EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
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Feb 5, 2015

Euro zone growth prospects brighten slightly – EU Commission

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s economic prospects are brighter now than they were three months ago thanks to cheaper oil, a weaker euro and the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The EU executive arm raised its forecasts for gross domestic product (GDP) expansion in the 19 countries sharing the euro to 1.3 percent this year from the 1.1 percent seen in November and to 1.9 percent in 2016 from an earlier 1.7 percent.

Feb 5, 2015

Greece needs bailout extension to negotiate reforms: EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece can choose how to make its public finances healthy and its economy grow, but it must extend its bailout program by a few months to gain time to negotiate those steps, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said.

Greece’s bailout from the euro zone runs out at the end of February. Unless it is formally extended, Athens will not receive a final aid tranche of 1.8 billion euros or be eligible to seek a further easing of euro zone loan conditions.

Feb 4, 2015

ECB cancels soft treatment of Greek debt in warning to Athens

FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The European Central
Bank abruptly cancelled its acceptance of Greek bonds in return
for funding on Wednesday, shifting the burden onto Athens’
central bank to finance its lenders and isolating Greece unless
it strikes a new reform deal.

The move, which means the Greek central bank will have to
provide its banks with tens of billions of euros of additional
emergency liquidity in the coming weeks, was a response to what
many in Frankfurt see as the Greek government’s abandoning of
its aid-for-reform programme.

Feb 4, 2015

Greece seeks ECB funds, Germany rejects austerity roll-back

FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Greece’s new leftist
government appealed to the European Central Bank on Wednesday to
keep its banks afloat as it seeks to negotiate debt relief with
its euro zone partners, but Germany rejected any roll-back of
agreed austerity policies.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said after meeting ECB
President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt he believed Athens could
count on central bank support during the short period it would
take to conclude talks with international lenders.

Feb 4, 2015

Greece seeks ECB bridging funds, vows to respect EU rules

FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece’s new leftist government appealed to the European Central Bank on Wednesday to keep its banks afloat and vowed to respect European Union rules as it seeks a negotiated solution with euro zone partners to reduce its debt burden.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said after meeting ECB President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt he believed Athens could count on central bank support during the short period it would take to conclude talks with international lenders.

Feb 3, 2015

Greek debt swap plan gets cool euro zone reception

BRUSSELS, Feb 3 (Reuters) – A Greek proposal to swap
government debt for bonds with interest payments linked to
economic growth got a sceptical reception from euro zone
officials on Tuesday.

Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, on Monday
floated the idea that Greek bonds held by the European Central
Bank and part of the debt owed to euro zone governments — 53
billion euros of bilateral loans — could be swapped for either
growth-linked, or perpetual bonds.

Jan 28, 2015

EU considers capital markets curbs among new Russia sanctions

BRUSSELS, Jan 28 (Reuters) – New European Union sanctions
against Russia could include further capital markets
restrictions, making it harder for Russian companies to
refinance themselves and possibly affecting Russian sovereign
bonds, EU officials said on Wednesday.

The EU could also move to further restrict Russia’s access
to advanced technology for its oil and gas industries.

Jan 28, 2015

Exclusive: EU mulls capital markets restrictions among new Russia sanctions

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – New European Union sanctions against Russia could include further capital markets restrictions, making it harder for Russian companies to refinance themselves and possibly affecting Russian sovereign bonds and access to advanced technology for the oil and gas sectors, EU officials said on Wednesday.

EU foreign ministers are set to ask the executive European Commission on Thursday to prepare a new round of sanctions over Moscow’s role in eastern Ukraine, however officials said the measures may not be adopted by EU leaders until late March.

Jan 28, 2015

EU mulls capital markets restrictions among new Russia sanctions

BRUSSELS, Jan 28 (Reuters) – New European Union sanctions
against Russia could include further capital markets
restrictions, making it harder for Russian companies to
refinance themselves and possibly affecting Russian sovereign
bonds and access to advanced technology for the oil and gas
sectors, EU officials said on Wednesday.

EU foreign ministers are set to ask the executive European
Commission on Thursday to prepare a new round of sanctions over
Moscow’s role in eastern Ukraine, however officials said the
measures may not be adopted by EU leaders until late March.

Jan 27, 2015

EU leaders likely to decide on new Russia sanctions

BRUSSELS, Jan 27 (Reuters) – European Union leaders asked
their foreign ministers on Tuesday to consider possible new
sanctions on Russia in response to a rebel offensive in eastern
Ukraine, but a final decision to impose them is likely to be
left to a summit next month.

Foreign ministers have called an extraordinary meeting for
Thursday after Kiev said 30 civilians were killed in shelling of
the government-held port of Mariupol by pro-Russian rebels on
Saturday, shattering a five-month ceasefire.

    • 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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