Tonight's EU summit will feature 25 leaders “perplexed by the accumulation of dissonance between Paris and Berlin” since the election of François Hollande as France's new president, writes Le Figaro. The paper also surveys the four initiatives – from a recapitalisation of the European Investment Bank to a financial-transaction tax – that Hollande wants to discuss tonight. Europe has the money to kick-start growth, Germany's foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, writes in the UK's Times. We don't need flash-in the-pan stimulus but the EU's €1 trillion budget must be used to get the continent working, he writes.
EU governments and MEPs have agreed to use some €230 million in unspent funds from this year's budget to help kick-start Europe's economy, in the form of so-called project bonds, writes Le Monde.
Antonis Samaras, leader of Greece's New Democracy, will meet fellow centre-right leaders from across Europe in Brussels today ahead of an EU summit, writes Kathimerini. Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the centre-left Pasok, met François Hollande, France's new president, in Paris yesterday, while Alexis Tsipras, leader of the far-left Syriza, held talks in France and Germany.
Sensible Keynesians see no easy way out of the eurozone crisis, the economist Raghuram Rajan writes in the Financial Times. The question is whether more state spending can make a difference. “Beware false promises of easy economic growth” is the headline of the editorial in the UK's Independent. Austerity is now pitted against recovery as if politicians have merely to choose, it writes.
Switzerland's 26 cantons must soon find a consensus on how to tax certain companies as talks with the EU on the matter are expected to intensify this year, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
For the first time in Egypt's millennia-old history, some 53 million voters will be able to choose their leader in a competitive election starting today, writes the Egypt Independent. The election takes place 15 months after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the country's long-time dictator.
The US administration has reacted coolly to a reported deal between Iran and the UN's nuclear watchdog just a day before six-power talks with Iran are to start in Baghdad, writes Israel's Ha'aretz. If the West insists on suspension of all enrichment, talks will end in failure, a former member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team writes in the Financial Times.
“Like Afghanistan, Mali is a victim of our ‘war on terror'”, a commentator writes in the UK's Independent. Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb is increasingly active, while even Nigeria's Islamist Boko Haram is involved.
Austria's armed forces have some 2,000 staff who are surplus to requirement, writes Die Presse, citing findings by auditors. The figure amounts to some 8.6% of the armed forces' total staff.
Bulgaria's parliament yesterday formally backed an agreement to support the 4,000-km Nabucco pipeline project to bring Caspian gas to Europe.
Critics of the atomic phase-out said energy emissions, costs and imports would all rise. They were wrong, writes the UK's Guardian.
Bulgaria's Dnevnik carries an interview with the country's European commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva.
The presence of young Poles in British schools is improving the results of British pupils, Gazeta Wyborcza writes, citing British research.
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