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S&P lowers EU long-term credit rating from AAA to AA+

Agency says Europe's creditworthiness has declined

20 December, 11:53
S&P lowers EU long-term credit rating from AAA to AA+ (ANSA) - Rome, December 20 - Rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) on Friday lowered the European Union's (EU) long-term credit rating by one notch, from a top grade of AAA down to AA+, with outlook stable. The EU's short- to medium-term credit rating remained unchanged at A-1+, with the outlook stable.

S&P explained the downgrade in a note, saying that the EU's 28 member countries' "overall credibility" concerning creditworthiness has weakened.

S&P added that the EU's financial picture has "deteriorated" and its cohesion has "loosened". S&P cited as contributing factors to the downgrade member countries' trouble reaching a common budget, the demands by some to reduce their EU contributions, and sovereign debt crises in several states. The threat of a credit rating downgrade has lingered over the EU for years, and was presaged by a "negative outlook" presented in January 2012.

Some EU members have seen their own credit ratings cut in recent months.