Pilita Clark, the FT’s environment correspondent, gives us the lowdown on the biggest conference the UN has ever organised. 

A new dawn for Greece? Photo AP

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone, following  a narrow victory for parties supporting the bailout in Greece’s election. By Tom Burgis and John Aglionby in London and Shannon Bond in New York, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are London time.

23.40 Alright folks, we’re wrapping up for the night, but you can keep up with the latest developments on FT.com. Here are some of our top stories from Monday:

 

Putin’s agenda for Russia

As Vladimir Putin settles back into the Kremlin, we focus on his vision for Russia, both domestically and in terms of its relationship with China and the west. Charles Clover, Moscow bureau chief, and Neil Buckley, eastern Europe editor, join Gideon Rachman to discuss Putin’s return to the presidency.

In our Reporting Back series, we ask FT foreign correspondents to tell us about a recent trip.

Xan Rice, the FT’s West Africa correspondent, visited Mali, spending time in Bamako, and Mopti – a riverside town around 4oo miles northwest of the capital.

Why now? Mali is known as one of west Africa’s more peaceful countries. But now it faces two major crises. The first is political: on March 22, army officers staged a coup. An interim government has been formed, but the junta still wields considerable influence.

An Islamist rebel of Ansar Dine gestures on April 24, 2012 near Timbuktu, rebel-held northern Mali, during the release of a Swiss hostage. AFP PHOTO / ROMARIC OLLO HIEN

A member of Ansar Dine. AFP PHOTO/ Romaric Ollo Hien

The second crisis concerns northern Mali, a vast desert region. Since late March, the area has been controlled by a loose alliance of rebels whose victories over the poorly-equipped army helped spark the coup. One of the groups, the MNLA, is a Tuareg nationalist movement that wants independence. The other, Ansar Dine, or “defenders of the faith”, is a hardline Islamist group with close links to al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist organisation. Neighbouring countries and Western nations fear that northern Mali could become a safe haven for jihadis and criminal networks, a “west African Afghanistan”, in the words of France’s defence minister. 

In talking to senior officials about plans for a Spanish bailout for our story in today’s dead tree edition of the FT, several steered us to the seemingly overlooked bank recaptialisation guidelines for the eurozone’s €440bn rescue fund that were adopted last year.

Those six pages, available for all to see on the website of the rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, make clear European leaders were contemplating exactly the situation Spain now finds itself in: having done the hard work on fiscal reform, but suffering from a teetering banking sector that needs to be recapitalised.

The important thing to note in the current context is that the EFSF guidelines, adopted after more than a year of fighting over whether the fund should be used for bank rescues at all, allow for a very thin layer of conditionality for bailout assistance if the aid goes to financial institutions – notably, it foresees no need for a full-scale “troika” mission of monitors poking around in national budget plans. That’s something the government of Mariano Rajoy has been demanding for weeks.

 

Well, when I say ‘We’, I mean the Financial Times, and to be more specific, a group of Europe specialists who work at the Financial Times. Yes. The FT has published its very first ebook [drum roll here], which means that even when you are lying on a beach in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a Kindle, Nook, iPad or other branded e-reader in your sandy hands, you can still tickle your braincells with FT content and feel yourself grow more knowledgeable about a multitude of things. 

Egypt’s presidential election

Egyptians are voting in the first democratic presidential election in their nation’s history this week, but with the powers of the office that the winner will hold still unclear and the economy in tatters, many questions remain. Heba Saleh and Borzou Daragahi, FT correspondents in Egypt, and Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, join Shawn Donnan to discuss.

Greece in political limbo

With Greece in political limbo ahead of a new election in June, what is the the economic and political future of that country and the eurozone? How feasible is for Greece to leave the euro, and how are other European countries managing the increasingly anti-bailout mood in Athens? 

Growth vs austerity in the eurozone

The growth vs austerity debate has been a focal point of eurozone politics over the past weeks. With voters in France and Greece appearing to reject austerity in this weekend’s elections, are we beginning to see a shift in policy from austerity towards spurring growth? Ralph Atkins, Hugh Carnegy, Chris Giles and Ben Hall join Shawn Donnan to discuss.

AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool

AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool

By Tony Barber in Paris

The temperature of France’s presidential election debate shot up on Thursday night when Nicolas Sarkozy snapped at François Hollande that he was “a little slanderer”. Up to that point, Sarkozy had contented himself with the rather more tame accusation that Hollande was telling lies. But “a little slanderer” – that stood out.

Otherwise, the really striking feature of the debate, I thought, was how little the two candidates had to say about international affairs.