Correspondent, Brussels
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Feb 25, 2015

Bank regulation takes back seat to kick-starting economy

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – As the banking crisis fades in memory, only to be replaced by a lingering economic slowdown, governments are losing interest in financial reform despite warnings that dangers still lurk.

The shift could mark the beginning of an era reminiscent of the more hands-off approach to regulation preceding the 2008 financial crash, albeit one that follows a raft of reforms – from capping bonuses to boosting capital – that have curbed banks’ freedom to take risks.

Feb 24, 2015

ECB’s Draghi gives guarded welcome to Greek reforms

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The head of the European Central Bank welcomed Greece’s reform plans on Tuesday but said he would keep a close watch on ideas that depart from previous pledges, underlining the need for Greece to stick to its commitments.

In a letter to the chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Mario Draghi said that although some reforms proposed by Athens needed fleshing out, they were enough to justify continuing aid to Greece.

Feb 18, 2015

ECB tightens pressure on Greece with cap on bank funding

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank agreed a modest increase in emergency funding for Greek banks on Wednesday, putting pressure on Athens to strike a financing deal with its European partners before its lenders run out of money.

The ECB Governing Council, meeting in Frankfurt, agreed to raise the provision of Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to 68.3 billion euros ($78 billion), a person familiar with the ECB talks said.

Feb 18, 2015

Greece to submit loan request to euro zone, Germany resists

ATHENS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Greece will submit a request to the euro zone on Wednesday to extend a “loan agreement” for up to six months but EU paymaster Germany says no such deal is on offer and Athens must stick to the terms of its existing international bailout.

The move, confirmed by an official spokesman, is an attempt by the new leftist-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to keep a financial lifeline for an interim period while avoiding tough austerity conditions in the EU/IMF programme.

Feb 17, 2015

Greece faces resistance to extra emergency funds for banks -sources

FRANKFURT, Feb 18 (Reuters) – The European Central Bank
faces resistance from Germany to allowing any extra emergency
lending for Greek banks, people familiar with the matter said,
increasing pressure on Athens to sign up to an extended
aid-for-reform programme.

After talks between Greece and euro zone creditors broke
down acrimoniously on Monday, the ECB’s policymaking governing
council will review on Wednesday how far the country may support
its weak banks, which face rising deposit outflows.

Feb 17, 2015

German investor morale hits highest level in a year in Feb

MANNHEIM, Germany (Reuters) – German analyst and investor sentiment climbed in February for a fourth consecutive month to its highest level in a year, helped by the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program, though the Ukraine crisis and Greek turmoil weighed on expectations.

Mannheim-based think tank ZEW said on Tuesday its monthly survey of economic sentiment rose to 53.0 in February from 48.4 in January. That was slightly below the Reuters consensus forecast of 55.0.

Feb 15, 2015

Bank funding powers make Greece vulnerable to ECB pressure

FRANKFURT, Feb 15 (Reuters) – The European Central Bank’s
control over emergency funding for banks gives it the power to
prod countries into the kind of aid-and-reform programme that
Greece is desperate to escape.

The ECB is loath to pull the plug on Greece’s banks, a
scenario that would almost certainly lead to the country’s exit
from the euro zone. But if Athens refuses to extend the existing
programme or sign up to a new one it may have little choice.

Feb 15, 2015

ECB has track record with funding stick it holds over Greece

FRANKFURT, Feb 15 (Reuters) – With its power over emergency
funding for banks, the European Central Bank wields a big stick
that it has past form in waving to badger countries into the
kind of aid-and-reform programme that Greece is desperate to
escape.

The ECB is loath to pull the plug on Greece’s banks, a
scenario that would almost certainly lead to the country’s exit
from the euro zone, but if authorities in Athens refuse to
extend the existing programme or sign up to a new one it may
have little choice.

Feb 12, 2015

ECB approves extra finance for Greek banks as clock ticks for Athens

ATHENS/FRANKFURT, Feb 12 (Reuters) – European Central Bank
policymakers approved extra emergency finance for Greek banks
on Thursday, as a funding pinch tightened before a crunch euro
zone meeting about the country’s future.

The unexpected move by policymakers from across the euro
zone highlighted how ebbing confidence in Greece’s new
government, which all but tore up a reform-for-aid programme, is
sapping banks’ sources of finance, such as deposits.

Feb 12, 2015

ECB raises pressure on Greece as Tsipras meets EU peers

BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank raised pressure on Greece on Thursday to extend a bailout deal with its international creditors as new leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras told EU leaders austerity is killing his economy and they must find an alternative.

After euro zone finance ministers failed to agree on a joint statement on the way forward on Greece’s debt crisis, the ECB’s Governing Council held a short-notice teleconference to discuss how long it could continue to keep Greek banks afloat.

    • About John

      "I am a Reuters correspondent in Brussels, writing about the European Union. I moved here last year from Germany, where I had reported about the financial crisis, turning up numerous scoops and even winning a prestigious business reporting award. Beforehand, I worked with The Sunday Times in London."
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