Berlusconi Defiant as EU’s Focus Shifts to Italy

"I am taking the day off today, and hereby decree that Nadia is Queen Bee for the day."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he alone can deliver the country’s promised deficit cuts as European leaders turn their attention to his government’s ability to help contain the debt crisis.
In an interview published in Corriere della Sera today, Berlusconi ruled out early elections and said the current legislature in Rome will last until 2013. He said the European Central Bank’s support will only be maintained if his government follows through on measures to rein in debt and promote growth.
“Only I and my government can achieve this reform program for 18 months, which is why there is no way for me to stand aside,” the Italian leader said in the interview.
The European Union’s latest package of measures failed to stem a rise in Italian borrowing costs, with an Oct. 28 bond sale sending yields to a euro-era record and denting the euphoria triggered after the EU summit. Group of 20 leaders will convene in Cannes, France, this week after an agreement to bolster Europe’s rescue fund to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion) and persuaded bondholders to incur 50 percent losses on Greek debt.
Days after the euro area’s 14th crisis summit in 21 months sent the euro to its biggest one-day gain in more than a year, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned against inflated expectations, saying more such meetings are to come. He repeated a warning to Italy to execute reform measures.

Readiness for Reform

Long list of dangers ahead for global economy

(Reuters) - Europe's long shadow is tempering a burst of optimism that the United States can escape recession and China achieve a soft landing.

Deep concern persists that European leaders will fall short when they try to flesh out the details of how their rescue fund can tap sufficient resources to backstop Greece and to handle a potential government financing crisis in Italy or Spain.

Europe is looking to emerging economies to provide the extra financial firepower to strengthen the fund four- to five-fold, to about 1 trillion euros, a promise that could materialize at a Group of 20 summit in France on Thursday and Friday.

The response so far from China on strengthening the fund has been very cautious, and market experts want to see a fund with resources twice the size under discussion in Brussels. That has set the stage for possible unsettling disappointment in the days ahead.

"If the absolute amount is not enough, we will be back to the storms. The break in the clouds may only last a few hours," said Ellen Zentner, senior U.S. economist at UBS.

Australian court ends lockout, strikes at Qantas, airline expects to resume flights quickly

DALLAS — Qantas Airways was expected to resume flying Monday after an Australian court intervened in a labor dispute that led the airline to ground its entire fleet over the weekend.
By the time the labor-relations court acted, several hundred flights had been canceled and tens of thousands of passengers stranded around the world.
Some airline industry experts say Qantas’ surprise grounding of its entire fleet Saturday could cause many travelers to book future trips on other airlines.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he had no choice but to order the lockout of union workers and end months of rolling strikes that led to canceled flights, $70 million in losses and a collapse in future bookings.
Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that he expected some flights to resume by mid-afternoon Monday. It was unclear how long it would take for the airline to resume a full schedule. The airline had estimated that it would lose $20 million a day during the lockout.