Europe

Regulators have declared Capinordic Bank, a small player in Denmark's fragmented banking sector, insolvent and begun bankruptcy proceedings, the bank's parent company Capinordic A/S said on Thursday. Capinordic is the 18th Danish bank to fold or be bought up by stronger entities since the start of 2008, though the country still has more than 130 banks, making its financial industry the most fragmented in the Nordic region. The highest profile collapse during the financial crisis in Denmark was that of Roskilde Bank which the government seized in July 2008 after loan losses piled up.
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Europe scrambled for ways to prop up Greece's crumbling government finances Tuesday, restoring some stability to this unlikely keystone of the global financial system and sending markets higher around the world, The Washington Post reported. But the underlying economic problems facing Greece and some other European countries mean that radical cutbacks to government spending and more social pain are likely to follow as these countries move to avert a sovereign debt crisis, in which nations find themselves unable to pay on their obligations.
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Germany is considering a plan with its European Union partners to offer Greece and other troubled euro-zone members loan guarantees in an effort to calm fears of a government default and prevent a widening of the credit woes, people familiar with the matter said, The Wall Street Journal reported. EU leaders are expected to discuss the situation at summit in Brussels on Thursday.
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The European Union is in need of a new economic strategy, The Wall Street Journal reported. The veracity of that statement might seem indisputable, as various EU countries, led by Greece, struggle to avoid being crushed by their accumulated debts. But in the surreal bureaucratic thinking of the EU, the reason it needs a new economic strategy has as much to do with the fact that its previous one is nearing its expiry date as any desperate need to deal with the current crisis. In March 2000, the EU set out its strategy for the next decade. It wasn't unambitious.
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General Motors Europe on Tuesday finally announced the details of its plan to restructure German car-maker Opel. In addition to thousands of job cuts, GM wants €2.7 billion from European governments. Opposition to the plan is building in Germany, Spiegel Online reported. GM is asking for €2.7 billion ($3.7 billion) in loans or loan guarantees from countries where Opel factories are located. Germany would be responsible for coming up with €1.5 billion of that amount, with half coming from the federal government in Berlin and the remaining amount being coughed up by the German states concerned.
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Bank of Scotland Ireland is to cut 750 jobs from its Irish workforce of 1,600, with most of the redundancies due to take effect by July. The bank plans to close down the retail network which it operates under the Halifax brand. But it is expected that 850 jobs will remain in the corporate and commercial banking sections, Finfacts reported. The bank which operates 44 retail branches in Ireland under the Halifax brand, unexpectedly announced its decision to staff this afternoon.
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Adam Opel, the European unit of General Motors, announced an ambitious turnaround plan Tuesday, vowing to become profitable in 2012 by cutting capacity by 20 percent and reducing its work force by 8,300, while introducing a raft of new models, including the battery-powered Ampera, The New York Times reported. But the chief executive of Opel, Nick Reilly said Tuesday that the plan was contingent on €2.7 billion ($3.7 billion) in loans or loan guarantees from European governments, as well as luring car buyers back to the Opel and Vauxhall brands.
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The problems facing Greece are just the beginning, Spiegel Online reported. The countries belonging to Europe's common currency zone are drifting further and further apart, and national bankruptcies are a distinct possibility. Brussels is faced with a number of choices, none of them good. Accruing debt is becoming increasingly expensive for other countries in the euro zone as well, among them Portugal and Spain. The southern members of the euro zone are especially being eyed with mistrust.
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Greece's government was tackling the thorny issue of pension and wage reform Tuesday, part of its plan to fight a debt crisis that has alarmed global markets, even as strikes were being planned nationwide, The Wall Street Journal reported. Prime Minister George Papandreou's center-left government is accelerating austerity measures meant to calm markets and European Union partners, who have urged Athens to swiftly deal with the crisis. Mr.
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Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank president, is returning early from a conference in Australia to take part in a summit meeting of European leaders this week, amid speculation over possible action to ease the debt crisis several countries are facing, The New York Times reported. Mr. Trichet will attend the meeting Thursday of the European Council called by Herman Van Rompuy, the bloc’s first full-time president, an E.C.B. spokesman said Tuesday. He said Mr. Trichet was only invited to the meeting on Monday. The E.C.B.
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