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21-Jul-11 World View — Merkel And Sarkozy Agree On Plan For Greece


This morning’s key headlines from

Merkel and Sarkozy agree on plan for Greece after seven hours

Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, Europe's odd couple, in Berlin Wednesday
Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, Europe’s odd couple, in Berlin Wednesday

After seven hours of talks that ran late into Wednesday night between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, meeting and dining in Berlin, the two governments have reached a common position on a new bailout of Greece. Details were not revealed, except that it would include a contribution by Europe’s banking sector. Presumably Greece will not be forced to default, and so the plan will kick the can down the road. Reuters

For the “contribution by Europe’s banking sector,” the favorite plan now seems to be a bank levy, imposed in such a way that it would raise the desired €30 billion over three years. This bank levy will be completely separate from the bailout of Greece, so it will not count as default. However, the entire plan may be unworkable. It cannot be implemented eurozone-wide, but has to be done country-by-country. It would require all eurozone countries to pass new tax legislation, while it would be impossible to target taxes on specific banks holding Greek bonds. Euro Intelligence

Merkel and Sarkozy find each other “mutually unbearable” but they manage to get along despite disagreeing on a number of major issues. Last month, in a report of Sarkozy’s visit to Berlin to discuss the Greek crisis, Der Spiegel wrote: “The welcome will once again appear very cordial — Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel will also work the cameras this time around — a kiss on the left cheek, a peck on the right one, smiles and waving. Behind closed doors, the atmosphere will be less amicable.” Guardian

Posturing continues in Washington

I almost can’t stand to hear anybody in Washington talk about the national debt situation since it either gives me a headache or makes me want to vomit. Everything being said is simply posturing for next year’s elections. There’s nothing being said by anyone that’s worth a piece of crap. Everyone understands that taxes will not be raised and spending will not be cut, except in trivial ways. The only thing that the politicians care about is who’s going to be blamed. The U.S. is about a year behind the EU in facing the debt crisis, and the only possible outcome by August 2 will be to kick the can down the road, and the only way that can be done is by raising the debt ceiling, but bury the action in some law that promises to take some action next year, or whatever. Washington Post

Syria threatens French and U.S. ambassadors with expulsion

Syria warned French and U.S. ambassadors that they risked expulsion if they breach a travel ban and travel more than 25 kilometers outside the capital city Damascus. U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and France’s ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevallier, traveled to the city of Hama on July 8, and gave support to the anti-government demonstrators, infuriating the Syrian government. Daily Star (Lebanon)

Turkey continues to threaten Syria with military intervention

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is so appalled by the savage violence and wholesale massacres by Syrian security forces against peaceful demonstrators, compounded by more than 12,000 Syrians fleeing into refugee camps in Turkey, that Turkey might still invade Syria if the situation deteriorates further. Calgary Herald

Bitter Turkey/Greece divide over Cyprus threatens Turkey-EU relations

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been bitterly divided since 1974, since a 1974 war that split the island, with Turkish Cypriots occupying the northern 1/3 of the island, and Greek Cypriots occupying the southern 2/3. The EU recognizes only the Greek government in Nicosia as legitimate, and it is a member of the EU. It is now the turn of Cyprus to assume the rotating presidency of the EU, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to freeze relations with the European Union if this takes place in 2012 as scheduled. Zaman

German conservatives are welcoming Erdogan’s threats to freeze Turkish relations with the EU, claiming that the threats only serve to further disqualify Turkey’s plans to join the European union. Spiegel

Turkey’s PM Erdogan threatens to visit Gaza unless Israel apologizes

Erdogan and his wife Emine (the only woman wearing a headscarf) in Nicosia, marking the 37th anniversary of Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Erdogan and his wife Emine (the only woman wearing a headscarf) in Nicosia, marking the 37th anniversary of Turkish invasion of Cyprus

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has concluded that Turkey’s foreign-policy approach of recent years, which sought to address international problems like the Cyprus conflict with “goodwill,” had failed to produce tangible results, and so Erdogan has started to follow a tougher line. Thus, Erdogan is demanding that Israel apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish activists in the “Freedom Flotilla” to Gaza on July 27 of last year, and is demanding that Israel issue its apology before July 27 of this year, the date on which the United Nations is expected to publish a report on the raid. If Israel does not apologize, then Erdogan will enter Gaza from Egypt, breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The National (UAE)

Borders bookstores will close forever

Borders, the second largest U.S. bookstore chain, will close its doors for good. 400 bookstores will close, costing 11,000 jobs. Reuters


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