Stock markets in Europe and Asia are responding positively this morning to news that European leaders have come to an agreement on how to (painfully) solve the region's ongoing debt crisis.
While the European Union officials stayed up until 4 a.m. on Thursday to hammer out the terms of the deal in a marathon summit, tensions flared in Rome, as two lawmakers exchanged blows on the floor of Parliament over their own economic reforms.
A key component of the debt deal involved convincing private investors to voluntarily take a 50 percent loss on Greek bonds. The alternative to this "haircut" might have been a default on all the debt that could have turned countries like Italy and Spain into so many falling dominoes. The goal is to reduce Greece's debt to 120 percent of its GDP in ten years.
In addition, Europe will increase the size of its own bailout fund and get private banks to raise more money to stabilize their holdings. It also hinged on commitments from other Eurozone countries (especially Italy) to continue with more austerity reforms and keep their own debt in line.
Meanwhile in Rome, their parliament debated a controversial pension reform. Things reportedly got personal after one of the members made unflatteringly comments about the wife of a party leader who took an early retirement at age 39. That's just Italy being Italy, we guess.
It remains to be seen if the plan can be enacted without more hiccups, or if will actually put the region's financial situation back in order. These aggressive austerity measure have not helped countries like Spain and Greece get back on track, but the deal should avoid a financial meltdown (for now) and shows that when push comes to shove — literally, in Italy's case — these crazy kids can actually agree on something.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.