Monday, June 25, 2018

Spain pleads for help in European crisis

MADRID — Spain's treasury minister said Tuesday that his country was being choked off from access to credit, sounding the country's clearest call for help yet in the 21/2-year-old crisis.

So far, only three small euro-zone countries have resorted to international bailouts and the hard conditions that come with them, and Spain, the currency union's fourth-largest economy, is desperate to avoid becoming by far the largest casualty.

Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro called Tuesday for Europe to give his country's faltering banks direct aid in a bid to prevent Spain's financial system and the government's own finances from dragging each other down.

Germany, which as Europe's largest economy has veto power over any new aid programs, opposes the idea even as it has been floating long-term plans to shore up Europe's finances.

Panicked investors have pushed the borrowing rates for Spain so high that "the market door is not open for Spain," Montoro told Madrid's Onda Cero radio on Tuesday. "The risk premium says that as a state we have a problem in accessing markets."

Spain hopes to raise up to $2.5 billion in a Thursday bond auction, suggesting that policymakers here believe that the door is not yet fully shut.

Spain's struggles could pose the largest challenge so far in a long-simmering crisis that has turned a once-booming confederation of European countries into a continent wracked by recession, unemployment and financial uncertainty.

Only Germany has pockets deep enough to push down countries' borrowing costs, guarantee fearful depositors' investments and kick-start listless economies, and leaders there have in recent days shown openness to a sweeping bargain that would harness the might of its taxpayers to bolster its struggling neighbors.

The catch? The changes that Germany is considering would come only on a time scale of years, far too slow to help Spain with its pressing problems over the coming days and weeks. Estimates on how much the Spanish banking system would need range from $50 billion to $125 billion — Montoro said it was "not astronomical" — and a bailout of the entire country could cost far more.

But Germany has opposed any attempt to channel the bailout funds straight to Spanish banks, saying that if Spain needs the funds, it should follow in the footsteps of the other troubled euro-zone economies that have needed to request national-level bailouts with all the strings attached.

Still, sweeping measures — including giving bank deposits European-wide support, creating a strong regional banking regulator that could override national government, and pooling a portion of the debt of the 17 countries that use the euro — are being discussed in Europe to an extent unimaginable just months ago.

Comments
Driver deliberately struck family riding on New Tampa bike path, killing father, police say

Driver deliberately struck family riding on New Tampa bike path, killing father, police say

TAMPA — A driver made a U-turn, crossed a lane of traffic and a grassy easement then sped up and deliberately slammed into a father and his two young sons as they rode down a bike path, killing the father and the injuring the two sons, Tampa police s...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Witness says Jameis Winston was unruly and alone in Uber

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Witness says Jameis Winston was unruly and alone in Uber

Tom Jones joins the podcast to talk about Jameis Winston's reported three-game suspension, as information from another witness has come out saying Winston was unruly and in the Uber by himself during the evening in question.Plus, the Rays sweep the b...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Repeat of Sunday’s powerful, and deadly, storms forecast this week for Tampa Bay

Repeat of Sunday’s powerful, and deadly, storms forecast this week for Tampa Bay

Conditions similar to those that flooded streets in South Tampa, pelted areas across Tampa Bay and produced lightning that killed a woman in Siesta Key on Sunday will be intact throughout the week — and with even more frequency.Typical summer weather...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Roseanne Barr breaks down sobbing in newly released interview after racist tweet: ‘I’ve lost everything’

Roseanne Barr breaks down sobbing in newly released interview after racist tweet: ‘I’ve lost everything’

An interview Roseanne Barr gave to a celebrity rabbi in the days after her infamous twitter rant was released Sunday, showing a weeping Barr pleading for forgiveness and saying "I’m not a racist. I’m an idiot."Rabbi Shmuley Boteach released the emoti...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 10:09 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 10:09 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
Northern California wildfires prompt evacuations, burn homes

Northern California wildfires prompt evacuations, burn homes

Wind-driven wildfires breaking out across Northern California forced thousands of residents to flee their homes and destroyed at least a dozen buildings
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Turkey to release formal election results July 5

The Latest: Turkey to release formal election results July 5

International observers have criticized the uneven playing field in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections and said some monitors were obstructed while carrying out their mission
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Turkey to release formal election results July 5

The Latest: Turkey to release formal election results July 5

International observers have criticized the uneven playing field in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections and said some monitors were obstructed while carrying out their mission
Updated: 1 hour ago
Supreme Court declines to hear 'Making a Murderer' case

Supreme Court declines to hear 'Making a Murderer' case

The Supreme Court is declining to weigh in on the case of a teenager convicted of rape and murder and featured in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer."
Updated: 1 hour ago

EU condemns attack on Roma in Ukraine that left 1 dead

A top European Union official is condemning a recent attack on a Roma camp in western Ukraine that left one person dead and four others injured, including a 10-year-old boy
Updated: 1 hour ago