Merkozy: Verdict of Europe's press
Hours after the French and German leaders set out their plans to end the eurozone debt crisis, ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned it had put 15 of its members on negative credit watch.
S&P's shock news came hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy thrashed out new rules for fiscal discipline, to be agreed by all 27 EU nations or, alternatively, just the 17 euro members.
A two-day EU summit from Thursday will aim to agree deep institutional changes to stop the crisis which has pushed Greece, then Ireland and Portugal into EU-IMF debt bailouts and now threatens Italy and Spain.
Some European newspapers voiced hope that eurozone leaders are on the right track to resolve the crisis, other voiced deep skepticism. Here is how European press reacted to the latest developments:
THE TIMES, London: "While there were undeniable signs of progress at the Franco-German summit, the euro area remains in a parlous state and its governments have a prodigious track record for overpromising and underdelivering ... (The S&P downgrade warning) "represents an unpleasant reality check. For Ms Merkel and Mr Sarkozy, the task of clawing back the euro's shattered credibility is only just beginning."
LE FIGARO, Paris: "Paris and Berlin now more than ever intend to be the motors of Europe ... Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have finally found a balanced compromise."
ECHO, Brussels: "This is the third or fourth time in less than two years since the Franco-German couple has announced 'critical' measures to exit the crisis. The proposals so far have had no effect, and some of them have been readjusted by their European partners."
BILD, Berlin: "Germany is learning how to lead in Europe -- about time too. Much of the criticism of Merkel has been cheap and contradictory. The US (admittedly on a different scale) have to live with similar accusations. Under the pressure of the debt crisis Europe and Germany have to reinvent themselves, and that's a good thing."
CORRIERE DELLA SERA, Rome: "The Franco-German agreement is indispensable to settle the European crisis and for European progress. It is essential but maybe unbalanced and certainly indigestible, increasingly articulated around the German demands."
JYLLANDS POSTEN, Copenhagen: The summit will "determine how to prevent a division of the European Union into two parts: a large, powerful club with the 17 euro member countries and a small, peripheral club made up of 10 countries outside the euro, including Denmark. "
HELSINGIN SANOMAT, Helsinki: "The situation is now so grave that the currency flaw of the Maastricht treaty -- a common currency without common fiscal policy -- must be corrected ... In a best-case scenario, all EU states will support budgetary discipline... (But) there's a real danger that the EU will split into two because of fiscal policy."
DAGENS NYHETER, Stockholm: "Budget discipline is important... But while tipping our hat to treaty changes, it must be acknowledged that they won't solve the acute euro crisis."
LIBERATION, Paris: "We must first of all end the myth of a definitive agreement that could resolve, as if by magic, an unprecedented tangle of problems: the currency is also the history, culture and politics of all the peoples of the Union. On this question, more than on others, Europe cannot move forward through compromise."
© 2011 AFP