- Posted July 29, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Eye On Europe - July 29th
Europe continues to be the boiling cauldron which may affect the US presidential election and plunge the world into another financial meltdown. European leaders continue to try and work through the troubling fiscal issues and squabble over austerity versus spending.
Leaders Join Forces: The German and Italian leaders issued a new pledge to protect the eurozone, while the influential eurogroup chairman was quoted Sunday as saying that officials have no time to lose and will decide in the coming days what measures to take.
The weekend comments capped a string of assurances from European leaders that they will do everything they can to save the 17-nation euro. They came before markets open for a week in which close attention will be focused on Thursday's monthly meeting of the European Central Bank's policy-setting governing council.
Last Thursday, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank would do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro _ and markets surged on hopes of action.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Mario Monti "agreed that Germany and Italy will do everything to protect the eurozone" in a phone conversation Saturday, German government spokesman Georg Streiter said, a statement that was echoed by Monti's office.
That was nearly identical to a statement issued Friday by Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, which followed Draghi's comments.
Romania: Romania is facing its biggest political test since the fall of communism as the country votes on whether to impeach its president for meddling in government affairs.
Sunday's referendum comes amid the backdrop of a political crisis that has raised question marks over the health of democracy in the eastern European state
The result will determine the fate of President Traian Basescu, who has been waging a furious political turf war with Victor Ponta, the prime minister.
Romania's unpopular president was fighting for his political life on Sunday as Romanians voted on whether to oust him, part of a political battle that has raised questions about the rule of law in the fledgling European Union member. Early indications were that he might keep his job due to a low voter turnout.
Traian Basescu's rivals in the government are seeking to push him out for the second time in five years. They claim the 60-year-old populist violated the constitution by meddling in government business, coddling cronies and using the secret services against enemies.
Russia: Three young women who staged an irreverent punk-rock protest against Vladimir Putin on the altar of Russia's main cathedral go on trial on Monday in a case seen as a test of the president's tolerance of dissent.
The trial of the activists - from the band 'Pussy Riot' - should show how much power the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church and its head, Patriarch Kirill, wields. He has called the "punk prayer" blasphemy, casting it as part of a sinister anti-clerical campaign.
Germany: German prosecutors say they have filed criminal charges against a person suspected of spying for Syria.
A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors said Sunday that they have filed charges against a suspected Syrian spy but said she couldn't give any other details before they have confirmation that the suspect and the defense team have received the indictment.
The weekly Der Spiegel, which didn't cite sources, identified the suspect as Akram O. _ one of two men arrested in Germany in February who authorities have said are suspected of having spied on Syrian opposition activists in Germany for several years.
Greece: Finance Ministry officials say international debt inspectors will help Greece prepare a package of spending cuts and other reforms so that it can keep getting billions in bailout funds crucial to its economy.
That means the inspectors won't be leaving at the end of July as originally expected.
They told reporters that International Monetary Fund representative Poul Thomsen assured Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Friday that the inspectors would stay and that experts in their delegation would help Greece find places to cut spending and ways to boost revenue for a package worth euro14.5 billion ($17.9 billion).
Italy: Two Italian engineers who were kidnapped and held captive for eight days in Syria have returned to Italy.
Domenico Tedeschi, 36, and Oriano Cantani, 64, told reporters at Rome's Fiumicino airport on Sunday that they still don't know the identity of their captors.
The two were seized by a group of masked men who intercepted their car en route to the airport July 18.
Cantani said the Syrian army organized their release, but did not give further details.
Spain: Hundreds of Spaniards protested Sunday against the conservative government's proposal to roll back women's abortion rights, including in cases where the fetus is deformed.
The protesters in Madrid included one young woman who wrote the slogan "Judges and priests away from my body" on her belly.
Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon has said he will ask Parliament to change the existing law, including implementing a requirement for parental permission in cases where 16- and 17-year-olds want to end pregnancies.
Gallardon said the changes also make it harder for women to abort fetuses with physical deformities.
"The malformation of a fetus can no longer be a case for abortion," Gallardon said in a recent interview published by the La Razon newspaper.
France: Francois Hollande has vowed to defend foie gras after it was banned in California saying that outlawing the delicacy goes against the principles of free trade.
On July 1, a law in California came into effect forbidding the production and sale of the highly controversial French delicacy on the ground of animal cruelty.
Speaking on Saturday however, the French president assured the culinary world he “would not let foie gras exports be jeopardised, especially in certain countries, or certain states in America”.
From the Cornfield, we must remain vigilant less we get caught with our pants down in the event the Euro Zone crumbles.