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The Greek bail-out is at risk - from the country's new Government.
As we mentioned earlier, George Karatzaferis, head of the LAOS party, and Antonis Samaras, head of the New Democracy conservatives, have both refused to put their signatures to pledges that they will implement harsh austerity measures.
That makes two out of the three parties that form the new coalition government led by former European Central Bank deputy chief Lucas Papademos.
In essence, the Government claims it intends to pass the measures, but refuses to make that promise to the EU in writing. Antonis Samaras told Papademos in parliament today:
"What additional confirmation could be needed, beyond the fact that we are voting for your administration? Do votes in Greek parliament not carry institutional and constitutional force?"
But the UE is demanding that Greece commit in writing to these austerity measures before it hands over €8 billion in bail-out cash. Without that money Greece will run out of funds in a matter of weeks.
Credit rating agencies’ freedom of expression should be restricted on “prevention of disorder” grounds, the European Commission will argue on Tuesday as it unveils controversial proposals to suspend sovereign ratings in “exceptional circumstances”.
The reform package marks the most aggressive attempt yet by Brussels to bridle an unpopular industry that some European leaders have blamed for aggravating the sovereign debt crisis with erratic and “subjective” rating decisions. However, even at this late stage, there still remain big divisions within the Commission over how powers to suspend sovereign ratings will be defined – a political disagreement EU commissioners must resolve on Tuesday morning.
Michel Barnier, the commissioner responsible for the proposal, is mounting a last-ditch attempt to increase the clout of regulators so that they can suspend any sovereign rating within the EU – a broad scope that applies to countries such as France and Italy in prescribed circumstances. But Mr Barnier, a former French foreign minister, on Monday faced a backlash from at least five other European Union commissioners – including representatives from the UK and Sweden – who are concerned that such restrictions could backfire and damage fundamental rights.
A draft of the Commission impact assessment, seen by the FT, justifies the curbs on freedom of speech as a legal measure to avoid public disorder. “One could argue that this option restricts, to some extent, the freedom of expression or information . . . of credit rating agencies. However, limitations to this are possible...”
pardon me , while I ring my one bell for calling this one. DING DING DING would have put more dings in if they would have said Greece
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks posted steep declines Wednesday after a rating agency signaled trouble ahead for U.S. banks should Europe's debt trouble worsen. "Fitch said U.S. banks have manageable direct exposures to the stressed European markets, but further contagion poses a serious risk.