Businessmen run companies, technocrats run bureaucracies, and politicians run governments. Sometimes they cross-over roles – which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Silvio Berlusconi was a businessman-turned-politician – and that clearly didn’t work for Italy. Mario Monti is a technocrat who has taken Mr Berlusconi’s place – hopefully he will. I had such thoughts in mind as I listened to Ricardo Martinelli speak at a conference in London this week. Read more
by William Wallis, Africa editor
David Cameron’s relatively liberal stand on gay rights is causing a predictable backlash in Africa. The reacton is not just fuelled by a clash of sexual mores – although Mr Cameron threatening to make British aid conditional on the relaxation of laws against homosexuality, as he did at the recent Commonwealth summit, was guaranteed to raise hackles on a continent where homosexuality is mostly taboo. Read more
Mario Monti arrives to unveil his new government at the Quirinale Palace in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
Welcome back to the FT’s rolling coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Esther Bintliff and John Aglionby on the world news desk, with contributions from correspondents around the world. All times GMT.
Europe’s two new technocratic prime ministers consolidated their respective grips on power today. Lucas Papademos in Greece won a confidence vote in parliament, while Mario Monti, his Italian counterpart, announced his new cabinet and was sworn in as prime minister.
19.03: We’re going to wrap up the live blog for tonight, but you can read lots more on FT.com. Here’s a quick update on today’s events:
- In Greece, prime minister Lucas Papademos won an overwhelming vote of confidence in his new interim government – 255 votes in favour, 38 against
- Charles Dallara, managing director of the Institute for International Finance, is about to meet with Mr Papademos (see our 12.15 update). The IIF has been negotiating with Greece on behalf of investors holding Greek sovereign debt
- In Italy, Mario Monti unveiled his new technocrat cabinet (see our 12.52 update, and this article) and said he would serve as both prime minister and finance minister. ”We finally have a competent government, not one of dwarves and ballerinas,” declared Antonio di Pietro, former anti-graft magistrate and head of the Italy of Values party.
- Italy’s statistics agency spooked the market by announcing that it wouldn’t be releasing preliminary Q3 GDP data
- The number of jobless in the UK reached 2.62m, a 15-year high, while the number of young unemployed topped one million for the first time since these records began in 1992
- In its November Inflation report the Bank of England revised downwards its growth and inflation forecasts, and prompted economists to predict that quantitative easing would be ramped up sooner than expected
- Mervyn King, the Bank of England governor, said he had “great sympathy” with the ECB in “not going around and buying all sorts of assets”
- Angela Merkel said Germany was prepared to “give up a little bit of national sovereignty” in the name of strengthening the wider eurozone area (see 13.44 update)
- Portugal passed its latest troika exam - or rather, the European Union and International Monetary Fund approved the disbursal of the next €8bn tranche of the country’s €78bn financial rescue package after concluding a second quarterly review of the the government’s progress with the bail-out programme (16.04 update)
- Italy’s 10-year government bond yield spent the day fluctuating around 7 per cent – and finally settling at that level, reports Dave Shellock on our markets team. Reported buying by the European Central Bank of both Italian and Spanish debt offered only limited support