EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
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Mar 26, 2015

Migrant job-seekers can be denied benefits, EU lawyer says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union nations can deny benefits to EU migrants unless they have previously worked in their host country, the EU’s top lawyer said on Thursday, in a case brought by Germany and keenly watched in Britain.

Even actively seeking work is not enough of a justification to claim benefits at the same time, European Court of Justice Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said.

Mar 25, 2015

Greece fails in bid for early cash release, reforms awaited

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece failed in a bid on Wednesday to secure a quick cash payment from the euro zone rescue fund to help stave off potential bankruptcy next month, raising pressure on Athens to deliver a convincing reform program within days.

Athens had appealed for the European Financial Stability Facility to return 1.2 billion euros ($1.32 billion) it said it had overpaid when it transferred bonds intended for bank recapitalization back to the Luxembourg-based fund this month.

Mar 25, 2015

Greece not entitled to 1.2 bln euros from bank recap -EFSF

BRUSSELS, March 25 (Reuters) – Euro zone officials agreed on
Wednesday that Greece had no legal claim to 1.2 billion euros
linked to a scheme for recapitalising banks, dashing Athens’
hopes for what it calls a refund that would give the government
a quick financial shot in the arm.

But the officials, who form the board of the euro zone
bailout fund EFSF and, at the same time, the Eurogroup Working
Group (EWG) that serves euro zone finance ministers, said they
would consider further how to deal with the issue in the future.

Mar 24, 2015

Euro zone bailout fund to analyze 1.2 billion euro refund to Greece

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s bailout fund will discuss on Wednesday the possibility of returning to Greece 1.2 billion euros in bank recapitalization funds, euro zone officials said.

If the board of directors of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) approves the transfer, it would be a welcome financial shot in the arm for the Greek government, which is quickly running out of cash.

Mar 23, 2015

Hard for Greece to avoid privatization, pension reform: EU officials

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece can choose its own reforms to unblock the flow of loans from international creditors and stave off bankruptcy, but it will have a hard time avoiding privatizations and a pension reform because of their budget impact, European officials said.

A new left-wing government and euro zone creditors agreed last week that Athens would present within days a list of its own reforms that must achieve similar fiscal results to the measures agreed by the previous conservative-led cabinet.

Mar 18, 2015

‘Varoufakis problem’ weighs on Greek debt talks

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – With incendiary interviews, an undiplomatic demeanor, a celebrity photo shoot and an obscene finger gesture, Yanis Varoufakis is becoming part of Greece’s debt problem rather than the solution, or so his euro zone partners believe.

Many Greeks regard their new finance minister as a breath of fresh air, a man who has told his colleagues in the Eurogroup a few home truths about the futility of forcing austerity policies on an economy that has endured a depression for five years.

Mar 14, 2015

EU executive warns of Grexit ‘catastrophe’, urges euro solidarity

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission warned of “catastrophe” if Greece has to abandon the euro and its chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged EU governments to show solidarity as Athens struggles to secure more credit.

A day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece might stumble out of the euro zone because new, left-wing leaders failed to negotiate new borrowings, Juncker’s economics commissioner said EU hardliners underestimated the risk that this would start a fatal domino collapse of the common currency.

Mar 13, 2015

EU’s Juncker pushes for deal with Greece

BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuters) – EU chief executive
Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
called on Friday for European governments to show solidarity
with Greece and resolve a credit crunch that risks dumping it
out of the euro zone.

Their comments, as the bloc’s German paymaster presses its
demands that Athens’ new leftist government honour commitments
to international creditors, highlighted Juncker’s concern over a
risk of grave damage to the EU, but may also fuel suspicion in
Berlin that the EU Commission could try to water down any deal.

Mar 11, 2015

France wins battle of Waterloo, as coin is tossed

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two hundred years after Napoleon’s ambitions to rule Europe died at Waterloo, France won a small battle on Wednesday to prevent the minting of a euro coin commemorating an event that shaped today’s continent.

Belgium withdrew a proposal to strike a special 2-euro piece in honor of the Anglo-Dutch-German victory outside Brussels on June 18, 1815, an EU official said, averting an EU ministerial vote after Paris objected on the grounds that glorifying a time of conflict ran counter to efforts to foster European unity.

Mar 11, 2015

EU leaders want to tackle Russian “disinformation” on Ukraine war

BRUSSELS, March 11 (Reuters) – European leaders will ask
their foreign policy chief next week to draw up a plan to
counter Russian “disinformation campaigns” over the conflict in
Ukraine, draft conclusions of an EU summit showed.

EU leaders, meeting on March 19-20, will give the High
Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini three
months — until their next summit in June — to work out how to
support media freedom and European values in Russia.

    • 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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