European Union finance ministers agreed upon new measures to allow the EU greater control of national budgeting processes.
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is likely to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s presidential election next year, a poll said on Wednesday.
France: Arab States Ready to Use Force in Libya (Wall Street Journal)
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Wednesday that several Arab countries are ready to take an active role in a military operation against Libya’s strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
"Only the threat of using force can stop Gadhafi," Mr. Juppé said on his official blog. "Several Arab countries have assured us that they would take part." Mr Juppé didn’t name any particular Arab country. His office confirmed the contents of the blog.
Trichet dismisses ‘historic’ finance deal (Irish Independent)
EUROPE’s finance ministers yesterday clinched a "historic" agreement on ways to enforce economic discipline on the 27 EU member states, but the European Central Bank boss Jean Claude Trichet dismissed the package as "insufficient".
The new measures, which still have to be approved by the European Parliament, will see countries fined if they fail to hit budget targets or reduce their public debt to agreed levels.
The EU is promising to whip heavily indebted countries back into shape more quickly than in the past, but experts are casting doubt on whether the bloc’s new measures will help countries to get their houses in order.
The High Price of Merkel’s Nuclear About-Face (Spiegel Online)
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to temporarily shut down seven nuclear reactors could cost the industry more than a half-billion euros and result in Germany not meeting its CO2 emission reduction goals. The rest of the world is taking a wait-and-see approach.
Portugal on verge of snap election (Presseurop/Diario de Noticias)
"Sócrates threatens to leave if PEC [new austerity plan], is rejected", headlines Diário de Notícias. In an interview on private television the Portuguese PM affirmed that "if parliament votes against PEC, it is telling the government it does not have the conditions to appear at the European summit [24 and March 25] with measures to achieve fiscal consolidation […] and so we will have to give the people their say." José Sócrates said that a political crisis would be the sole responsibility of PSD (the largest opposition party), that has vowed to vote against these measures.
EU plans to adopt Egypt asset freezes next week (Reuters Africa)
The European Union plans to adopt sanctions against former Egyptian officials accused of stashing billions of dollars abroad next week, an EU official said on Tuesday.
Britain, France draft Libya no-fly resolution at UN Security Council (Deutsche Welle)
As forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi edged closer to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, debate was ongoing at the United Nations over a no-fly zone over the country.
EDITORIALS AND COLUMNS:
Fed up with the EU and Cyprus, Turkey eyes Karabakh (Today’s Zaman)
Turkey’s relations with the EU took another blow last week. The European Parliament is not known for its “softly, softly” approach, and its recent resolution on Turkey bears witness to that. It has been at its harshest for years with even reasonably Turkey-friendly political groups, such as the Social Democrats, being more critical. Needless to say, Ankara was not impressed. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s immediate reaction was to lash out and label it unbalanced.
Europe fiddles as Libya burns (The Guardian)
On military intervention, there are almost as many opinions as there are EU members, and no one wants to act without the US
Compiled with the assistance of Klee Aiken.