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If the ECB is eager to do a deal – what happens next?

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

By Paul Cunningham, Europe Correspondent, in Nicosia

It now appears inevitable that the Government will reach a deal with the European Central Bank on lowering the cost to the taxpayer of the highly-expensive Anglo Irish Bank promissory note scheme.

ECB Executive Board member Jorg Asmussen has spoken publicly about how its officials are working under “heavy time pressure” to finalise an agreement.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told journalists in Nicosia that the ECB was “more eager now to move forward” and reach finality on the matter.

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Stuttgart seeking Ireland’s IT talent

Posted on by Ray Donoghue

Mercedes-Benz employs many in Stuttgart

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Stuttgart

Stuttgart may live long in Irish folklore as the place where, in 1988, a certain Ray Houghton put the ball in the English net, but could it become the Promised Land for Irish IT graduates?

“I think the Irish would do very well, particularly in this part of Germany,” says Mark Hyland, a graduate from Roscrea who now teaches English to executives at the huge Mercedes Benz production facility outside Stuttgart.

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Norway braced for mass killer verdict

Posted on by Tony Connelly

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Oslo

On a tiny island with 600 people there aren’t too many places to hide. Vegard Groslie Wennesland, a 28-year-old member of the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing was lucky enough to find sanctuary in a cabin with around 40 others when Anders Breivik started his murderous assault on scores of teenagers, the youngest victim just 14 years old.

“I saw him kill several people,” he recalls just over one year on. “We just started to run and he fired at us. He fired through the windows into the cabin and then moved on. If he had got in the death toll could have been so much higher.”

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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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