The only candidate to succeed Austrian Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell to the European Central Bank (ECB) executive board, Yves Mersch, the Central Bank of Luxembourg chief, saw MEPs reject his nomination by 325 votes to 300. MEPs wish to see a woman sit on ECB's executive board. The European Parliament has only a consultative role and "the Council may appoint Mersch anyway," the paper notes.

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Mersch must still fight – Luxemburger Wort

At the end of a 10-day inspection by the EU-ECB-IMF troika, Irish finance minister Michael Noonan said that the Irish government is working on a strategy with the European Union to exit its €85 billion rescue programme and become the first bailout country to return to the bond markets.

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Government confident of bailout exit next year – The Irish Times

Under pressure from Brussels, the Bank of Spain has instructed Bankia to roll back 72 executive bonuses for the year 2011. Bankia, nationalised and saved from bankruptcy with public money, has already paid out some 2 million euros. "For the first time, the supervisor forces reimbursement of bonuses already paid," notes the Madrid daily. The bank still needs 25 billion euros to recapitalize.

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EU forces Bankia to scrap 2011 executive bonuses – El País

According to a new poll, Sweden Democrats can expect 8.5% of votes, making it the country's third largest party, ahead of some members of the ruling coalition. The Swedish daily notes that the far-right grouping has widened its electoral base to attract more and more pensioners, executives and women. It has traditionally appealed to young men with few education qualifications, it adds.

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New poll shows record support for Sweden Democrats – Dagens Nyheter

On the day the memorial in Berlin to the Sinti and Roma gypsies killed under Nazism was inaugurated, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich spoke of "asylum abuse" on the part of mainly Roma applicants from Serbia and Macedonia. He asked that condititons for entry on German territory and state aid be restricted.

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Berlin wants to make it more difficult for Roma – Der Tagesspiegel

The Slovakian parliament has amended the Labour Code that entered into force 16 months ago. Any employee on a non-fixed term contract who is dismissed is now entitled to both redundancy payment (between 1 and 4 months' salary depending on seniority) and a notice payment (between 2 and 3 months salary). Employees on fixed-term contracts are also more protected. Entrepreneurs argue that this will increase unemployment.

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Dismissal will cost businesses more – SME

Sorin Blejnar, former head of Romania's national revenue service, is accused by the national anti-corruption department of tax evasion on imported petroleum products. Verbatim reports published in recent days show that he maintained a close relationship with President Traian Băsescu, a fact that the vehemently anti-Băsescu daily compares to a mafia organisation.

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Capo di tutti capi [Boss of all bosses] – Jurnalul Naţional