As promised in today’s class, here are possible translations of the texts you did for your DM. Remember these are only suggestions, and there is an almost infinite number of other ways you could translate the texts which would be equally good - or better!
European traders’ bonuses cut down to size
Le Monde, Monday 4 March 2013
Don’t give up on Europe just yet. Shaken by the crisis, suffocated by its members’ piles of debt, strangled by recession, challenged by public opinion – even rejected by protest votes here and there – forced to reduce its budget to the lowest common denominator of national selfishness, it is still moving forwards.
After months of difficult talks, the agreement reached in Brussels on 28 February about capping bank bonuses is encouraging news. Negotiated by the European Parliament and the Irish Presidency of the Union, the text provides that bonuses handed out to the ill-famed traders in their counting-houses shall be no higher than the amount of their basic annual salary. In order to keep London and its financial market sweet, the ceiling can nonetheless be raised (under certain conditions) up to double the salary. The agreement now only needs a majority vote by EU Finance Ministers at their meeting on 5 March to be approved.
Let’s not be naïve. Banks are going to be just as fertile in their creativity in this area as they are in others. They are sure to think up legal loopholes which will let them get round the new rule. But in this case, despite all the ridicule it gets for its abstruse regulations, Europe is doing something positive.
CRISIS Fears of a national financial collapse increase
CYPRUS GIVES EUROZONE THE SHIVERS
Mathieu Bruckmüller, 20 Minutes, Thursday 21 March 2013
There’s a new storm in the European sky. Worries are growing about the future of Cyprus – on the brink of bankruptcy – while on Tuesday MPs refused to agree to a levy on savings (6.75% on deposits below €100,000 and 9.9% above that) which could have brought in €5.8bn.
In exchange the European Union and the International Monetary Fund would have advanced €10bn. Paris joined the assault on Wednesday, accusing Nicosia of having set off a wave of panic across Europe by deciding (against the French government’s advice) to tax the island’s small savers. It’s hard to explain how Europe can guarantee deposits up to €100,000 when banks go bust, but that they can still be taxed. The levy planned in Cyprus signals a break with the practice which consists in not making savers bear state bailout costs directly. To avoid Cypriots withdrawing all their assets in a panic, banks are supposed to stay shut until Monday – as they wait for MPs to vote on a plan B.
Russia to the rescue?
The idea put forward by the Europeans would be to tax deposits above €100,000, but that would deal a blow to Russian assets, mainly from money-laundering. These deposits are thought to exceed €20bn, a third of total deposits in Cyprus. To avoid this, Russian giant Gazprom is said to have offered Cyprus financial aid in exchange for natural gas production licences off the island’s south coast.
So as a tax haven Cyprus is up against it. “For now the country has been taking advantage of eurozone protection whilst still having an important role in recycling Russian capital flow. The question now is whether or not those two options are still compatible,” is how Philippe Waechter of Natixis Asset Management analyses the situation.