Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of Greece's centre-left Pasok party, is expected today to start consultations on a new government following last Sunday's inconclusive election, writes Kathimerini. Attempts by the centre-right and the far-left to form a government have foundered. The chances of fresh elections in Greece have increased as talks between left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras and the mainstream parties failed, the UK's Daily Telegraph writes. Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that Antonis Samaras, the leader of the largest party, New Democracy, has refused to join with the second-placed Radical Left party, describing the policies of Tsipras as a “disaster”. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that the European Commission responded “in no uncertain terms” to the Radical Left's suggestion that the bail-out agreement is “null and void”. “Greece has to comply,” José Manuel Barroso, the president of the Commission, said yesterday. Reports in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung suggest that Germany is ready to withhold bail-out loans from Greece if it stops implementing austerity measures.
Spain has nationalised one of its largest banks, Bankia, the UK's Daily Telegraph writes. The forced rescue was needed after auditors Deloitte refused to sign off the bank's books. Italy's Corriere della Sera reports on pressure applied by the European Central Bank on Spain to take action. "Desperately seeking a bail-out for Spain and its banks" is the headline of an article by the economist Nouriel Roubini in the Financial Times. Time will only help if it is used to generate growth, he writes.
Financial Times Deutschland reports on a “monetary policy U-turn” at the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank. The paper says that central bankers are ready to pursue a more relaxed approach to inflation control.
Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, is completely isolated in Europe with her focus on budget discipline, Austria's Die Presse writes in a commentary. Merkel and France's President François Hollande cannot save the eurozone by old methods alone, Timothy Garton Ash writes in the Guardian. Europe's leaders still make the crucial deals behind closed doors – but Europe's peoples now demand to be heard, he argues. Corriere della Sera reports on the challenges that Italy's technocrat leader, Mario Monti, faces in dealing with Italy's political parties.
Mario Monti, Italy's prime minister, has dropped his opposition to a bilateral tax treaty with Switzerland, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The Italian government hopes to generate billions in revenue from Italian capital stashed away in Swiss vaults, writes the paper, following similar agreements between Switzerland and Germany and the UK.
Le Figaro looks at the complications that face new French President François Hollande as he tries to turn his campaign promises into reality. France's Libération reports that French Prime Minister François Fillon is preparing the resignation of the current legislative government. He was the longest-serving prime minister of the Fifth Republic.
Ramush Haradinaj, a former rebel leader and prime minister of Kosovo, is expected to arrive in Pristina today following his provisional release by a UN war-crimes court in The Hague, writes Koha ditore.
Bomb attacks have killed dozens of people in central Damascus this morning, according to the Daily Star, published in Lebanon. One of the attacks – apparently a car bomb – is thought to have targeted an intelligence headquarters. The UK's Guardian also has a report.
Tens of thousands of public-sector workers in the UK are due to go on strike today in a row over pensions, pay and jobs. The Guardian has a report.
The UK's Independent says the British government is under pressure from civil-liberties campaigners for pressing ahead with plans to set up ‘secret courts' and to monitor online activity. The measures were outlined in yesterday's Queen's Speech. The Daily Mail is unimpressed by the government's agenda, as its headline makes clear: “Where are the big ideas to save Britain?” The cost of David Cameron's coalition is growing ever more expensive, writes a commentator in the Daily Telegraph/i>, arguing that deals struck between the UK's prime minister and his deputy, the Liberal Democrats' Nick Clegg, could have serious electoral consequences.
Barack Obama, the US president, has said that gay marriage should be made legal across the US, writes the New York Times.
Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza has a report on Azerbaijan's frenetic preparations to host the Eurovision song contest on 26 May.
Sweden's The Local reports that man crossing the border with Norway was arrested after custom officials found 500 cowboy boots in the back of his car. “This is our largest seizure of cowboy hats,” an official said, who added they also found booze and cigarettes in the car.
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