World Bulletin / News Desk
Former German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, a possible challenger to Chancellor Angela Merkel in next year's election, spoke out in favor of common debt issuance in the euro zone even though the Berlin government and most Germans oppose it.
Steinbrueck, popular with the middle-of-the-road voters his centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) hope to win back in the 2013 election, told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper's Saturday edition that he backed SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel's recent call for common debt issuance and closer fiscal integration.
"The party chairman is right about that and the development will go in this direction," Steinbrueck said, adding the European Union will have to be able to intervene directly more strongly than before in the fiscal policies of struggling countries.
Steinbrueck, known for his blunt manner, criticized those leaders in Merkel's centre-right coalition who have dismissed the SPD's proposals for common debt issuance as "debt socialism".
"They're being featherbrained," Steinbrueck said, adding that the euro zone already had become a 'Haftungsgemeinschaft' (community of liabilities).
Italy, Spain and France have been urging for the introduction of common debt issuance, such as euro bonds, as a way to counter the crisis of confidence on financial markets that has sent borrowing costs in those countries soaring to unsustainable levels.
But Germany, which has seen its borrowing costs fall, has opposed any joint issuance of debt, with Merkel's ruling coalition arguing it would take pressure away from those countries to enact reforms to their economies and cut state spending.
Merkel's coalition, however, has had to rely on SPD support to win approval of euro zone bailout measures because of a growing number of rebels in her ranks. She also needs opposition support in the upper house of parliament, where her coalition no longer has a majority.
Steinbrueck took his time to endorse the proposal from Gabriel, who is popular among the SPD's left wing. But after it won support from SPD parliamentary floor leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a moderate and another potential challenger to Merkel, Steinbrueck finally gave his blessing.
It is an endorsement fraught with risk for Steinbrueck and the SPD, eager to return to government after falling out of power in the 2009 election, as opinion polls show an overwhelming majority of Germans are opposed to the issuance of euro zone bonds.
Steinbrueck said the euro zone crisis had led to giving the European Union two choices: either the national states give up more of their sovereignty to Europe or move towards a "re-nationalization".
"That would be a fatal way to go" for an export nation like Germany, Steinbrueck said.
Former finance minister says Russian sovereignity doesn't preclude economic, trade and financial relations with Europe and the US.
The comments came after Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told German weekly Der Spiegel that he was worried Russia could be destabilised if EU sanctions were not eased.
Rosneft, which produces more oil than Iraq or Iran, has asked for 2.5 trillion roubles ($44.07 billion) from the government to help it weather sanctions and refinance its debts.
The raise is expected to bring Israel's civil servants' salaries up to 5,000 shekels (around $1,282) from 4,200 shekels (roughly $1,076)
Russian sanctions have hit Lithuania's transport sector, which employs around 100,000, as well as its dairy industry.
The suspension comes as South Korea is struggling to contain its own outbreak of bird flu in birds.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann justified the original sanctions as "a self-defence step", but added: "Our goal cannot be tightening the sanctions."
Both the European Union and United States adopted tighter restrictions on investments in Crimea this week, targeting individuals, Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration and tourism.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the offer included $1 billion for infrastructure, $490 million for poverty alleviation and $1.6 billion in special loans for China's production capacity export
Ukraine could default on its debt obligations if the situation does not change in the next few months, S&P said on Friday.
Damascus has relied on Tehran to fight its war with drop in oil price affects oil-producing Iran. Syrian traders say Damascus worried about future support
The ruble makes small gain Friday morning, but RTS index continues to contract
Norwegian energy company Statoil, which suspended 5 rigs in the last 2 months, granted $610 million for development of its gas fields
Putin earlier announced pipeline project via Bulgaria would be cancelled.
President Vladimir Putin said that Russia needed to take the opportunity to diversify its economy to protect it from external shocks.
Verdi said in a statement that workers at four of those centres had decided to continue their strike until Saturday and employees at the Graben warehouse would strike until Dec. 24.