EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Correspondent
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Mar 31, 2015

Euro zone price fall slows as expected, deflation fears ease

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone consumer prices fell again in March, as expected, but the decline was the smallest this year, indicating the price of goods and services could start rising again soon.

Meanwhile, the region’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest in almost three years, a sign the economy is picking up steam and inflation is likely to rise.

Mar 29, 2015

Greek reform list yet to take shape as talks with lenders continue

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece and its international creditors continued talks through the weekend on reforms to unlock loans and Athens sounded an upbeat tone, but the lenders said it could take several more days before a proper list of measures was ready.

Greece will run out of money by April 20 if it does not secure funding from its European partners, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

Mar 28, 2015

Portugal pushes for closer euro zone integration

BRUSSELS, March 28 (Reuters) – Portugal has presented
proposals for closer economic coordination between the countries
of the euro zone as the bloc tries to put crises over Greece and
other big debtor states behind it.

EU ministers will study the Portuguese discussion paper,
entitled “The Missing Piece in the Economic and Monetary Union
Puzzle: Economic Policy Coordination”, ahead of a summit of
leaders in June at which they are expected to outline plans to
strengthen the single currency area over coming years.

Mar 27, 2015

Analysis – Neither Grexit, nor Grexident. Euro and “drachma” in parallel?

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece is unlikely to exit the euro, either intentionally or accidentally. But it might be forced to introduce an alternative means of payment, in parallel to the euro, to pay some domestic bills if a reform-for-cash deal with its creditors is not secured soon, several euro zone officials said.

Athens has lost access to bond markets and international creditors are not willing to lend it more money until it starts implementing reforms. An official familiar with the matter told Reuters this week that without fresh funds, the government will run out of money by April 20.

Mar 27, 2015

Neither Grexit, nor Grexident. Euro and ‘drachma’ in parallel?

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece is unlikely to exit the euro, either intentionally or accidentally. But it might be forced to introduce an alternative means of payment, in parallel to the euro, to pay some domestic bills if a reform-for-cash deal with its creditors is not secured soon, several euro zone officials said.

Athens has lost access to bond markets and international creditors are not willing to lend it more money until it starts implementing reforms. An official familiar with the matter told Reuters this week that without fresh funds, the government will run out of money by April 20.

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.

    • 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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