Rating agency Moody’s has warned it may cut the coveted triple-A ratings of the United Kingdom, France and Austria.
At the same time it downgraded Italy, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta.
France and Austria are still smarting from last month’s assessment by Standard and Poor’s which went ahead and docked their triple-As.
The news is not good for President Nicolas Sarkozy in this a French presidential year.
In London, Finance Minister George Osborne called Moody’s decision to put the UK’s economy on negative outlook “a reality check”.
The ratings agency claims its actions are based on continued policy uncertainty in Europe, along with the prospect of extremely weak, possible negative economic growth.