EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
Jan's Feed
Feb 6, 2015

Isolated Greece rejects bailout extension

ATHENS/BRUSSELS, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Greece’s new leftist-led
government, isolated in the euro zone and under pressure from
the European Central Bank, vowed on Friday not to accept any
deal in crunch talks next week that keeps its current
international bailout programme in place.

Instead, a government official said Finance Minister Yanis
Varoufakis would ask for a “bridge agreement” to keep state
finances running until Athens can present a new debt and reform
programme.

Feb 6, 2015

Greece isolated in euro zone, ministers to meet Feb. 11

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece’s new government was isolated at its first meeting with senior euro zone officials but will have a chance to put forward its plans at a special meeting of finance ministers of the currency bloc next week, EU officials said on Friday.

Eurogroup finance ministers will discuss how to proceed with financial support for Athens at a special session next Wednesday in preparation for talks among European Union leaders on the issue the following day.

Feb 5, 2015

EU executive sees French deficit little improved, calls for more

BRUSSELS, Feb 5 (Reuters) – France’s budget deficit this
year will be far above the EU limit and will not move in 2016
unless policies change, the European Commission forecast on
Thursday, stepping up pressure on Paris to act before an
evaluation later this month.

The Commission, which is the guardian of EU laws, said it
expected the French deficit to narrow only to 4.1 percent of GDP
this year from 4.3 percent last year, and stay at 4.1 percent in
2016 despite faster economic growth.

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.

    • 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."
    • Follow Jan