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The paper clip, 22 May

Tuesday 22 May 2012

“Alone among friends”, is how Süddeutsche Zeitung describes Angela Merkel's presence at the G8 meeting at Camp David in the US over the weekend. The world now expects Germany to show more effort to change, the newspaper says. Suddenly old friends have started to disagree with Merkel's austerity-led agenda and are looking to Merkel to change tack on issues such as Eurobonds and whether to allow banks to tap into the European Stability Mechanism.

Handelsblatt has interesting quotes from Thomas Mayer, the Bundesbank's chief economist, who spoke at a conference in Berlin yesterday. He comes up of the idea of the ‘geuro', a currency that Greece would use in parallel to the euro. It would be a “fiscal gimmick” to allow Greece to exit the single currency as smoothly as possible, the paper says. “I believe that such a parallel system to the euro is the most likely development,” Mayer is reported as saying. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also has this story and says that financial analysts are warning of “chaos” if Greece leaves the eurozone. They say that the ‘firewall' around other eurozone economies such as Italy and Spain should be strengthened substantially to avoid capital flight if a Greek exit becomes a reality.

A commentator in the Financial Times argues that it is time to plan a velvet divorce for the euro. A break-up would be painful but it is the best option, he writes.

Handelsblatt reports that experts from Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency, are to revisit Madrid to reassess Spain's public finances after the Spanish government changed its deficit figures because of increased spending in some regions.

A meeting in Berlin yesterday between Pierre Moscovici, France's finance minister, and Wolfgang Schäuble, his German counterpart, failed to bridge disagreements over Eurobonds to stimulate growth, writes the Wall Street Journal Europe, raising the prospect of a showdown at tomorrow's summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the far-left, anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece, is on a tour of Europe ahead of a crucial early election on 17 June, writes Kathimerini. Tsipras was in France on Monday and will hold meetings in Germany today, according to the paper.

François Hollande, France's new president, has told fellow NATO leaders at a summit in Chicago that “our combat mission is over” in Afghanistan, writes Le Monde. French combat troops are to be withdrawn by the end of the year.

The leadership of Serbia's Democratic Party wants Boris Tadic, the defeated president of Serbia, to become prime minister, writes Belgrade's Blic. Pro-EU Tadic was defeated on Sunday by Tomislav Nikolic , a conservative populist, upsetting the formation of a new government.

Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, has appointed a new government that does not differ substantially from the previous administration, writes the Moscow Times.

Close to 100 people have been killed in an apparent suicide attack in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, writes The National, published in Abu Dhabi.

The European Union said today that Google must in “a matter of weeks” outline steps it is willing to take to ease concerns about alleged abuses of its dominant position in the online search market. The UK's Independent is one of a range of papers with a report.

The Kyiv Post's website carries a video of a vicious assault on a leader of Ukraine's gay-rights movement.

A commentator in the UK's Guardian is highly critical of a proposal by the Conservative party, the leading party in the UK governing coalition, to introduce ‘no fault' dismissals into labour law.

The Guardian also takes aim at an idea in the Labour Party of holding a referendum on British membership of the EU. “You stoke this anti-Europe fire at your peril” is the headline.

Shell must come clean over its oil spills in Nigeria, Femi Kuti, the Nigerian musician, argues in the UK's Times.

Poland's new minister for EU affairs, replacing Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, will be Piotr Serafin. Gazeta Wyborcza has a report.

Poles are stocking up on beer ahead of the European Championships, which will be held in Poland and Ukraine in June – so much so that stocks are reaching dangerously low levels, Gazeta Wyborcza writes.

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