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Clarity on Ireland and debt, but confusion in the eurozone remains

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

 


By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent

After nine hours of talks by eurozone finance ministers, the Irish Government now knows both the process for the renegotiation of its banking debt and the target date for a decision.

A statement after the Eurogroup meeting said that officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – or troika – would examine “technical solutions to improve the sustainability of the well-performing [Irish] adjustment programme.”

The outcome of those negotiations with Government officials over the summer would then be brought to the September meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

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The EU Summit: Turning Point or Tipping Point?

Posted on by Tony Connelly

By Tony Connelly, RTÉ Europe Editor, Brussels

Once again an EU summit is pregnant with a sense of impending disaster, with expectations being lowered all week that a breakthrough can be delivered which will reverse, or even just slow down, the escalating debt crisis.

In the immediate term Spain and Italy’s borrowing costs are threatening to tip both countries – Spain followed by Italy – into a wholesale sovereign rescue that the two bailout funds cannot afford.

In the medium to long term 27 EU governments must also grapple with deep and far reaching changes to the architecture of monetary union.

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Double murder trial in Turkey adjourned

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent

Shannon Graham came to Izmir expecting to come face-to-face with her former boyfriend, Recep Cetin, who is accused of murdering her mother, Marion Graham.

Cetin has already told a previous hearing that he was responsible for stabbing to death both Marion and her friend Cathy Dinsmore. The reason why he carried out the double murder is the focus of much speculation.

Cetin’s father, Eyup, is also charged with the killings. Shannon was 15 years old at the time of the crime. She’s now 16.

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Two go on trial for double murder in Turkey

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent

In the ever-sunny Turkish resort of Kusadasi, conversation is returning to last year’s dark double murder of two women from Newry, County Down.

In August, shocking news came that regular visitor Marion Graham and her friend Cathy Dinsmore had been stabbed to death. The bodies of the women, both 53, were found in a wood overlooking the city of Izmir, around 100 kilometres to the north of Kusadasi.

Worse was to come – a Kusadasi waiter, Recep Cetin, quickly became the prime suspect.

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Greece: Sleepwalking to Calamity?

Posted on by Tony Connelly

By Tony Connelly, RTE News Europe Editor, Athens

Will Greek voters sleepwalk into a potentially calamitous exit from the euro?

Around the world central banks, investors, governments and economists are holding their breath. But in Greece a surreal fatalism infects the body politic. “Euro? Drachma? If you have no money then it doesn’t matter if Greece has the euro or the drachma,” one voter told me in Athens.

Because it is an election the normal process of promise and seduction prevails. But the disconnect between what Greek political parties promise, and how the country’s international creditors see things, could prove fatal. Continue reading

Eamon Gilmore at the helm of the OSCE

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent

Ireland is at the helm of a major international organisation and the responsibility for directing policy for its 56 member states falls to Eamon Gilmore.

For 2012, he holds the title of Chairperson-in-office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or the OSCE.

The OSCE’s mandate is to promote democracy and open government, as well as trying to prevent conflict and to negotiate peace.

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Lowering Expectations and Rising Tensions: the Informal EU Summit

Posted on by Tony Connelly

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Brussels

The verdict from the markets on the May 23 informal summit in Brussels is already clear.

The euro slumped to a 22 month low against the dollar, investors flooded into the safe haven of German bunds, and fevered speculation continued about a Greek exit from the euro.

Before the meeting officials did their best not to raise expectations. This was after all an informal meeting and normally no big decisions are taken. “These meetings tend to have an up curve in the markets in advance, and then a down curve immediately afterwards,” lamented one EU diplomat. “We’re trying to get away from that.”

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What can the EU summit deliver?

Posted on by Tony Connelly

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Brussels

EU officials are playing down expectations of any major decisions at the Informal Summit in Brussels, but there is plenty of scope for an unprecedented clash on the kinds of solutions the eurozone needs.

The big ideas involve the ECB, eurobonds and the new permanent rescue fund the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). What makes this summit fraught with expectation is that for the first time Germany and France will be at loggerheads on the fundamental issues.

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Ratko Mladic called to account at The Hague

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent, in The Hague

Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic arrived into the chamber today with a look of defiance.

He may face 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, but he gave a thumbs-up sign to the public gallery and clapped his hands. Dressed in a blue suit and shirt with a green tie, he donned his glasses and studied documents.

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Restarting the Franco-German Motor

Posted on by Tony Connelly

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Berlin

What kind of bond will Angela Merkel and François Hollande forge?

Until recently the chemistry between French and German leaders provided plenty of chin-stroking for European policy wonks and academics. But these days the unemployed, struggling businessmen, mortgage-holders and families from Cork to Corfu have an anxious interest in how these two get on and what they decide is best for Europe’s economy.

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