Eurozone: Leaders take the stage

Sarkozy, Merkel, Berlusconi and Cameron star in this year's smash hit: 'Eurozone: The Panto'.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
The festive season fast approaches, so we’ve sprinkled a little sparkle on your Monday eurozone round-up.

First of all, poor David Cameron - let’s call him Cinderella - was nearly banned from the ball. Last week, our PM rescheduled his travel plans to attend the weekend’s EU crisis Summit and demanded an invite to this Wednesday’s meeting to ensure decisions represent the interests of the many (well, us), not the few (France and Germany). Wicked Stepmother French president Nicolas Sarkozy flew into a rage, lashing out at our great leader: ‘You say you hate the euro, you didn’t want to join and now you want to interfere in our meetings,’ he spat. Boo!

Apparently, Sarkozy is ‘sick’ of seeing the newspapers plastered with advice from our Prime Minister and Buttons (AKA Chancellor George Osborne). But all differences will have to be put aside on Wednesday in order to work out a comprehensive solution to Greece’s woes, the euro’s troubles and the instability of the financial markets. And so Cameron shall go to the ball.

Back on home soil, a plot is a-brewing to abandon the EU altogether. Despite David Cameron’s best efforts, up to 100 Tory MPs have already defied a three-line whip (meaning that any dissidents may be forced to resign) to back a Commons motion for a referendum.  However euro-sceptic you may be, it is undeniable that this is the worst possible time for such discussions to take place. This in-fighting dilutes the strength of the Coalition on the world stage and distracts from the most pressing issue: saving the world from recession and financial apocalypse.

Back in Panto-land, a new character enters stage right. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, with rouged cheeks, a giant wobbly wig and puffed skirts steals the show as Widow Twankey. What’s the ‘bunga bunga’ man been up to now? Precious little, that’s what. German chancellor Angela Merkel and Sarkozy found themselves allied for the first time this month (like two halves of a pantomime cow) as they ticked off the Italian leader for failing to fulfil pledges to cut Italy's huge debt and prevent eurozone debt contagion.

At the latest EU Summit, Italy is the main source of worry for the assembled leaders, despite all the doubt about Greece. Budget cuts and measures to reduce Italy’s colossal €1.9 tn debt, enforced in July and September, have now slipped. Berlusconi has now called an emergency cabinet meeting to attempt to appease the Summit.

There’s little chance he’ll be allowed to rest on his laurels henceforth. "Italy is a great economic force but Italy also has a very high level of debt and it must be reduced in a credible way over the coming years," said Merkel, sternly. "That's what we expect of Italy." That’s right, Silvio. She’s behind you.

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