The European Central Bank is holding its monthly meeting – an offsite gathering in Cyprus – and is about to commence its quantitative easing bond-buying programme.
Greece sent an economic reform plan to its EU and IMF creditors overnight, according to an EU source, and euro zone finance ministers will this morning see the list which is a condition for extending the country's bailout programme by four months.
Matteo Renzi’s position has been strengthened by Italy’s presidential election. The prime minister persuaded the electoral college, made up mainly of parliamentarians, to choose Sergio Mattarella – against the wishes of Silvio Berlusconi, the media magnate, former prime minister and up to now Renzi’s quasi-partner.
EU foreign ministers hold an extraordinary meeting today after their leaders have asked them to consider possible new sanctions on Russia. A final decision to impose them is likely to be left to their bosses who meet in next month and again in March.
Mario Draghi’s peerless track record of eliciting the market response he wants remains unblemished after the ECB’s quantitative easing surprised on the upside – at 60 billion euros a month for at least 19 months it will exceed 1 trillion euros.
The European Commission will unveil legislative proposals for its 315 billion euro investment plan and the findings of a public consultation on the investment elements of a planned EU-U.S. free trade deal which could significantly boost growth.
Matteo Renzi’s Plan A is to push through domestic reforms, hope the European Central Bank manages to get inflation ticking up, and keep his fingers crossed the Italian economy stops shrinking. But if this fails, a mega wealth tax, debt restructuring and/or exit from the euro beckons.