Deputy Bureau Chief, Brussels
Jan's Feed
May 29, 2015

Some blame EU Commission for Greek obstinacy in debt talks

BRUSSELS, May 29 (Reuters) – Damned if you do, damned if you
don’t. Some euro zone countries are accusing the European
Commission of giving Greece false hope of new loans for less
reform effort, but they still want Brussels to find a way to
keep a defiant Athens in the euro.

After four months of talks with scant progress, hawkish
governments privately blame Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker and Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici for muddying
their message by playing “good cop”.

May 27, 2015

Belgian flights halted after air traffic power fault

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Flights in and out of Belgian airports were halted on Wednesday due to a technical problem at domestic air traffic controller Belgocontrol, although planes could still cross the country at higher altitudes.

European air traffic authority Eurocontrol said the suspension would last until 1730 CET/1130 ET.

May 26, 2015

Greece and creditors play down fears of imminent default

ATHENS/BRUSSELS, May 26 (Reuters) – Greece and its Europeans
creditors on Tuesday sought to play down fears that Athens would
default on a payment to the International Monetary Fund next

Running short of cash to pay public sector salaries,
pensions and debt obligations, senior members of Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras’s government have said openly that Greece does
not have the money to pay 300 million euros to the IMF on June

May 26, 2015

Greece might sidestep June 5 IMF deadline if funding deal close: officials

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Cash-strapped Greece could avoid paying back the IMF on June 5 without defaulting if it lumps together all IMF repayments due in June and pays them at the end of the month, officials said on Tuesday.

This would also win Athens more time to negotiate a funding deal.

Greece has to repay the International Monetary Fund 300 million euros on June 5, the first of four instalments due in June that total 1.6 billion euros.

May 19, 2015

Europe dampens Greek hopes of swift deal as clock ticks

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European lenders on Tuesday played down Greek hopes of a swift end to negotiations on an aid agreement and warned talks must speed up before the country runs out of cash.

A sober outlook from Brussels and Berlin contrasted sharply with vigorous optimism displayed in Athens, where top officials from the new leftist government made a series of public appearances to promise a deal was just days away.

May 19, 2015

Faster ECB money-printing excites investors

FRANKFURT/ BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank will accelerate the pace of money printing to buy government bonds over the next two months, one of its top officials said, while voicing concern about recent swings on bond markets.

The comments from Benoit Coeure, initially made in private on Monday at a conference attended by one of Britain’s richest hedge fund managers Alan Howard, some of his peers and academics, sent markets into a flurry when they were published on Tuesday.

May 13, 2015

EU Commission says Germany should invest, France must reform

BRUSSELS, May 13 (Reuters) – Germany should take advantage
of stronger economic growth to invest more and France needs
fiscal reform so it can meet its deficit reduction targets by a
2017 deadline, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

In annual economic policy recommendations to all European
Union countries except Greece and Cyprus, which are in bailout
programmes, the EU executive arm also said Italy was justified
in consolidating public finances more slowly to support reforms.

May 13, 2015

Euro zone economy picks up pace but Germany lags

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A slowdown in Germany weighed on the euro zone in the first quarter, but the bloc’s economy still grew at its fastest in almost two years as cheap food and fuel boosted spending and a central bank stimulus program kicked in.

Gross domestic product in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter for a 1.0 percent year-on-year rise – just below forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

May 12, 2015

EU ministers, Commission to agree on flexibility in budget rules this year

BRUSSELS, May 12 (Reuters) – European Union finance
ministers and the European Commission will agree this year on a
new interpretation of EU budget rules to establish how much
leeway countries can have in meeting those rules, EU officials

The interpretation of the rules – called the Code of Conduct
– needs to be updated because the Commission and EU governments
differ on when governments can get more time to reduce their
budget deficits.

May 8, 2015

EU ministers to query backdoor softening of budget rules

BRUSSELS, May 8 (Reuters) – EU finance ministers will debate
on Tuesday whether the European Commission softened the bloc’s
budget rules too far through the back door by giving governments
leeway on deficit reduction in return for planned reforms before
they are implemented.

Under the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact, states
have to cut the public deficit by 0.5 percent of gross domestic
product a year in structural terms until they reach balance or a
surplus. If they don’t, they face EU disciplinary action.

    • 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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