The Staggers 14 January 2012 Eurozone crisis: ratings agency downgrades nine countries Standard & Poor's deals heavy blow to French economy by removing AAA credit rating. Sign UpGet the New Statesman\'s Morning Call email. Sign-up Fiscal austerity alone will not solve the Eurozone crisis, according to rating agency Standard & Poor's, which carried out a mass downgrading on Friday night. France lost its AAA rating -- the highest possible -- and moved to AA+, as did Austria, while Portugal and Cyprus were downgraded to junk status. Italy, Spain, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia also saw their ratings cut. S&P said that its decision reflected the fact that austerity "risks becoming self-defeating". Markets fell on the news, with the FTSE closing 26 points down at 5636. Britain still has a triple-A rating from Standard & Poor's, which has caused some adverse comment by Eurozone politicians. Michael Fuchs, deputy leader of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat party, said: "Standard and Poor's must stop playing politics. Why doesn't it act on the highly indebted United States or highly indebted Britain?" The decision will cause a headache for French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is running for re-election this year. Today's Libération had some fun at his expense (click here for their front page). Yesterday's Guardian live blog provides a helpful summary of all the major developments, while Samira Shackle blogged in December about S&P's threat to downgrade all 15 eurozone countries, and why that matters. › Laurie Penny on New Girl: not so much a sitcom, more a new front in the war on twee Helen Lewis is a former deputy editor of the New Statesman, who is now a staff writer on the Atlantic. She is the author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights (Jonathan Cape). Subscribe To stay on top of global affairs and enjoy even more international coverage subscribe for just £1 per month!