Cover

"The ticking bomb of national debts" headlines the Handelsblatt, announcing an end to the encouraging signs of recovery in Europe, as a collective case of jittery nerves sets in. "Bit by bit, the most troubled states are slipping down (into the danger zone)". In Portugal, Greece and Ireland, interest rates in government bonds to the EU have reached record highs, at respectively, 5.7%, 11.6% and 5.8%. These member states are in the firing line of the European Commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Olli Rehn, who is prepared to publicly call on them to respect their austerity goals for 2011. However, notes the German daily, in Portugal "the harsh cuts in the 2011 budget may not be approved by parliament". And in Ireland, "the cost of saving the banks is skyrocketing", making the country a potential candidate for a portion of the 750 billion euro European bailout fund. For its part, Greece "has still not managed to get its budget in order".