Eurozone: France loses its third triple-A: a threat for the eurozone?

15 July 2013 – Presseurop Les Echos, De Morgen

“France turns the page on the triple A,” writes financial daily Les Echos in response to Fitch agency’s announcement on July 12 that it was downgrading the country’s AAA credit rating to AA+. Fitch, which after Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s was the last major agency to maintain France at the highest level, said the downgrade came because of sustained high debt, the spike in unemployment levels and the absence of growth.

Since the downgrade is coupled with a stable forecast, Les Echos deems there is a “low probability” that French debt will be attacked by the markets. However, Belgian daily De Morgen says the “dark clouds over France” threaten to spread across the eurozone, and that “Europe is headed for a very hot autumn.” The daily notes that Standard & Poor’s just gave Italy a rap on the knuckles, and that the economies of Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Slovenia are all in poor shape:

The eurozone crisis is far from over, and another nerve-wracking battle looms in the autumn. On September 22, German voters will have the chance to settle their score with Angela Merkel’s European policy. As public opinion becomes less and less favourable towards aiding the Mediterranean countries of the eurozone, little improvement is foreseeable.

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