The eurozone crisis may seem endless, but even those trying to plot a course through it need a break. European leaders seeking to get away from the endless summits, discussions and disagreements are heading on their holidays, although some aren’t going too far.
Here’s a look at how and where some of them will be cooling their heels:
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is spending his vacation in Sanxenxo, Galicia – his birthplace. Rajoy has never missed any of his holidays in the past and this year is no exception. However, a military jet is stationed to fly him back to Madrid should an economic emergency arise. Rajoy has faced immense criticism for his poor management of the euro crisis ever since he came to power six months ago. While vacationing at his holiday home, he might just be struggling to accept the possibility of asking the European Union for a complete bailout for Spain.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel kicked off her vacation with the Wagner opera festival in Bayreuth, after which she goes off hiking with her husband in the Italian mountain village of Sulden. Usually, Merkel calls a press conference to answer any questions before she takes off on holiday but this year she has decided not to. Although perceived as a strict stalwart of austerity, Merkel is facing growing criticism from German taxpayers doubtful that she’s really acting in their interest. Merkel is running for the federal elections again in 2013 and hopes to claim a clear victory.
French President Francois Hollande is setting an example for other European leaders by taking a very low-key break with his partner on France’s warm Mediterranean coast, close to his presidential residence of Bregancon Fort. France’s past leaders, such as Nicolas Sarkozy, have always vacationed in style by travelling to exotic destinations in private jets and living in mansions. But Hollande opted to take the high-speed train from Paris, keeping to the promise he made during his presidential campaign to forego private jets in favour of trains.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron may not have much of a vacation after all. As the country celebrates its achievements at the Olympic Games, Cameron is showing his support by attending as many sporting events as possible. But the Prime Minister is struggling to contain rifts in his ruling coalition after almost a third of his lawmakers voted against him over House of Lords reform last month. A statement from the travel website, TravelMole, said Cameron and his deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, had been planning foreign vacations despite urging Britons to vacation at home this year.
Prime Minister Mario Monti has taken just six days off to relax at his wife’s house in Solcio di Lesa, not too far from Rome and from the government headquarters. Two days ago, Monti warned of a potential breakup of Europe. He said the disgareements between the European leaders are taking away from finding an effective solution to the debt crisis, which is undermining the future of the European Union.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho headed for a two week break in the southern Algarve region after having reportedly ordered his ministers to have low-key vacations on Portuguese soil. Portugal was the third country after Greece and Ireland to receive a eurozone bailout but could run into problems receiving further emergency funds if it does not meet targets for deficit reduction.
The situation in Greece is so bad that prime minister Antonis Samaras has decided there will be no time off for him and the members of his cabinet. “No one is going away on holiday, and the prime minister has underlined this,” said government spokesman, Simon Kedikoglou, on Greek television last month. The ministers have been ordered not only to work throughout the summer but to also report at their offices very early in the morning everyday.