(1) from theUK TELEGRAPH:
(2) from the UK TELEGRAPH:
Deutsche Bank warned yesterday that a likely French 'No' to the European constitution could begin a wave of currency speculation across Eastern Europe, setting off a chain of economic disruption. Norbert Walter, the bank's chief economist, said rejection of the treaty in France's referendum on May 29 could halt the eastward expansion of the euro-zone. The Turkish lira is also vulnerable."There could be a wave of currency attacks in the new member states. These countries would then have to raise interest rates. We could see enormous exchange rate swings," he told FT Deutschland. "The problem is that the EU has no strategy for dealing with a rejection of the treaty. People may well question whether the eurozone should have any new members at all," he said. The warning follows eight consecutive opinion polls showing the 'No' side are ahead. An Ipsos survey for Le Figaro yesterday gave a six-point lead to opponents of the treaty prompting a front-page headline: "The No takes root".
(3) from the IHT:
A top European Union official said France, Italy and Spain faced a catastrophic" slump in exports as a fresh batch of gloomy data hit the eurozone yesterday. French industrial output slumped 0.5pc in February, following a 2.2pc contraction announced last week by Germany. The slide was blamed on high oil prices and the continued strength of the euro against the dollar and key Asian currencies. The French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin admitted yesterday that he now had no hope of fulfilling his pledge to cut unemployment below 10pc over coming months. The yield on 10-year French bonds fell to near historical lows of 3.58pc. The aborted recovery is causing growing alarm at the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Both bodies have slashed their eurozone growth forecasts from over 2pc to 1.6pc in 2005. A senior EU official said the eurozone was now acutely vulnerable to any slowdown in the United States, having failed to generate enough internal demand to sustain recovery.
At a meeting in Brussels, EU leaders took a strong turn toward entrenching Europe's high-tax social model by backing away from a radical deregulation of the Continent's services sector. They wanted to assuage fears among voters in France and Germany that cheaper workers from the free-market economies of Eastern Europe would steal their jobs.