EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
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Jul 17, 2014

Don’t risk market confidence by bending budget rules: EU economy czar

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone countries must beware of bending budget rules in the quest for economic growth, the EU’s new economics czar said on Thursday, suggesting some proposals from France and Italy sought too much leeway.

Former Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, to be formally confirmed by the European Parliament later on Thursday as economic and monetary affairs commissioner until November, told Reuters that tumbling government borrowing costs could spike again if investors felt structural reforms were faltering or fiscal discipline was fading.

Jul 17, 2014

EU leaders fail to agree on top jobs, to decide end-August

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders failed to agree at a summit on Wednesday on sharing out a package of top jobs in the 28-nation bloc, including a new foreign policy chief, and postponed the decision until late August.

The talks foundered over opposition to Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini’s candidacy for the foreign policy role and demands by central and east European leaders that the job should go to someone from their region, diplomats said.

Jul 16, 2014

EU leaders fail to agree on top jobs, to try again end August

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders failed to agree at a summit on Wednesday on sharing out a package of top jobs in the bloc, including a new foreign policy chief, and postponed the decision until late August, diplomats said.

The talks foundered over opposition to Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini’s candidacy for the foreign policy role and demands by central and east European leaders that the job should go to someone from their region, the diplomats said.

Jun 27, 2014

EU leaders signal shift from austerity of euro crisis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In the latest shift away from the austerity of the euro zone crisis, European Union leaders signaled at a summit that they were ready to give member states extra time to consolidate their budgets as long as they pressed ahead with economic reforms.

Under pressure from Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the leaders adopted a text which pledged to make “best use” of the flexibility built into the bloc’s fiscal rule book – the so-called Stability and Growth Pact.

Jun 27, 2014

EU leaders link slower fiscal consolidation to reforms

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders agreed on Friday that growth-boosting structural reforms should be rewarded with more time to improve public finances under existing EU budget rules in response to pressure from Italy to shift emphasis from austerity to growth.

After four years of a sovereign debt crisis, when reducing deficits was key for the euro zone to regain market confidence, the biggest headaches for most governments now are record high unemployment, moribund growth and high debt.

Jun 27, 2014

Euro zone economic sentiment slumps in June

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone economic sentiment fell unexpectedly in June on fears that fighting in Iraq would push up oil prices and that any escalation of the Ukraine crisis could drag on euro zone growth.

The European Commission’s economic sentiment index (ESI) for the 18 countries that share the euro fell to 102.0 from a revised 102.6 in May. Economists had forecast a rise to 103.0.

Jun 26, 2014

EU leaders agree to apply fiscal rules as flexibly as possible -draft

KORTRIJK, Belgium, June 26 (Reuters) – European Union
leaders will agree on Friday to apply EU fiscal rules as
flexibly as possible to support economic growth, taking
structural reforms into account when assessing budget
discipline, draft summit conclusions showed.

The agreement marks a success for Italian Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi, who has been pushing for a more lenient
interpretation of the bloc’s budget rules since he took office
in February.

Jun 18, 2014

Cameron looking increasingly isolated in EU battle

BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron looked increasingly isolated on Wednesday in his drive to prevent Jean-Claude Juncker becoming head of the European Commission, with potential allies softening their opposition.

Cameron said on Tuesday he would “fight right to the end” against the principle of giving the most powerful job in the EU to the candidate of the strongest party in last month’s European Parliament elections.

Jun 13, 2014

EU, Russia, Ukraine agree to discuss Kiev’s EU trade deal

BRUSSELS, June 13 (Reuters) – The European Union and Russia
agreed on Friday to hold high level talks, including Ukraine, on
Kiev’s expected signing of an EU free trade agreement after
Moscow warned last week it would retaliate with measures to
protect its economy.

Ukraine’s government is set to sign the free trade agreement
with the European Union on June 27, over the objections of
Russia, which fears the agreement will be harmful for its own
economy.

Jun 13, 2014

Factbox: Juncker aside, who else might become Commission president?

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU leaders will meet on June 26-27 to discuss who they should nominate as the next president of the European Commission. Whoever they choose must then be approved by a majority in the 751-seat European Parliament.

The front-runner is Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg, who is the candidate of Europe’s largest center-right political group, the EPP, which came first in elections to the European Parliament last month.

    • About Jan

      "Based in Brussels since 2005, I cover economic policy news from the European Commission, EU and euro zone economic data, monthly meetings of EU/euro zone finance ministers as well as G7/8/20 meetings. Before Brussels I was a correspondent in Stockholm for five years, covering technology stocks and the Swedish central bank. I was earlier a correspondent in Poland for seven years, covering macroeconomic policy, bond, forex and money markets, the central bank and politics."
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