April 20, 2021

No Clear Winner in Debate Between Merkel and Challenger

Mr. Steinbrück, 66, who was finance minister in Ms. Merkel’s first coalition government from 2005 to 2009, came across to undecided voters as more persuasive and readier on the attack, according to polling by ARD, Germany’s main state television network. Ms. Merkel, 59, a physicist raised in East Germany who entered politics as a novice in 1990, was rated as more sympathetic and fair, ARD said.

The two quite swiftly laid out contrasting views of the euro crisis and Germany’s role in helping countries like Greece, but it was more than an hour into the debate before they discussed other international problems, including Syria.

Ms. Merkel stated more clearly than she had before that Germany would play no part in any military response to the apparent chemical weapons assault outside Damascus, and she stressed that Germany would always need some kind of international mandate — with NATO, the United Nations or the European Union as possible authors — before taking military action.

Until Sunday, the popular Ms. Merkel consistently outscored Mr. Steinbrück in polls asking Germans whom they wanted to win the Sept. 22 election. Ms. Merkel, who is seeking another four-year term, is very much the focus of the campaign by her center-right Christian Democratic Union.

However, Germany’s parliamentary system and complex coalition arithmetic mean that Ms. Merkel may not secure enough seats or votes to win re-election at the head of her current coalition, with the business-minded Free Democrats. If the two largest blocs — Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats — are forced into a so-called grand coalition, Mr. Steinbrück has already said that he will not join it.

That refusal led to the most lively exchange on Sunday, near the end of the debate. Pointing to polls saying that many Germans favor such a grand coalition, one of the four moderators, the popular television host Stefan Raab, pressed Mr. Steinbrück on how voters should mark their ballots to reach that outcome. Flustered, Mr. Steinbrück ended up recommending a vote for him and his party.

For her part, Ms. Merkel was pressed to declare allegiance to her current coalition partner, and did so in a way that commentators interpreted as leaving some room for the Social Democrats. She said that unlike her rivals, she was not acting out of partisan considerations. “It is always first about the country,” she said.

Ms. Merkel has deftly ducked contentious issues in the campaign so far — even over the extent to which American intelligence agencies have spied on Germans, a highly delicate subject in a country scarred by its Nazi and Communist past.

Mr. Steinbrück accused Ms. Merkel of reacting too passively — “I will wait and see,” as she said in a July news conference — rather than defending German interests. Ms. Merkel has admitted that she had not realized the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, but has insisted that she believed White House assurances that the agency had not abused its access to German data to spy on millions of Germans.

Her government has said it was seeking a new agreement with the United States that neither country will spy on the other. Asked why that was necessary if she believed the White House, Ms. Merkel parried the question.

While Mr. Steinbrück laid out a vision of creating a “fairer” Germany and reiterated that his party was prepared to raise taxes on the “Oberen,” or the better-off in society, Ms. Merkel reiterated her message that she had done well for eight years, and that she deserved four more. Campaign posters have shown the chancellor smiling but not triumphant, with slogans like “Successful together” and “Germany is strong — and should stay so.”

As the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper noted Sunday, even 20 percent of voters who lean toward the Social Democrats said they would prefer her as chancellor. “She is too pragmatic and keeps her distance too well for any kind of emotional connection to move voters to choose the chancellor’s party,” the newspaper wrote. “But she has managed to make many associate her with feeling good.”

Mr. Steinbrück’s party introduced welfare and labor policies a decade ago that are credited with bolstering Germany’s competitiveness, but the party remains deeply split over those policies, and has struggled to run a strong campaign.

Another factor that could affect the election result is the showing of a new party, Alternative for Germany, which wants to pull out of the euro. Pollsters have warned that surveys showing the party below the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in Parliament may understate its support, with some voters reluctant to admit backing it.

The mass circulation Bild newspaper had its own verdict on the “duel,” referring to the popular moderator: “Raab won.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/world/europe/no-clear-winner-in-debate-between-merkel-and-challenger.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Rift Over Austerity Plans Is Seen in Ailing Portugal

While the government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has fended off collapse, for now, Portugal joins other crisis-hit euro countries left badly weakened by sharp divisions over the austerity approach and angry debates over how much more pain weary citizens can take.

The unexpected political turmoil in Lisbon, where two ministers resigned in two days, has rattled stock markets — Portugal’s main stock market index closed down 5.3 percent on Wednesday — and provided “another nail in the coffin of the current austerity approach,” said Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Center for European Reform in London.

“Portugal was one of the poster children for it, with a government that sounded even more wedded to austerity and supply-side reforms than the policy makers sitting in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt,” he said.

Though the Portuguese have followed the austerity path assiduously, they have not been alone in enacting the deep cuts to spending and public programs that proponents say are needed to get government books in order, and that opponents blame for stalling any semblance of recovery.

In Italy, the two-month-old coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta, the product of a deadlocked Parliament, is badly split over the austerity issue, and is being kept alive less by consensus and more by its members’ fear of political extinction — as well as by Europe’s grudging acknowledgment that Italy is too big to fail and too big to bail out.

In Greece, the governing coalition of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the country’s third government since 2009, was significantly weakened last month when its third and smallest party, Democratic Left, withdrew its ministers to protest Mr. Samaras’s unilateral decision to shut down the state broadcaster as part of the cuts demanded by the nation’s creditors.

Even though this week’s upheaval in Lisbon can be seen as “a victory for the anti-austerity camp,” said Luis Cabral, a Portuguese economist who teaches at New York University, he suggested that the European policy debate would continue, as countries like France that have sought to steer away from drastic spending cuts fail to demonstrate that they have the capacity for the kind of government spending — what Mr. Cabral called “a Keynesian magic wand” — that will solve Europe’s economic problems.

The uncertainty in Portugal comes as officials from the so-called troika of international creditors, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, were scheduled to start a review of the country’s economic progress on July 15.

In May 2011, Lisbon negotiated a bailout with the creditors worth $101 billion, linked to an overhaul program that was meant to improve its economic competitiveness and end in June of next year.

Instead, Portugal has been stuck in one of Europe’s deepest and longest recessions, with an unemployment rate that has soared to almost 18 percent compared with 12 percent when Mr. Passos Coelho came to power two years ago.

While Mr. Passos Coelho has won considerable praise from the creditors for sticking to the terms of the bailout program, “the results have been seen in the financial markets, but not in the real economy,” said Pedro Santos Guerreiro, editor in chief of Jornal de Negócios, a Portuguese business newspaper.

As a result of the political chaos, Mr. Santos Guerreiro warned that there was a genuine possibility that Portugal would end up requiring another bailout, which “would be very hard for the Portuguese people who have been facing so much austerity, but would also mean defeat for the European Union and its rescue plans.”

Rachel Donadio contributed reporting from Rome, and Melissa Eddy from Berlin.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/world/europe/rift-over-austerity-plans-seen-in-portugal-turmoil.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Greece Votes to Raise Tax on Higher Earners

ATHENS — Greek lawmakers voted late Friday to increase taxes on middle- to high-income earners, self-employed professionals and businesses despite vehement objections by the political opposition and several ruling coalition deputies who said austerity-weary citizens should not be subjected to further pain.

The change to the tax code, one of a long line of pledges Greece has made to international creditors in exchange for continued bailout money, passed comfortably with at least 162 of the ruling coalition’s 163 members backing the articles in a roll call that came after two days of heated debate in the 300-seat Parliament.

The fragile coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras hopes to raise 2.3 billion euros in much-needed revenue from the new law, which increases the amount of income tax paid by those earning more than 20,000 euros a year, trims tax benefits for having children, revokes tax breaks for farmers and increases corporate tax to 26 percent from 20 percent. The new law also increases the amount of income tax paid by self-employed professionals like doctors and electricians, who are widely perceived as not paying their share by understating their income. New rules abolishing a tax-exempt threshold means the self-employed would be taxed from the first euro they earn.

Defending the bill in Parliament, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras called it “a vital fiscal reform” that would avert additional across-the-board cuts to workers and pensioners.

“Every euro collected in tax revenue is one euro saved from salaries, pensions and social benefits,” he said. He rejected a flurry of amendments from members of two junior parties in the coalition and the opposition, noting that such costly changes would throw Greece off the path to economic health and put further bailout money in jeopardy.

Calling Mr. Stournaras a “political terrorist,” Panagiotis Lafazanis, a lawmaker of the leftist party Syriza, which opposes the terms of Greece’s bailouts, said the tax bill was “the nail in the coffin of social justice,” adding that “Greek society is more important” than its creditors.

Other opposition lawmakers berated the government for planning to impose additional measures in the coming days, including tighter control of the budgets of ministries and state utilities, the reduction of parliamentary employees’ wages in line with cuts to the wages of other civil servants, and the revision of Greece’s second loan agreement with foreign creditors, in the form of special edicts that do not require parliamentary approval. The loan agreement amendment surrenders the country’s rights to protect its assets from creditors, Syriza complained.

Since 2010, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have committed to two bailouts for Greece worth 240 billion euros in exchange for austerity measures that have hurt Greek living standards, pushed unemployment close to 27 percent and fueled angry street protests.

The new law is to be followed in spring by a thorough overhaul of the tax system that will introduce jail terms for large-scale evaders instead of the suspended sentences handed down now.

Greece’s failure to crack down on widespread tax evasion came into sharp focus over the holidays after prosecutors revealed that the names of three relatives of the former finance minister George Papaconstantinou had been removed from a list of some 2,000 wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts. Parliament is to vote next Thursday on whether Mr. Papaconstantinou, and his successor as finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, who leads the coalition’s Socialist party, will face a parliamentary inquiry on whether they should be indicted on charges of criminal tampering and breach of duty.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/12/business/global/greek-lawmakers-back-tax-increase.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Cameron Urges Editors to Act Quickly on Regulation

After the meeting at 10 Downing Street, a Twitter post in Mr. Cameron’s name said he had told the editors, representing most of Britain’s main national newspapers, that “they need to set up an independent regulator urgently,” with the implication that the government might otherwise have to bow to demands for a law to put teeth into a new system of accountability.

The meeting between the prime minister and the editors came five days after a long-running inquiry into phone hacking and other potentially criminal activities by British newspapers published a 2,000-page report that gave as its principal recommendation the creation of an independent, self-regulatory body backed by law to replace the largely discredited Press Complaints Commission.

The report, by Lord Justice Sir Brian Leveson, set off an acrimonious dispute between those who are deeply wary of the implications for press freedom in Britain if Parliament passes a new law, and others who argue that the newspapers — particularly the country’s rambunctious mass-circulation tabloids — have demonstrated that parliamentary action is the only way to ensure compliance with the new, independent regulatory measure that both sides in the dispute say is needed.

The dispute poses a potentially serious political challenge for Mr. Cameron, on top of a host of others confronting his coalition government at the midway point in its five-year term. Although most of the country’s newspapers and many influential commentators have applauded him for resisting the Leveson report’s call for a new system backed by statute, a powerful groundswell in public opinion has been stirred by a lobby group led by some of the best-known victims of tabloid intrusion, who have said that the tabloids have been “drinking in the ‘last chance saloon’ ” for too long and need the threat of a new law to curb their excesses.

Mr. Cameron indicated after the Downing Street meeting that he had admonished the newspaper editors not to delay in embracing a tough new system of accountability along the lines of Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals. “They’ve got to do it in a way that absolutely meets the requirements of Lord Justice Leveson’s report,” he told BBC television. “That means million-pound fines, proper investigation of complaints, prominent apologies and a tough independent regulatory system.”

“And they know, because I told them, the clock is ticking for this to be sorted out,” he said.

His warning reinforced one that Maria Miller, the culture secretary in the Cameron government, gave on Monday in the House of Commons, when she said that if the newspaper industry failed to agree on a stricter system or sought to introduce a “puppet show with the same people pulling the same strings,” changes in the system “would include legislation.”

Mr. Cameron, whose parliamentary majority depends on the fragile support of his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, faces something of a political tightrope walk if efforts to find a compromise in the dispute fall short. Both the opposition Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats are in favor of legislation to underpin a new system, and they have found a deep resonance in a British public that has been outraged by 18 months of revelations about the widespread phone hacking and other forms of alleged newsroom wrongdoing, including computer hacking, perjury and the bribery of police officers and other public officials.

Without a deal with Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Mr. Cameron could find his Conservatives — who are split over the need for a new law — facing defeat in the House of Commons if the issue comes to a vote. Cross-party talks aimed at resolving the dispute have produced an agreement that both sides will draft a parliamentary bill that would give the force of law to a new regulatory system. But Labour and the Liberal Democrats say they are confident they can come up with a formula that does not threaten press freedom, while the Conservatives have said they are ready to draft a new bill solely to demonstrate that it would be unworkable.

Moves for a new regulatory system are running parallel to a police investigation into the tabloid scandal. More than 90 people have been arrested and questioned, and a small but growing group of them have been charged with criminal offenses. One of them, Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire in Britain, resigned last year after investigators revealed that the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid had hacked the cellphone of a murdered 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, while she was missing but not yet confirmed as dead. Another, Andy Coulson, also a former News of the World editor, went on to serve as Mr. Cameron’s communications director until he, too, was forced to resign by the scandal.

Alan Cowell contributed reporting.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/world/europe/prime-minister-david-cameron-urges-editors-to-act-quickly-on-regulation.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

David Cameron Berated by His Own Party Over E.U.

Defying orders from the government, legislator after legislator from Mr. Cameron’s Conservatives rose in Parliament to fulminate against his European policy, saying he had done nothing to stop the union from siphoning money, sovereignty and authority from Britain.

At issue was a motion calling for a referendum on whether Britain should withdraw from or renegotiate its relationship with the European Union. The government opposed the motion, saying that it had to devote attention to sorting out its own economic crisis right now and that, in any case, leaving the European Union was not a reasonable option.

Throughout the day, Mr. Cameron’s aides telephoned Conservative members who oppose membership in the union, the so-called Euroskeptics, warning that the party would look unkindly on any signs of disloyalty. But dozens of angry members turned out for the debate anyway.

David Nuttall, the Conservative member of Parliament who introduced the measure, gave voice to widespread public concern that the European Union was running amok, sucking power and money from Britain and drowning British business in regulations and bureaucracy.

Mr. Nuttall said it was as if Britain had boarded a train that had suddenly begun “careering off at high speed,” even while adding on new cars. “You are locked in and have no way of getting off,” he told the House of Commons. “Worse still, the longer you are on the train the more the fare goes up, but there is nothing you can do about it.”

After a debate that lasted late into the evening, the motion was rejected on a vote of 483 to 111. The leaders of all three parties — the Conservatives; the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the Conservative-led coalition government; and the Labour opposition — had told their backbenchers to vote against the measure, giving no chance of its passing. But the exercise exposed a potentially lethal schism within Conservative ranks.

Late in the afternoon, Adam Holloway, a Conservative member of Parliament, said he was resigning from his post as an aide to the minister for Europe, David Lidington, because he had opposed the government’s stance on the referendum measure. “I’m really staggered that loyal people like me have actually been put in this position,” he said. “If Britain’s future as an independent country is not a proper matter for a referendum, then I have absolutely no idea what is.”

Mr. Cameron’s government, struggling to pull Britain out of its financial crisis with little result so far, has walked a precarious line since taking power last year. To mollify the party’s right wing and a generally Europe-averse public, the government has taken a Euroskeptic line, criticizing the union’s bureaucracy and waste and speaking again and again of “British sovereignty” and “British values.”

Yet despite having retained its own currency, Britain has remained very much a part of the union, with an economy inextricably tied to it, and has been integral to recent negotiations about the euro zone crisis. The dispute with Mr. Sarkozy at the summit meeting over the weekend came as the French leader accused Mr. Cameron of lecturing and disparaging members of the euro zone.

“You have lost a good opportunity to shut up,” Mr. Sarkozy told Mr. Cameron, according to British newspaper accounts. “We are sick of you criticizing us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro, and now you want to interfere in our meetings.”

Speaking on Monday, William Hague, the foreign secretary, said the government had extracted important concessions from Europe, including a provision absolving Britain of liability for future euro zone bailouts and an agreement that non-euro countries would have a say in a final bailout package later this week.

The government has also promised to hold a referendum on any new European treaty that would transfer sovereign powers from Britain to the union, Mr. Hague pointed out.

“I believe this proposal to be the wrong one at the wrong time,” he told Parliament, speaking of the measure at hand.

Internal battles have long divided Britain’s fractious Conservative Party. Sometimes the party has kept them private; other times it has been unable to discipline its ranks. Monday’s rebellion, wrote Tom Newton Dunn in Rupert Murdoch’s influential Sun tabloid, exposes Mr. Cameron “as a weak incompetent who has failed to change his suicidal party one iota in 15 years.”

He added: “Much of this is his own fault. He let the genie out of the bottle by exploiting heartfelt Euroskepticism among many well-meaning Tories when it suited him.”

Indeed, in an editorial in The Evening Standard on Monday, Mr. Cameron burnished his anti-Europe credentials, saying he was “driven as mad by the bureaucracy” as everyone else.

“Of course I share people’s frustrations about how the E.U. works,” Mr. Cameron wrote. But, he added, “We’re in the middle of dealing with a crisis in the euro zone — a crisis that if left to escalate would have a major impact on our economy. If you’re putting out the flames on a burning building you need to focus on the job, rather than give up and start a whole new project. You deal with the emergency at hand. That’s what we need to do today.”

However, George Eustice, a Conservative member of Parliament, said the government had not in fact been dealing effectively with the emergency.

“What’s led to this current problem is a sense that the government doesn’t have any serious intention of sorting the European Union out,” he said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/world/europe/british-leader-david-cameron-facing-internal-revolt-over-membership-in-european-union.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Malaysia Looks West for Investments

But at least one Asian country — Malaysia — still sees value in turning the opposite way, to enhance opportunities for its more assertive multinationals as well as bolstering investments from the West.

The Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, led a large official delegation last month to Britain via Turkmenistan, to capitalize on his country’s strong economy and investment inflows and assuage concerns about political agitation in the multicultural Southeast Asian country.

In past years, “it was just ‘please come to Malaysia,’ ” the trade minister, Mustapa Mohamed, said during an interview on the trip. “Now we are going to foreign countries to help provide access to Malaysian companies.”

Part of the sales pitch is selling the economic recovery story. The economy grew by 7.2 percent last year after shrinking 1.7 percent in 2009, and the government anticipates expansion of about 5 percent this year and next. The Malaysian inflation rate has been creeping up, though it remains moderate by global standards, at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in June.

But officials were also eager to ease potential concerns about the Malaysian political challenges.

“I think many investors have been to Malaysia, they understand the complications in Malaysia — multiracial, multireligious,” Mr. Mohamed said. “We need to have laws in place to ensure that things don’t get out of hand.”

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, an amalgam of nongovernmental and activist groups, has pushed for changes in electoral law from the coalition government led by the United Malays National Organization, which has dominated politics since independence from Britain in 1957.

Bersih was declared illegal July 1, after which hundreds of activists were rounded up. Most of them were quickly released, but some were held longer. On July 9, thousands of protesters defied a government ban and held a large street protest, during which the police fired tear gas and water cannons and arrested about 1,700.

“We have to engage,” Mr. Mohamed said, “we have to continue changing, reform.”

Underneath the political tension is an economy that has proved increasingly attractive to overseas capital.

Nonequity foreign direct investment inflows in 2010 were $9.1 billion, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, up from $1.4 billion a year earlier. The government is confident that it can retain that momentum.

“It’s not having an impact on investor confidence,” Mr. Mohamed said of the recent disturbances.

Ian Bryson, an analyst in Singapore at Control Risks, a consulting firm, said that there was less political risk in Malaysia than most of its regional peers and that the country benefited from relatively low corruption and a fairly dependable judiciary.

“I don’t think the current political agitation is pivotal or that the country is at a tipping point,” he said. “Malaysians are not interested in a full-scale upheaval.”

“The opposition is factious but vociferous,” he said, adding that splinter, conservative groups from the United Malays group still had the potential to destabilize the governing coalition in the next election, which is expected to be called in 2013.

On the economic front, Mr. Bryson cited concerns about limits on equity ownership in certain sectors — favoring ethnic Malays known as Bumiputera — and the employment of foreigners. He also noted broader skills shortages and restrictive local hiring and firing rules. “It’s generally very open to business, but with some cultural and sociopolitical limitations,” he said.

A report from the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, ranked Malaysia 21st out of 183 economies globally for the ease of doing business. The country scored lower for starting businesses and enforcing contracts.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c7ee113ce3ee97c1c0a75561ae0c54a5

Portugal’s Debt Rating Cut to Junk by Moody’s

Moody’s cut its rating on Portugal’s long-term government bonds to Ba2 from Baa1 and said the outlook was negative, suggesting more downgrades might be in store.

Even though Portugal negotiated a $116 billion rescue package in May, the ratings agency cited the risk that the country would need a second bailout before it could raise funds in the bond markets again and that private sector lenders would have to share the pain.

It also warned that Portugal might fall short of the financial goals it had worked out with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund under the terms of its bailout because of the “formidable challenges the country is facing in reducing spending, increasing tax compliance, achieving economic growth and supporting the banking system.”

The downgrade came a month after a general election in Portugal in which voters unseated the Socialist government of José Sócrates. Since then, the new center-right coalition government, led by the Social Democrats and Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, have pushed ahead with austerity measures and other reforms pledged by Portugal in return for its bailout.

Among such austerity measures, Mr. Passos Coelho’s government said last week that it would need to raise taxes to meet its budget deficit target. Under the plan, the government hopes to collect 800 million euros ($1.2 billion) in additional tax receipts this year by introducing a special tax that will amount to a 50 percent cut on the traditional Christmas bonus given to Portuguese workers, equivalent to one month of salary.

Responding to Moody’s decision on Tuesday, the finance ministry said in a statement that Moody’s had “ignored the effects” of the tax plan outlined last week in Parliament. The tax increase, the ministry added, “constitutes a proof of the government’s determination to guarantee the deficit targets for this year.”

The finance ministry said Moody’s downgrade vindicated the government’s recent policy initiatives since “a robust program of macroeconomic adjustment constitutes the only possible approach to reverse the tide and recover credibility.” The new government has also shelved several infrastructure projects, including a new high-speed train link between Lisbon and Madrid, as well as pledged to speed up the privatization of state-controlled companies.

Still, proposals like raising taxes will most likely yield more pain for citizens of a country whose economy is forecast to contract 2 percent this year and next.

As a practical matter, the downgrade “means that a smaller universe of investors can hold Portuguese debt on their books,” said Carl B. Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics in New York, referring to rules banning many investment vehicles from holding debt rated below investment grade. Portugal does not have to borrow in the markets, he noted, so the immediate damage to government finances is limited

Still, with all the confusion about another bailout for Greece, “this adds to the perception that there might not be a ready solution,” Mr. Weinberg said. “It revives the concern that a multicountry sovereign default could happen.”

“They’re playing with dynamite in euro land,” he added.

Hopes that Greece’s problems might be brought under control soon were deflated after Standard Poor’s said Monday that a proposal by French banks to help Greece to meet its medium-term financing needs would constitute a de facto default because banks would be required to roll over loans for a longer term at a lower interest rate.

“We’re continuing to work for a possible solution,” Michel Pébereau, chairman of BNP Paribas, the biggest French bank, said Tuesday at the Paris Europlace conference, a gathering attended by hundreds of international bankers. If the current ideas do not work, Mr. Pébereau said, “we’ll come up with something else.”

French and German bankers were scheduled to meet Wednesday morning at BNP Paribas’s headquarters in Paris with central bank officials, under the auspices of the Institute of International Finance, an association of the world’s biggest financial companies, to discuss how to proceed, said people briefed on the plan who were not authorized to speak about it publicly.

Raphael Minder contributed reporting from Lisbon.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=26270a7a94996e7a877a25adb0ed5f2d