EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
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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.

May 27, 2013

EU exec to move spotlight from austerity to reforms on Wed

BRUSSELS, May 27 (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.

May 14, 2013

ECB clashes with Germany over euro zone bank resolution

BRUSSELS, May 14 (Reuters) – The European Central Bank
clashed with Germany on Tuesday over how quickly the euro zone
should set up a full banking union, calling for it to be ready
by mid-2014 after Berlin declared it wanted a slower pace.

European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels on
Tuesday are due to discuss plans for the banking union, which
could help the currency bloc deal with failing banks.

May 3, 2013

France to get more time to cut deficit as euro zone recession bites

BRUSSELS, May 3 (Reuters) – France will get two more years
to meet its budget deficit target because of the country’s poor
economic outlook within a recession-hit euro zone, the European
Commission said on Friday.

Presenting economic forecasts for the next two years, Olli
Rehn, the European monetary affairs commissioner, also confirmed
earlier statements that Spain would get the same leeway.

May 3, 2013

EU sees deeper euro zone recession in 2013, slower deficit cuts

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone economy will contract by more than expected this year and budget deficits will decline more slowly, the European Commission said on Friday as it set out forecasts for the next two years.

France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands – four of the five largest euro zone economies – will be in recession through 2013, the Commission’s forecasts showed, with only Germany, the largest euro zone economy, managing to eke out growth.

    • 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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