The week at a glance...Europe
Brussels The euro after Greece: European Union finance ministers are preparing contingency plans for how their countries would handle a Greek exit from the euro, Reuters reported this week. That scenario is looking more likely because of a standoff within the EU over whether and how to help Greece. New French President François Hollande, backed by Spanish and Italian leaders, strongly favors issuing new, Europe-wide bonds, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists that the euro countries form a tighter fiscal union first. Lucas Papademos, caretaker prime minister of Greece until last month’s elections resulted in a fragmented parliament, said that if Greece left the euro, the consequences for his country and the rest of the EU would be “profound” and “catastrophic.”
Belgrade, Serbia Milosevic ally wins: A nationalist former ally of Slobodan Milosevic was elected president of Serbia this week, a result that could dim the country’s long-harbored hopes of joining the European Union. Tomislav Nikolic, an ex–funeral director, once said Serbia should become a Russian province, and he opposed subjecting Milosevic and other Serbs accused of war crimes to international justice. He now says he has abandoned anti-Western views. “Serbia will not stray from its European road,” he said. Serbian analysts said Nikolic’s victory reflected general frustration with the economic downturn, which has spawned an unemployment rate of 24 percent, and with government corruption under his predecessor, Boris Tadic.