Egyptian elections, pressure on Iran and demonstrations in Moscow
This week, Gideon Rachman talks to Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, about the results of the Egyptian elections, where Islamist parties have won almost two-thirds of the vote and discusses the growing international pressure on Iran with James Blitz, defence and diplomatic editor. Also this week, David Crouch, Europe news editor, talks to Charles Clover, Moscow bureau chief, about the demonstrations in Moscow against Vladimir Putin. Read more
The British delegation that set off for the European Union summit in Brussels today was in no doubt that it faced a rough ride. The British are being accused of worsening the crisis, by adopting a hardline negotiating position. This is regarded as a little unfair in London. As a senior member of the British delegation puts it – “You can blame Britain for lots of things. But we didn’t invent the euro.” Read more
Welcome back to our live coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Tom Burgis, Esther Bintliff and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura on the newsdesk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are GMT.
Europe’s leaders gathered in Brussels for another crunch summit. Expectations are running high for a new grand bargain to restore sanity to the eurozone’s finances and chart a course out of the debt crisis. Also today:
- The European Central Bank cut interest rates by a quarter point to 1 per cent, as expected, and announced that it would accept more forms of collateral and offer longer-term loans to try to protect the banking system
- Mario Draghi, ECB president, poured cold water on hopes the central bank was poised to take more aggressive action
- The European banking authority unveiled its updated stress tests of 70 banks, which tripled the capital shortfall for the German banking sector and pushed up the Europe-wide deficit from €106bn in October to €115bn now
20:15: We’re winding up the liveblog for tonight, but you can follow the rest of the action at FT.com and we’ll be back again on Friday morning. Thanks for reading and for all the comments. Bon courage!
19.54: BREAKING – Peter Spiegel, the FT’s Brussels bureau chief, has this scoop from the summit:
EU leaders have begun their late-starting summit, and they were given a 6-page draft of their conclusions at the start. According to people who have seen it, some of the most interesting new language is on the eurozone bail-out funds.
The current version says the existing €440bn fund, the EFSF, will continue running for another 2 years financing its current programmes – which would not be transferred to the new fund, the €500bn ESM.
That would free up the ESM’s resources, giving the eurozone significantly more firepower, with the two funds running in parallel.
The conclusions say the ESM would have its maximum €500bn lending capacity, regardless of how much the EFSF is committed to.
That could mean as much as €200bn in new “bazooka” weaponry.
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