Photo: emilio labrador
Market pressures is closing in on EU leaders to find some long term solution to this euro madness.Good news is that there are lots of important dates coming up on which they might be able to do just that. Bad news is that everyone will be watching to see if they fail.
This next month will be crucial, and here are all the dates you need to keep track of.
The European Commission presents research on three proposals to issue common euro area eurobonds and change economic governance in the eurozone.
Some information about the three proposals and governance changes has been leaked to the press ahead of the formal submission. Each of the eurobond ideas would require different approvals and see distinct chances for success, however we are seeing the increasing possibility that EU leaders might choose this outlet.
So far, we know that proposals on changes to governance would allow the central EU government to interfere with countries' budget drafts and policies if their spending does not adhere to euro-wide standards.
Newly appointed Italian PM Mario Monti will meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is Strasbourg, France.
This marks Monti's first official meeting with Europe's two most powerful leaders, and we could see a changing relationship between Italy and France now that the 'technocrat' Monti is in power. While Monti has so far been politic in his statements about more radical steps to stem the crisis, Italy is in such bad straights right now that we could see Monti and Sarkozy start to take a stand against Merkel to demand more action.
17 eurozone finance ministers--the Eurogroup--will assemble ahead of an EU-wide finance ministers meeting the next day. They will likely be discussing eurobonds proposals or the feasibility of the ECB taking a larger role in stemming the crisis.
We could see tension mount between Germany (perhaps accompanied by other core countries like the Netherlands) and the joint France, Spain, Italy, and Greece contingent over disagreements on the scale and urgency of a eurozone fix.
Finance ministers from across the 27 states of the European Union will meet, with fixing the euro crisis topping the agenda. The divide between euro and non-euro countries has widened considerably since the summer.
The big divider here could be proposals that would require eurozone treaty changes. Non-euro countries might oppose such measures, as they could feel increasingly marginalized and less vital to the 17-state eurozone.
The Greek Parliament votes on its 2012 budget. With ex-ECB member Lukas Papademos replacing ex-PM George Papandreou, the budget is expected to pass without issue. It will include new austerity and growth measures aimed at bringing Greek debt under control.
It must pass this budget in order to receive the next tranche of €8 billion ($11 billion) in EC/ECB/IMF aid. This is all expected to go off without a hitch, but if for some reason it doesn't this could undermine the stability of the euro currency.
The European People's Party meets in Marseille, France. The centre-right party enjoys membership of 16 of the European Union's 27 heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as EU leaders Herman van Rompuy, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Jose Manuel Barroso.
Leaders often engage in debates on issues crucial to EU governance at the meetings, and agree upon party-wide positions. Given the growing ideological divide between Sarkozy and Merkel, this debate could turn heated but important differences could also be resolved.
Those agreements could indicate the direction that an upcoming summit of EU leaders could take.
The European Central Bank will announce its second policy rate decision under the leadership of President Mario Draghi. Draghi will give a press conference following the release.
ECB members are already hinting at cutting rates again in December, after a surprise rate cut in November. Analysts will also be praying for Draghi to change his stance on ECB involvement in the euro crisis and its willingness to purchase virtually unlimited quantities of sovereign debt. The bank has up until now opposed such measures, but this could change at a moment's notice.
EU leaders will meet at a summit in Brussels. Opinions made at the European People's Party a few days earlier, the ECB's policy decision, and market conditions will likely influence their thinking on an endgame solution for the eurozone.
While everyone doubts the ability of EU leaders to get to the point and make monumental decisions, it is clear that they are rapidly running out of time to make them. Markets will be hoping for significant, tangible decisions to be made at this meeting.
The Spanish Parliament will meet for the first time since the centre-right Partido Popular took back power from the Socialist Party yesterday. It will have just over a week to decide on a new cabinet and prime minister, although party leader Mariano Rajoy is a shoo-in for the latter.
However, whispers since the election have indicated that the outgoing Socialist party may have attempted to disguise some of the country's national debt. This would inevitably lead to a spike in government borrowing costs, which has not yet happened in force with all the attention on Italy.
€1.22 billion ($1.65 billion) of Greek debt matures. This date should not prove problematic if the next tranche of troika aid is dispersed as planned.
However, if for some reason the Greeks do not succeed in passing a 2012 budget that conforms with troika guidelines, this could be the day that Greece does a hard default on its sovereign debt.