The Times reports that Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, who published a secret list of wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, was cleared of privacy charges and walked free following a trial that had provoked worldwide concern. The intensifying storm over the so-called ‘Lagarde list' is followed-up in the Financial Times. Greece's parliament has been asked to investigate why two former finance ministers did not pursue possible tax evaders on the list of 2,000 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts.
The Guardian looks at French president Francois Hollande's plummeting popularity, putting it down to policies that are seen as gaff-ridden and indecisive. The newspaper suggests Hollande's level of public support has dropped to just 36% making him the most unpopular president at the six-month mark of a mandate.
At least 500 people have been uprooted from their homes to make way for luxury villas where European Union foreign ministers, including William Hague, will stay during a summit in Laos on Monday, according to the Daily Telegraph. The "Asia-Europe Meeting" will bring together 48 EU and Asian countries on Don Chan island in the centre of Laos's capital, Vientiane. To allow the construction of 50 villas and two conference centres, the authorities have moved 102 families who once lived on the island and worked its green paddy fields. The new facilities will be used for this and future summits.
Janusz Lewandowski, the European commissioner for financial programming and budget, gives an interview to Süddeutsche Zeitung in which he says that patience is running out with the UK over its stance on the EU's long-term budget. Lewandowski says that it is time for the UK to decide whether it is “in the EU for the long-haul or not”. His comments come after the British parliament called for David Cameron, the prime minister, to take a tougher stance on the EU long-term budget than he had planned.
Financial Times Deutschland's lead article reflects on that vote. The paper is rather sympathetic to the 50 “rebel” Conservative MPs who voted against Cameron. After all, it says, they are only saying more loudly what MPs in other EU member states are saying. But, the paper says, their hard-line stance will end up damaging all sides.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung considers how eurozone finance ministers will help Greece make its debt sustainable. The paper says that after a conference call of finance ministers on Wednesday doubts are growing about whether there is a viable solution.
The French business daily Les Echos has an exclusive interview with Mario Monti, Italy's prime minister in which he acknowledges that the austerity measures being imposed on his country and around Europe are “painful”. But he says that they are necessary.
Belgium's Le Soir looks at the country's budget negotiations. It says that it looks likely that the value-added tax (VAT) rate will rise from 21% to 22% as the government seeks to save a further €3.7 billion.
Handelsblatt looks at Starbucks, the US coffee-shop chain. “Have Europeans lost their thirst for Starbucks coffee?” asks the paper. Certainly the latest figures would seem to bear that out.