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Published on 19 December 2012 at 10:31

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has upgraded Greece’s credit grade by six notches, bringing it to B-, the highest level since June of 2011, and has also given the country a “stable” outlook. The Greek government has released 1.4 billion euros in agricultural aid. The European Investment Bank is to guarantee Greek exports to the tune of 500 million euros. Greek shipowners have the second largest fleet in the world. However, electricity prices charged to Greece’s citizens are to rise by 50%.


Four weddings and a funeral – Ta Nea

Roman Pekárek, a former member of the conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS), has been sentenced to a five-year jail term for corruption. He is expected to begin serving his sentence in the next few days. However, by law, authorities will not be able to rescind his political mandate, which Pekárek intends to keep while he is behind bars. He will continue to be paid his MP’s salary.

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MP on his way to prison – Lidové noviny

In Catalonia, two pro-independence parties, the centre-right Convergencia i Unió (CiU) and the leftwing Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) have reached agreement on the formation of a regional government, in the wake of their victory in elections on 25 November. ERC has pledged support for the outgoing regional president and CiU, leader, Artur Mas, in exchange for the organisation of a referendum on the independence of the region in 2014. For its part, the CiU has accepted to raise new taxes, as requested by the ERC.


2014 — CiU and ERC join in pact for referendum – El Periódico de Catalunya

Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti appears to have overcome his hesitations, and is expected to officially announce that he will run for re-election in February out of a “moral need to contribute to the country”. He can count on the support of four different centrist lists and, if he fails to obtain an absolute majority, he may seek to form a post-vote coalition with the centre-left Democratic party (PD). However, tension is rising between Monti and PD leader Pierluigi Bersani over the issue of who would eventually become premier.


Monti: I won’t remain idle – La Repubblica

Contrary to the opinions expressed by the EU and the foreign press, the outcome of last September’s general elections “was not a pro-European result. Not at all”, insists the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Labour Party’s Frans Timmermans, in an interview with the daily. “Certainly the Dutch do not want to leave Europe and reintroduce the florin. But that does not mean that they are positive about Europe or the euro. Disappointment and concerns about Europe predominate”.


Minister: voters did not choose Europe – NRC Handelsblad

François Hollande is about to arrive in Algeria for a two-day official visit. Some 50 years after the independence of the former French colony, the French president is hoping to reconcile the two countries, which have yet to to come to terms over the contentious issue of crimes committed during the colonial period and the war of independence.


France-Algeria: dictatorship of memory – Libération

In a hearing devoted to the issue, the constitutional court in Karlsruhe made it known that it would oppose current legislation, which attributes additional rights to heterosexual couples. In the spring of 2013, it is set to rule on the right of homosexuals to adopt a child already adopted by their partner. As it stands, they only have the right to adopt the biological children of their partner.


Ban on adoption by homosexuals falters – Süddeutsche Zeitung

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