Italy is headed for a temporary government and early elections as markets greeted the collapse of a potential coalition between two populist parties with strong eurosceptic leanings. Italian President Sergio Mattarella is expected to ask former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli to form a temporary government, according to Reuters. The euro also rebounded after hitting a six-month low at the end of last week, although it gave up some of the early gains as trading continued to trade at $1.166 against the US dollar, having earlier in the day reached $1.1728. Read more: Italy’s populists prepare to wage war over the ECB’s budget rules The populist Five Star Movement and the right-wing Northern League had agreed to form a government based on their common anti-establishment stance, in spite of major political differences. However, the Prime Minister designate, Giuseppe Conte, yesterday said he had "returned the mandate" to form a government offered by … [Read more...] about Italian bonds and the euro gain as coalition of populists collapses
What a turn up for the books. First, Hans-Olaf Henkel, one of Germany’s leading industrialists and member of the European Parliament, says that Britain quitting the EU is an epic disaster because with us leaving, “the last country with common sense leaves the EU”. And now Bernard-Henri Lévy, the great French intellectual, warns that Europe will collapse if Brexit goes ahead. In a dynamite interview at the weekend, Lévy said that the EU will collapse if Britain leaves because it is the brain of Europe, and “when the body is deprived of its brain and its heart, its spirit dies”. He carried on: “Europe is unthinkable without Great Britain. Everyone who reflects deeply about Europe knows that the UK is its beating heart.” So disturbed is Lévy, that he is writing a play in the hope of changing our minds: Last Exit before Brexit. Phew. If the Royal Wedding didn’t a bring a tear to your dry Anglo-Saxon eye, then Lévy’s … [Read more...] about Margareta Pagano: The EU is doomed without the Brits
By Jan Strupczewski BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Italy’s emerging ruling coalition is likely to put deeper euro zone integration on hold and could set the stage for the bloc’s next crisis if it delivers on its tax-cutting and high-spending policies, European policymakers and economists fear. Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far-right League are nearing a government coalition deal that would bring together two parties which both want to challenge European Union limits on government borrowing and spending. EU rules limit government budget deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product and debt to 60 percent of GDP and oblige governments to seek balanced budgets. With debt of around 132 percent of GDP and slow economic growth, Italy has long been a worry for euro zone policy-makers. “With the M5S/LN government, the underlying problems of the Italian economy, including low growth, inflexible labour markets, inefficient banking system and public … [Read more...] about EU fears new Italian policies could set stage for next euro zone crisis
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is warning Britain to explain how it plans to keep open his country's border with Northern Ireland or face the possible collapse of a Brexit deal. Varadkar said Thursday: "We need to know that it's workable and legally operable, and we've yet to see anything that remotely approaches that." Britain leaves the EU, and its single market and customs arrangement, in March. But the move could create obstacles to business between Britain's Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland. EU leaders will assess the Brexit talks' progress next month. They want a deal by October so parliaments can ratify it. Varadkar said: "If we're not making real, substantial progress by June then we seriously need to question whether we're going to have a withdrawal agreement at all." Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. … [Read more...] about Ireland warns Brexit talks could collapse over border issue
If MPs on the Business and Work and Pensions select committees get their way, the days of the 'big four' audit firms - Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC - could be numbered. The pair's joint report on the collapse of Carillion recommends that the Government refers the audit market to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), something for which the regulator's incoming chairman, the former MP Andrew Tyrie, has already indicated an appetite.There are two specific terms of reference suggested by the committees to such an investigation.One is that the CMA considers breaking up the big four into more audit firms. The other is "detaching" audit arms from those providing other professional services, such as consulting, something into which all of the big four have branched out during recent years and which has proved highly lucrative for them.Neither solution would be straightforward.Forcing the big four to hive off their consulting arms would run the risk that the more talented staff would … [Read more...] about Carillion collapse: What price will ‘big four’ pay?