Europe’s political tremors risk spoiling the region’s market calm, with corruption allegations buffeting Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi narrowing the front-runner’s lead as elections loom.
Rajoy, facing opposition calls to resign amid contested reports about illegal payments, traveled to Berlin today as euro-area leaders schedule a flurry of meetings this week ahead of a Feb. 7-8 European Union summit. Last week’s nationalization of the Netherlands’ fourth-largest bank and a 2.17 billion-euro ($3 billion) loss at Deutsche Bank AG underscore the fragile economic health in the region.
“The euro crisis is not over,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Feb. 1 at the Munich Security Conference where fellow panelists included Deutsche Bank co-Chief Executive Officer Anshu Jain. Still, “we’re in a much better position than we were a year ago,” the minister said.