What do the following stories have in common?
1. France has started to block trains from Italy to intercept illegal migrants from North Africa.
2. A Eurosceptic party has made big gains in the Finnish general election. Read more
Another eurozone country has been humbled by its banks. Earlier this week, Portugal’s banks were threatening a bond-buyers’ go-slow unless the caretaker government sought financial help from other European Union countries. After being beaten up in Wednesday’s debt auction, Lisbon has waved the white flag. The country’s caretaker leaders have now admitted that Portugal will need outside help. Read more
Portugal’s prime minister has resigned on the eve of a European Union summit that is supposed to move towards a “grand bargain” to bolster the eurozone and strengthen its crisis prevention ability. The currency bloc is in a bind. Lex’s Edward Hadas and Vincent Boland discuss just how bad it is and what might come next. Read more
We have a live Twitter #hashtag chat with Cynthia O’Murchu, FT reporter, on our EU structural funds special investigation. Read more
By Jo Johnson, British MP and former editor of the FT’s Lex column
As it’s prediction season, here goes… My crystal ball, for what it is worth, foretells political and economic union between France and Germany, perhaps within the next 12-24 months. Europe needs a gamechanger, one that creates an insurmountable firebreak against the speculators. Crises have historically been the motor of European integration and a full union, much like the panicky one Britain offered France in June 1940, might look tempting. It would provide for joint organs of defence, foreign, financial and economic policies, finally fulfilling the founding fathers’ dream of “ever closer union”. Read more
Brussels bureau chief Peter Spiegel says Ireland and Portugal face a grilling on their budgets at the meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, and that pressure is building on these countries to take rescue aid, as fear of debt contagion across the eurozone increases.
The FT’s “Saving the Euro” investigation will culminate in a live “hashtag” chat on Twitter between 1pm and 2pm (GMT) this afternoon with the author, Tony Barber, former Brussels bureau chief. Read more