iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Life on the eurozone gravy train

Play now 18 mins

Life on the eurozone gravy train

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 22 June 2012

It has all the elements of a paperback thriller. The lead character is a flamboyant billionaire property entrepreneur reckoned to own one per cent of Britain's property freeholds. He's arrested in a series of dramatic dawn raids in London and the Icelandic capital Reykjavik and is accused of fraudulently obtaining a 154 million dollar loan from an Icelandic Bank - a bank which subsequently went bust taking with it tens of millions of dollars of depositors' money.

Then, eighteen months later the case is spectacularly withdrawn, all charges dropped.

But - as no doubt you have already guessed - this is not fiction. The entrepreneur in question is Vincent Tchenguiz, the bankrupt Icelandic bank, Kaupthing.

Mr Tchenguiz talks to the BBC's Evan Davis after the charges were dropped earlier this week.

Plus: European leaders may be short of solutions to the eurozone crisis but they are certainly not short of meetings about solutions.

The Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, is holding talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the French president François Hollande, and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy today. Next week there is another summit of all the eurozone leaders.

In fact these meeting seem to have become an almost weekly ritual. Yet all too often the latest compromise unravels within hours in the face of market scepticism.

All of which got the Business Daily team wondering.... what does this endless round of meetings feel like from the inside? Do Europe's leaders believe they are making useful progress when they get together?

Guy Verhofstadt should know. As Prime Minister of Belgium he spent nine years in and out of European meetings. He's now a member of the European Parliament and gave Justin Rowlatt the inside track on these top flight chinwags.

And, while the dignitaries talk in their polished conference rooms, many ordinary Europeans have begun to seek a future outside the eurozone.

Giorgos Christides writes to us from Greece's second city, Thessaloniki. He worries that, as the situation in the eurozone worsens, more and more Greeks are seeking a better life elsewhere, and much of Greece's intellectual heritage is being lost in the process.


Free download

  1. Image for BBC Business Daily

    BBC Business Daily

    Examining the big issues facing the global economy, Business Daily demystifies the world of money.…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss