By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
German inflation figures for December will presage the euro zone number on Wednesday, together offering one of the final pieces of the jigsaw for the European Central Bank before its late January policy meeting at which it could commence a quantitative easing government bond-buying programme.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pushed the envelope as far as he could last week, saying a review early next year would decide whether money-printing to buy government bonds was needed. He said he didn’t need unanimity within the ECB to force it through.
Italy's lower house approved Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's tax-cutting 2015 budget on Sunday. It will now move on to the Senate, where it must be passed by the end of the year. The budget is at the centre of a tussle with the European Commission, which says it does not do enough to reduce the country's huge public debt.