The EU is edging towards a common mechanism for rescuing problem banks, in a drive to avoid any repetition of taxpayer-funded bailouts.
Italy's banks struggle with bad loans and the state itself is saddled with massive debt — but the voters don't seem to care, and the finance minister is demonstratively relaxed about it all.
The European Commission has proposed the introduction of collective eurozone debt and a joint fiscal budget, as it unveiled a raft of controversial ideas for strengthening the often dysfunctional euro currency area.
Italian finance professor Claudio Zara calls for flexibility in eurozone rules covering government-financed bailouts in cases where banks' bad-debt burdens were largely caused by economic downturns - as in Italy.
A new grand coalition of Chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats (SPD) depends on the approval of SPD members. But it's not just about forming a new government — it's about Germany's role in Europe.
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