.

Analysis: New Mideast balance constrains Israel Gaza action

Paul Taylor
Nov 19, 2012 18:44 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – A new balance of power in the Middle East will limit Israel’s ability to impose its ceasefire terms on Hamas in Gaza, but technology is compensating by curbing the Islamist militants’ capacity to cause casualties in the Jewish state.

The strategic environment has changed radically since the last major armed conflict between Israel and Hamas in the winter of 2008-09, which involved an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip and ended with 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli dead.

Arab Spring uprisings have brought the Muslim Brotherhood – soulmates of Hamas – to power in Egypt, Israel’s southern neighbor which controls the Gaza enclave’s only other border, and in Tunisia, toppling veteran Western-backed autocrats.

Analysis – New Middle East balance constrains Israel Gaza action

Paul Taylor
Nov 19, 2012 18:37 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – A new balance of power in the Middle East will limit Israel’s ability to impose its ceasefire terms on Hamas in Gaza, but technology is compensating by curbing the Islamist militants’ capacity to cause casualties in the Jewish state.

The strategic environment has changed radically since the last major armed conflict between Israel and Hamas in the winter of 2008-09, which involved an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip and ended with 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli dead.

Arab Spring uprisings have brought the Muslim Brotherhood – soul mates of Hamas – to power in Egypt, Israel’s southern neighbour which controls the Gaza enclave’s only other border, and in Tunisia, toppling veteran Western-backed autocrats.

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