EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
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Jun 12, 2013

EU considering loan guarantees to boost lending to firms

BRUSSELS, June 12 (Reuters) – The European Union may
guarantee the repayment of bank loans made to companies in an
effort to improve firms’ access to credit, especially in
southern Europe, European Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso said on Wednesday.

Easier access to credit is critical to getting Europe’s
economy growing again, with even record-low interest rates
failing to translate into an increase in lending.

Jun 6, 2013

EU, IMF clash over ‘mistakes’ in handling Greek bailout

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission clashed with the International Monetary Fund on Thursday over their handling of the first Greek bailout, which the IMF said had pushed an extra burden on euro zone taxpayers by letting Athens delay restructuring its debts.

The Commission, together with the IMF and the European Central Bank, forms the so-called Troika that prepared financial assistance programs for Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus in the three years since the euro zone sovereign debt crisis started.

Jun 5, 2013

ESM to limit direct bank recap at 50-70 billion euros: document

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s ESM bailout fund is likely to set a cap on the amount of money it can use for direct bank recapitalization at between 50 and 70 billion euros, a euro zone document showed on Wednesday.

Euro zone leaders decided in June 2012 that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which has a lending capacity of 500 billion euros, should be able to directly recapitalize banks if a government is unable to raise sufficient funds on its own because market borrowing could endanger the sustainability of its public debt.

Jun 5, 2013

Euro zone GDP contraction slows in first quarter, April retail sales worse than forecast

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The pace of the euro zone’s economic contraction slowed quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year, EU statistics showed on Wednesday, but retail sales in April pointed to continued weakness in household demand.

The European Union’s statistics office confirmed its earlier estimates that gross domestic product in the 17 countries using the euro fell 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the January-March period, for a 1.1 percent year-on-year contraction.

Jun 5, 2013

Euro zone GDP contraction slows in Q1, April retail sales worse than forecast

BRUSSELS, June 5 (Reuters) – The pace of the euro zone’s
economic contraction slowed quarter-on-quarter in the first
three months of this year, EU statistics showed on Wednesday,
but retail sales in April pointed to continued weakness in
household demand.

The European Union’s statistics office confirmed its earlier
estimates that gross domestic product in the 17 countries using
the euro fell 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the
January-March period, for a 1.1 percent year-on-year
contraction.

Jun 3, 2013

Latvia to get green light for euro zone membership on Wednesday

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission will give Latvia on Wednesday the go-ahead to become the 18th member of the euro zone from the start of next year, European Union officials said on Monday.

The EU executive will publish a report on whether the small Baltic state meets all the criteria for membership of the single currency, which include low inflation and long-term interest rates, a stable exchange rate and low public debt and deficit.

May 31, 2013

Italy, back in EU budget good books, eyes small investment bonus

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Italy may get to deduct some investment spending from deficit calculations under guidelines drafted by the European Commission, but the deduction is likely to be smaller than Rome had hoped for.

The Commission asked EU finance ministers this week to release Italy from the EU’s budget blacklist, called the excessive deficit procedure (EDP), after the country brought down its shortfall to within the EU limits, despite a recession.

May 29, 2013

EU shifts policy focus in quest for growth

BRUSSELS, May 29 (Reuters) – After three years of deep
spending cuts, the European Union confirmed a shift in policy on
Wednesday, telling countries they must focus on structural
economic reforms to boost growth, while not abandoning budget
discipline.

In a long-flagged move reflecting growing frustration among
euro zone governments and voters over the hardships of
austerity, the European Commission announced that several
countries would have more time to meet deficit targets.

May 29, 2013

EU shifts focus to economic reforms in quest for growth

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone countries must focus on reforming their labor and services markets and can slow the pace of debt-cutting, the European Commission said on Wednesday, marking a shift away from austerity.

The change of emphasis comes as the euro zone struggles to escape a second consecutive year of recession and record high unemployment brought on by the collapse of investor confidence during three years of debt crisis.

May 27, 2013

EU to move spotlight from austerity to reforms on Wednesday

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission will further shift the EU’s policy focus from austerity to structural reforms to revive growth when it presents economic recommendations for each member state on Wednesday, officials said.

In its annual assessment as guardian of the EU’s budget rules, the Commission will say that while fiscal consolidation should continue, its pace can be slower now that a degree of investor confidence in the euro has been restored.

    • 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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