© The Financial Times Ltd 2014 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
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:
- In Greece, Antonis Samaras’s victorious New Democracy party worked to stitch together a coalition government out of three disparate political parties joined only by their determination to stick with the euro.
- But for markets, the Greek honeymoon was shortlived, as Spain’s borrowing costs surged to a euro-era high.
- Political leaders gathered in Los Cabos, Mexico, for the Group of 20 summit, where Europeans came under pressure from the international community to resolve the crisis.
- FT investment editor James Mackintosh says that the Greek election results could allow eurozone leaders to keep dithering.
- But Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury secretary, warns a collapse of the currency union “would be a disaster that might define our era.”
- And Gideon Rachman argues the wrong steps to fix the crisis could be as damaging as the crisis itself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.