Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine hold controversial leadership elections on Sunday that Kiev and the West have refused to recognise and which threaten to deepen the international crisis over the conflict.
ATHENS: When Alexis Tsipras dropped the bombshell of a popular plebiscite on the tough demands of creditors keeping Greece afloat, he cited the country's pedigree as the "birthplace of democracy". Greeks, the left-wing prime minister said last weekend, "should send a resounding democratic message to the European and global community". For some, however, Sunday's rapid-fire referendum is, at best, a distortion of democracy.
A day after at least one report suggested Greece will “probably” make a bid to join the BRICS bank, marking the dreaded ‘Russian pivot’ and representing the last bit of leverage Athens has left now that regional and local elections in Spain have made it clear that ideologically similar parties may soon sweep to power in other periphery countries much as Syriza did in Greece five months ago, it appears the country and its creditors will miss the Sunday deadline they set for
Sylvio Berlusconi is no stranger to being a catalyst for European crisis: in November 2011 it was his unwillingness to leave the PM post (and be replaced with a Goldman technocrat), that precipitated a bond crisis accented by the ECB's unwillingness to interject and buy Italian bonds until the career politician had left. Tomorrow, an Italian Senate committee is due to begin hearing arguments on whether to eject ex-PM Berlusconi from Parliament and on.
The European budget debate stepped up a notch today as Italy, Spain Warned on Budget. After Italy rebuffed warnings about its budget, euro-area finance ministers late Friday agreed to give the country additional opportunities to show it can make savings and bolster revenue.