NEW YORK, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Rating agency Moody's Investors Service on Monday changed its outlook on the European Union's long- term debt ratings to negative from stable, sending a warning signal on a possible downgrade to the regional bloc's Aaa rating.
"The negative outlook on the EU's long-term ratings reflects the negative outlook on the Aaa ratings of the member states with large contributions to the EU budget: Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands, which together account for around 45 percent of the EU's budget revenue," the agency said in a statement.
Moody's has previously put all the four countries on negative outlook.
The agency said that the EU's rating would be particularly sensitive to any changes in the ratings of these four Aaa-level member states, indicating that if it downgrades these four countries, it may also cut the EU's rating.
The Moody's move came ahead of a widely-anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) meeting scheduled for Thursday, and is expected to add pressure to the ECB about its new plan to tackle Europe's debt crisis.
Merkel appeals for European solidarity, rejects "debt union"
BERLIN, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented a passionate appeal for solidarity among eurozone nations countries in a speech on Monday, rejecting the notion of a "debt union."
Addressing crowds at the ongoing Gillamoos folk festival in the southern German province of Bavaria, Merkel said countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain were going through a difficult period and "deserve our solidarity."
"We wish them to be able to overcome these difficulties," she said in her 30-minute speech to some 3,000 people in one of the beer tents at the festival. Full story
Negative indicators press Italy before crucial EU meetings
ROME, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- As the European Union stands at a crossroads for its future, negative economic indicators have continued pressing crisis-hit Italy.
National statistics institute Istat said the number of employed people aged below 35 has fallen by almost 20 percent over the last five years, while large companies have continued slashing the payroll.
According to consumer association Codacons, families returning from vacations now face rising prices in almost every sector, especially food. Full story