The eurozone debt crisis returned with a vengeance on Friday as Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency, downgraded France and Austria – two of the currency zone’s six triple A rated countries – as well as seven nations not in that top tier, among them Italy and Spain.
Olli Rehn, EU monetary affairs commissioner, called S&P’s decisions “inconsistent” and suggested they ignored the “decisive action” taken by the eurozone to commit to budget, structural and banking-sector reforms, and to a more powerful rescue fund.
In Frankfurt, the European Central Bank criticised the draft of a new fiscal discipline treaty for the euro area, saying that the latest version amounted to “a substantial watering-down” of tough deficit levels that could allow “easy circumvention of the [deficit] rule” by struggling governments.
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