Deputy Bureau Chief, Brussels
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May 5, 2015

Greece blows hot and cold in race to avert cash crunch

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece blew hot and cold with its euro zone partners on Tuesday as it struggled to avert a potentially catastrophic funding crunch this month, when it must make a big debt repayment to the IMF as cash reserves dry up.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said after talks in Paris and Brussels that he expected euro zone finance ministers to acknowledge next Monday progress towards a cash-for-reform deal, opening the way to easing Athens’ liquidity crisis.

May 5, 2015

Greece steps up diplomacy to avert cash crunch

ATHENS/BRUSSELS, May 5 (Reuters) – Greece stepped up
diplomacy with euro zone partners on Tuesday to try to avert a
potentially catastrophic funding crunch this month, when it must
make a big debt repayment to the IMF as cash reserves dry up.

Ministers were travelling to Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris
to plead for a loosening of the financial stranglehold on Athens
after leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by telephone
to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s pre-eminent leader.

May 5, 2015

EU Commission sharply cuts Greek growth, primary surplus forecasts

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission slashed Greek economic growth and primary surplus projections on Tuesday and forecast deeper price falls and a higher public debt as a result of uncertainty that has dogged Athens policy direction since late 2014.

The Commission, which finished gathering data for its forecast on April 21, said it now expected the Greek economy would grow only 0.5 percent this year, after 0.8 percent in 2014 and accelerate to 2.9 percent in 2016, unless policies change.

May 4, 2015

Pension, labor disputes dog Greek talks as cash dwindles

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Wide differences over pension and labor reforms continued to dog intensive negotiations between Greece’s leftist government and its international creditors despite progress in other areas as the country’s cash position becomes increasingly critical.

Government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis sounded the alarm on Monday, saying that while Athens intended to meet all its payment obligations, including nearly 1 billion euros to the IMF in May, it needed fresh funds before the end of the month.

Apr 29, 2015

Greece prepares reform bill, lenders seek concessions

ATHENS/BRUSSELS, April 29 (Reuters) – Euro zone officials
sought to wring policy concessions from Greece on Wednesday to
unlock urgently needed aid after Athens said it would present a
list of reforms for legislation to show it is serious about
implementing its promises.

The draft bill was not expected to include major novelties
beyond measures already discussed with EU and IMF lenders, but
Athens is hoping it will speed up slow-moving talks and permit
at least an initial deal to ease its searing cash crunch.

Apr 29, 2015

Greece has days for reform deal, must start third bailout talks: official

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece has only days left to reach a cash-for-reforms deal with creditors because it needs to start negotiating a third bailout that would save it from bankruptcy after the current program ends in June, euro zone officials said on Wednesday.

Cut off from markets, Athens is fast running out of cash to pay salaries, service loans and redeem maturing debt. This poses a growing risk that it may default and perhaps have to leave the euro zone.

Apr 25, 2015

EU ministers give strong support to capital markets union idea

RIGA, April 25 (Reuters) – European Union finance ministers
gave strong support on Saturday to the European Commission’s
proposal of a capital markets union, which would boost economic
growth by giving companies wider access to capital across the
28-nation bloc.

Unlike in the United States, where companies rely mainly on
shares or bonds to raise money for development, in Europe small
and medium-sized firms go primarily to banks to borrow money and
do so within national borders.

Apr 24, 2015

Swiss expect deal with EU over clearing house

RIGA/LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) – The European Union is
expected to give a green light for the Swiss securities clearing
house to keep handling trades involving parties based in the EU,
a senior Swiss markets official said.

Clearing houses, vital parts of the electronic plumbing
which helps markets run, stand between two sides of a trade to
guarantee its completion even if one side goes bust.

Apr 24, 2015

European governments have largely failed to reform -EU document

RIGA, April 24 (Reuters) – European governments have failed
to implement most of the reforms that could help bring down the
EU’s chronic unemployment problem and are doing less as the euro
zone crisis ebbs, according to an EU document presented to
finance ministers.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Greece, the European
economy looks to be growing again but policymakers worry that
the region may be trapped in a period of low growth, unable to
tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.

Apr 24, 2015

Greece offers some concessions as ‘tired’ creditors urge progress

RIGA, April 24 (Reuters) – Greece offered some concessions
on Friday on reforms demanded by international lenders in return
for new funding before Athens runs out of money, but euro zone
creditors said negotiations needed to speed up to get a deal by

After talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday
in Brussels, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he wanted
a deal by the end of this month. Merkel, in a comment seen as
underlining the determination of Europe’s main paymaster to keep
Greece in the euro zone, said “everything must be undertaken to
prevent” Athens running out of cash.

    • 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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