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A Weaker Euro for A Stronger Europe

A Weaker Euro for A Stronger Europe

What can be done to help the “crisis economies” of southern Europe reduce their external deficits? The debate is often presented as a conflict between the deficit-burdened PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain – and the eurozone’s current-account-surplus countries, particularly Germany. But a new and more important imbalance has emerged in recent years: […]

Italy in political deadlock

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano’s efforts to form a government remain fruitless after February’s election results. No party achieved a majority in Parliament. The President held a meeting with political leaders on 20 March, declaring it “an absolute necessity to give the country a government”. Pier Lugi Bersani’s Democratic Party gained 29.5% of the vote in […]

Discovering the Kingdoms in the Clouds

Discovering the Kingdoms in the Clouds

In these austere times, it’s refreshing to realise that sometimes the most valuable European travel experiences are also the cheapest – such as trekking across the Alps and staying in mountain refuges. These huts stretch in a long chain from Slovenia and Austria in the east to the Maritime Alps of France in the west. […]

Detained American art on display in Assisi

Detained American art on display in Assisi

The travelling exhibition “6 American Artists”, on display 2 to 15 Aug. at Galerie Vieceli in Paris’ Marais district, will be shown 6 to 30 Sept. at Assisinarte Gallery in Assisi, Italy. It features 76 works confiscated from American artists while crossing the Serbian border with Bulgaria and Romania in November 2011. Citing improper documentation, […]

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

At 6:00 the Swiss mountain hamlet of Jeizinen is still cloaked under a blanket of morning fog, wisps rising from the steeply pitched roofs and concealing all movement in the Alpine meadows above the village. It’s “wolf-weather” according to the locals, an opportunity for the carnivores back in Switzerland, after a decade’s long hiatus, to […]

Fekter Snubs Italy

Fekter Snubs Italy

Italy might need financial support from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) due to high interest rates, Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter speculated in an interview on ORF television on 11 June. The news spread quickly all over Europe, once Reuters had disseminated the details, sparking a political row with Austria’s southern neighbour. A day […]

A Tuscan Pilgrimage

A Tuscan Pilgrimage

Is Florence a real city? There are some who write it off as a living museum, trodden with tourists and impossible to appreciate. Don’t believe them! Whether a maiden visit or an annual pilgrimage, to me, three days in Florence are always memorable and invigorating. This high altar of Renaissance art and architecture, as well […]

Italy Downgraded

On 4 Oct., the rating agency Moody’s downgraded Italy’s sovereign debt from Aa2 to A2, with a “negative outlook”, suggesting further downgrades could follow. In its report, Moody’s said the decision was driven by the debt crisis, which was causing a “sustained and non-cyclical erosion of confidence” in Europe and increasing “long-term funding risks” for […]

Nations and Illuminations

Two vaporetto stops from the Piazza San Marco and its maddening crowds, junk souvenirs made in China and glowing heat, we land at the Giardini and the site of the Venice Biennale. The entrance beckons at the end of a wide gravel corridor, under the shade of hundred-year-old sycamore trees and past well-laid-out flower beds. […]

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