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Saturday, February 4

4th Feb - Press Digest

Here are the ending week’s articles on euro crisis from mainly the ‘big three’ Der Spiegel, The Telegraph and The Economist. A Weekender-post is coming up next and you might want to check:

Weekly Support weekly summaries and previews 
Best of The Week the best links from my ending week's posts
Back to School roundup of research papers for thus inclined.

Merkel Gets Her Fiscal Pact: EU Summit Marred by Fears of German Domination Spiegel
Angela Merkel got the green light for her fiscal pact at Monday's EU summit but struggled to allay new fears of German domination. The planned message of the meeting -- a commitment to jobs and growth -- was drowned out by controversy following German calls to put Greece's budget under EU control.

The Hard Sell: Merkel Seeks Euro Zone Investments from Beijing Spiegel
Many in Europe have been eyeing Beijing's trillions as a possible solution to the continent's debt crisis. During her trip to China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to promote investments in the debt-ridden euro-zone countries. But the Chinese have so far been tight with their money. Will Merkel succeed in getting Beijing to bend?

'Don't Overestimate the Fiscal Pact' Spiegel
In a SPIEGEL interview, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, 51, expresses doubt about Germany's strategy in combatting the euro crisis, discusses the potential need for a larger Greek bailout package and says that the ECB may have to contribute to debt relief for Athens.

Legal Loopholes: Critics Question Merkel's Fiscal Pact Proposal Spiegel
It's German Chancellor Angela Merkel's pet project -- a new European Union fiscal pact to ensure members' budgetary discipline through stricter controls. But European legal experts have doubts about its viability, while critics say there are more important issues at hand.

Speech in Davos: Merkel Refuses Role of Rescuer in Euro Crisis Spiegel
As fears mount that the euro crisis could trigger a global recession, all eyes are on Germany to take an even stronger lead in the rescue efforts. But Chancellor Angela Merkel has disappointed these expectations, warning against placing too many burdens on Germany.

The World from Berlin: Germany's Power 'Is Causing Fear' in Europe Spiegel
An idea aired by Berlin officials last week to place Greek budget policy under the control of an EU commissioner has been criticized as unworkable and disrespectful. But given its contribution to rescue packages, Germany has a right to insist on fiscal discipline in Europe, say German media commentators.

ESM Plus EFSF Plus IMF: Europe May Be Planning 1.5 Trillion Euro Backstop Fund Spiegel
The permanent euro backstop fund ESM is due to replace the European Financial Stability Facility this year. But both 500 billion-euro funds could be merged and added to a third from the International Monetary Fund to create a super debt firewall, according to media reports from Davos.

Will the great interest rate gamble pay off? The Telegraph
By flooding the system with 'free’ money, the central banks could be storing up trouble.

Portuguese storm gathers as EU leaders fight over Greece The Telegraph
Surging borrowing costs in Portugal have raised the spectre of a second full-fledged contagion crisis in the eurozone, eclipsing the latest efforts by European Union leaders in Brussels to agree on Europe's bail-out machinery and a strategy for Greece.

Is the West finished? Perhaps not quite The Telegraph
For me, the defining image from Davos this year was the sight of Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, holding up an expensive-looking, designer leather holdall and saying: "I am here with my little bag to collect a bit of money."

Britain should be preparing to make the most of the euro break-up The Telegraph
The week when Alex Salmond firmed up the details of the coming referendum in Scotland about breaking up the UK was a strange time for the Prime Minister to be singing the praises of the UK's monetary union and berating the eurozone as structurally flawed.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy to bring in 0.1pc Financial Transaction Tax in August – The Telegraph
France has added some more rocket fuel to Monday's already volatile summit of EU leaders by pledging to introduce a 0.1pc tax on financial transactions in August.

Mario Draghi, the Latin Bloc’s monetarist avenger The Telegraph
The eurozone money supply is contracting at an accelerating pace on all fronts. The broad M3 gauge has fallen for the last three months in a row. A slump is already baked in the pie.

Bundesbank sinks deeper into debt saving Europe The Telegraph
Germany's Bundesbank has entirely exhausted its stock of private assets and run up a quarter of a trillion euros in liabilities propping up the eurozone system, testing the political limits of EMU solidarity in Germany.

Angela the lawgiver Charlemagne / The Economist
A pact to cut budget deficits is achieved at the cost of a growing democratic deficit

Portugal’s problems: The next special case? The Economist
Renewed optimism about the euro zone has passed Portugal by

The war on financeButtonwood / The Economist
Attacking your creditors is an intriguing strategy

The silent bazooka Free exchange / The Economist
The three-year loans offered by the ECB to banks have helped stabilise the euro zone

Germany and eastern Europe: Love in a cold climate The Economist
Germany’s eastern policy has never been stronger

Spain’s regions: The centre tries to hold The Economist
The new government seeks to rein in regional spending

French politics: And they’re offThe Economist
The presidential-election campaign gets under way

Eurozone crisis: Beijing tells Merkel “to do her homework” Handelsblatt / presseurop
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao coldly announced that there would be no promises to Europe of direct investment, “Indebted countries will first have 'to make painful decisions and do their homework.”

Germany: Call us Nazis if it makes you happy Die Zeit / presseurop
“Hitler”, “Occupying Power" – it’s always the same. Berlin is asserting its stance on the euro crisis and, in turn, is being abused with comparisons to the Nazis. Die Zeit ponders how Germans should respond.

Slump pact: Europe’s lurch backward presseurop
Borne of failure and fear, the EU moves toward political union not in strength, but in weakness. The latest proposed treaty for a "fiscal compact" continues this inglorious tradition, says Jason Walsh

New order presseurop
In the middle of all of this, Germany is continuing to design the Europe it wants to see, especially now that it has been “freed” from the constraint of partnership with a domestically weak Nicolas Sarkozy, while remaining reluctant to assume the new responsibilities thrust upon it by the crisis.