Morning Brief: Deadline approaches in Egypt; Bolivian government protests actions by France, Portugal and Italy
Today promises to be a day of momentous events as a deadline approaches for the government in Egypt to either fight of flee. The military has given the government of Mohammed Morsi until 16:30 (9:30 EDT) to find a solution to the current crisis.
Yesterday the governments of France, Portugal and Italy refused to allow a plane carrying the president of Bolivia from entering its air space. The reason was the belief that Edward Snowden, the former technical contractor for the National Security Agency who leaked top-secret US and British government mass surveillance programs to the press, was on the plane. The action called into question whether western governments would recognize the granting of asylum by other nations, and whether these countries were now simply doing the bidding of the U.S. government. The fallout from the incident promises to be enormous.
As if relations with South American countries isn’t tanking to begin with…
But despite the big implications of the actions of European nations, the French press is pretty much ignoring the story due to the dismissal this morning of Delphine Batho, France’s Environment Minister, after she criticized budget cuts to her department being made by President Francois Hollande.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese government teeters on the edge following the resignation of Foreign Minister Paulo Portas. Yesterday the Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar resigned. Now reports are saying that Agriculture Minister Assuncao Cristas and Social Security Minister Pedro Mota Soares will resign, as well.
“One thing is certain, the prime minister is going to do everything to stay on, giving all possible concessions to Portas,” said political scientist Antonio Costa Pinto to Reuters. “Failing that, however, we can hardly avoid an early election.”
The issue in Portugal, of course, is the strict austerity measures implemented by the ruling party to comply with EU and IMF bailout requirements.
Businessweek: Portugal’s Coalition Splinters on Austerity Fatigue