Eurozone leaders call off Greece talks as crisis deepens

 

The meeting of eurozone finance ministers that was meant to approve the bailout that Greece needs to avoid defaulting on its debts was called off last night.

The Athens government had failed to provide enough detail on its new austerity measures, said the president of the eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, despite the Greek parliament's vote for €3.3bn of further cuts on Sunday.

Mr Juncker said: "I did not yet receive the required political assurances from the leaders of the Greek coalition parties on the implementation of the programme." A meeting has been scheduled for next week.

China left Europe's top officials empty-handed yesterday as it refused to pledge more funds to help resolve the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Speaking at a joint China-EU summit in Beijing, Premier Wen Jiabao promised to co-operate with Europe to improve the situation, but failed to make a specific commitment to invest further in the various pan-European bailout funds.

"China is ready to increase its participation in resolving the European debt problems. We are willing to conduct close communication and co-operation with the EU side," Mr Wen said. But he made no direct pledge to step up China's purchases of the bonds issued by the European bailout funds.

The European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, and the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, had both travelled to Beijing in the hope of unlocking more Chinese investment for these funds.

On Monday, Lou Jiwei, the head of China's $410bn sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, said that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had requested further Chinese investment in European sovereign debt. Mr Lou said China wanted to invest in Europe by acquiring European companies, not government bonds.

Mr Van Rompuy told his hosts in Beijing that the European crisis was finally coming to an end. "Investors in Europe can be reassured that we have not just navigated a difficult bend, we have turned a corner," he claimed.

However, the Chinese premier said that European nations still needed to do more to solve their own problems before China would make a move.

"We expect those highly indebted countries to strengthen fiscal consolidation, cut deficits and reduce debt risks in light of their national conditions," Mr Wen said. "We hope the EU will soon reach internal consensus, make the political decision and send to the international community a clearer and a stronger message of policy responses."

Mr Rompuy's confident message was contradicted by dire economic data from the eurozone's most troubled state. The Greek statistics office reported yesterday that its economy contracted at an annual rate of 7 per cent in the final quarter of 2011, and shrank by 6 per cent last year, even more than earlier estimates. Official statistics released yesterday also showed that Portugal saw its economy shrink by 2.7 per cent annualised in the fourth quarter of last year.

Italy scraps bid to host 2020 Olympic Games

Rome's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games became the latest victim of the economic storm sweeping across Europe's southern periphery last night.

The Italian government said it could not support the plans because of the country's dire financial straits.

Prime Minister Mario Monti confirmed: "We arrived at the unanimous conclusion that in Italy's current condition the government does not feel able to take on the commitment to offer the [financial] guarantee needed to host the Olympics."

Rome hosted the Olympics in 1960 and planned to use many of the same venues if it was awarded the 2020 Games. Doha, Madrid, Istanbul, Tokyo and Baku have said they will put in a bid. Reuters

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes