PositionEuropean Union. European Commission

Japan: Finance minister apprehensive over weak euro: Japan's finance minister voiced serious concerns, on 6 January, about the impact of the euro's decline against the yen as a result of Europe's debt crisis. He urged France and Germany to spearhead efforts to stem the crisis. "The euro's weakness could have a major impact on Japanese industries that export mainly to Europe," said Jun Azumi, as reported by the local press. The European single currency is currently worth less than JPY100, its lowest level in a decade, which reduces the value of eurozone sales by Japanese groups when converted into yen. According to the Japanese minister, the euro's decline is directly tied to the debt turmoil in several European states, which is impacting stock exchanges worldwide and the economy in general.

European Commission concerned about Belgium's 2012 budget: The European Commission has warned the new Belgian government headed by Elio Di Rupo that its projected budget deficit for 2012 is too optimistic, reported the Dutch-language daily De Morgen, on 6 January. Belgian Budget Minister Olivier Chastel confirmed that the government was holding discussions with the European Commission over the budget, but downplayed the alleged difference of views. Interviewed on public radio RTBF, Chastel explained: "The European Commissioner [for Economic Affairs, Olli Rehn] is awaiting our final version before announcing the Commission's position". "Things have to be kept in perspective. The Commission's letter to the government is not a formal document. As is always the case, this is an informal exchange. The Commission has not yet taken an official decision on the budget, an anonymous source close to the government told Belga press agency. The Belgian federal budget for 2012 projects economic growth of 0.8% and a deficit of 2.8% of GDP. The Union calculates that with growth of 0.8%, the Belgian deficit for 2012 will amount to 3.1% of GDP, or 0.1% over the authorised limit.

Recapitalisation: UniCredit warns that euro may be abandoned: UniCredit, Italy's leading bank, mentions in a capital increase prospectus the risk of the euro possibly being "abandoned" if the crisis grows worse, even though the bank's CEO considers that scenario "unrealistic". Under its customary policy of providing information to potential investors prior to a capital increase, UniCredit highlights the group's "risk factors" in a prospectus. "Concerns that the eurozone sovereign debt crisis could...

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