Spain bank bailout agreed

A Eurogroup statement says it has agreed to lend up to 100 billion Euros to Spain, but Spain says it won't formally request the cash until it is clear exactly how much its struggling banks need.

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Spanish government: unaware of any pending bank announcement

A Spanish government spokeswoman said on Friday she was not aware of any pending announcement on a bank rescue after Reuters cited European Union and German sources saying Spain is expected to make a request for aid over the weekend.

The spokeswoman referred to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's comments on Thursday that he would wait to see the results of independent audits of the country's banking system before talking with Europe over the best course of action to recapitalise the banking system.

Luxembourg PM: 'UK will become euro zone member'

Jean-Claude Juncker believes the UK will soon join the euro currency. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker has predicted that the UK will eventually join the euro currency.

He told The Times that the eurozone would emerge “stronger than ever” and the UK could soon become a member of the euro area.

The president of Eurogroup said: “The moment will come when the United Kingdom, after looking at reality, will say to itself that it is better to be in the essential machine of Europe than to sit in the stand watching the action.

"I have always believed that, in spite of occasional bitterness, the European Union without Britain is no longer the European Union. For strictly national reasons and not out of any continental romanticism, the United Kingdom will become a member of the eurozone.”

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Luxembourg PM: euro in “enormous crisis”

Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker says the euro is in an "enormous crisis". Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg has told The Times that the euro is in an "enormous crisis", but admitted problems in the euro zone can be overcome.

Jean-Claude Juncker, who has been president of the Eurogroup, an informal caucus of the euro finance ministers, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, since 2005, said:

“With my European duties, I must not take part in the current alarmism. I profoundly think that we are capable of overcoming the structural difficulties of the moment.

“The moment has come to take another decisive step in the matter of integration, with financial union and fiscal union.”

Greek politician: 'What is a man if he can hit a 58-year-old woman'?

Ilias Kasidiaris landed blows to the face of Liana Kanelli. Credit: ANT-1 TV

Greek Communist Party member Liana Kanelli has described the moment she was hit in the face during a live TV debate.

Neo-nazi Golden Dawn spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris was seen throwing water at SYIZA's Rena Dourou and then slapping Liana Kanelli.

"I was ashamed of the political image of this country," Kanelli told Radio 4's PM programme."I said, what are you doing? Then he raises his hand and he boxes to my face.

"I've been in wars and revolutions, I've seen dead guys, [but] it's the first time in front of so many witnesses that you see the snake coming out of the egg.

"He can call me an old Commie, but what is a man if he can hit a 58-year-old elected woman?"

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Fitch downgrades Spain's sovereign credit rating by three notches

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Spain's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to 'BBB' from 'A'.

The downgrade of Spain's sovereign ratings by three notches, says Fitch, reflects the following factors:

  • Spain's high level of foreign indebtedness has rendered it especially vulnerable to contagion from the ongoing crisis in Greece;
  • The much reduced financing flexibility of the Spanish government is constraining its ability to intervene decisively in the restructuring of the banking sector and has increased the likelihood of external financial support.

Cameron: British people 'guaranteed' referendum if power transfers to Brussels

David Cameron was asked whether a move towards closer integration within the eurozone of the kind which Ms Merkel has advocated would trigger a referendum in the UK.

He replied:

The British people have this guarantee - and it is now written into law by this Government - which is that if power is transferred from Westminster to Brussels then we hold a referendum.

That's the guarantee, that's in law, and it is right it should be there.

On the issue of how Britain could be protected from the development of a two-speed Europe, the Prime Minister said:

The key thing is that we want the best for Britain in Europe. We are in Europe because we want the trade, the investment, the free movement, the ability for our businesses to grow and expand.

That single market is vital for Britain and it is that that we will always defend.

Cameron: Britain to 'keep pushing' for structural reform in Europe

Speaking after his talks with Ms Merkel, David Cameron characterised the meeting as "good and positive".

He said:

It is not easy when you have got in the eurozone 17 countries, 17 governments and one currency, so I understand the difficulties.

But obviously, I am pressing the case for action to solve the financial crisis, to recapitalise the banks, build the big firewall, get growth going in Europe through structural reform and make sure there are clear and credible plans to deal with deficits.

All of these things need to happen and Britain will keep pushing for them.

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