By George Hay
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
After European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi managed to mend fences and get his colleagues to sign up to his 1 trillion euros or so target to push into the ailing euro zone economy, Paris hosts its version of the Jackson Hole central bankers meeting.
Europe is at a make or break moment. Two very different events on Sunday, occurring at opposite ends of Europe, will largely determine the entire continent’s direction for years ahead: the parliamentary election in Ukraine and the bank “stress tests” and Asset Quality Review conducted by the European Central Bank. Before explaining the significance of these two events, and their unexpected linkage, I need to mention a third announcement, due next Wednesday: the European Commission’s verdict on the budget for 2015 submitted last week by the French government.
What’s spooking the markets?
One thing we can say for sure is that it is not the slightly weaker-than-expected retail sales that triggered the mayhem on Wall Street on Wednesday morning. Most U.S. economic data have actually been quite strong in the month since Wall Street peaked on Sept. 19.