Correspondent, Brussels
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Apr 1, 2014

European ministers take sobering look at social impact of crisis

ATHENS, April 1 (Reuters) – The economic crisis in Europe
has put 6 million people out of work and driven others into
poverty, according to a think-tank study looking into the social
impact of the slump that was examined by EU finance ministers
for the first time on Tuesday.

As host, Greece, the first euro zone country to be bailed
out during the crisis, put it on the agenda of the regular
meeting of EU finance ministers that has more usually focused on
appeasing financial markets with tough spending reforms.

Apr 1, 2014

Low euro zone inflation a worry, but no clear deflation risk: ECB

ATHENS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank and euro zone finance ministers said they did not see a clear risk of deflation despite a sharp slowdown in price rises, but a longer period of low inflation could be a drag on the economy.

Euro zone inflation has been stuck in what the European Central Bank calls the “danger zone” below 1 percent since October, and it dropped further in March to its lowest level in more than four years, hitting 0.5 percent year-on-year.

Mar 27, 2014

Europe to loosen rules for banks repackaging debt

LONDON/ BRUSSELS, March 26 (Reuters) – The European Union
will loosen rules on selling securitised debt, the bloc’s
regulatory chief said on Thursday, giving a second chance to
products that triggered the worst financial crisis in a
generation.

The capital rules that make it expensive for banks and
insurers to create and buy such debt will be eased, said Michel
Barnier, the European Commissioner in charge of regulation,
dismissing any threat that such concessions would risk another
“subprime disaster”.

Mar 25, 2014

Germany’s Bundesbank opens door to QE in Europe

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank could buy loans and other assets from banks to help support the euro zone economy, Germany’s Bundesbank said, marking a radical softening of its stance on the contested policy.

The ECB has cut interest rates to a record low and promised to keep them low for some time, having also flooded the banking system with cheap crisis loans. But the euro zone economy is still weak and inflation remains stuck well below the central bank’s target.

Mar 25, 2014

ECB’s Weidmann opens door to quantitative easing

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank could buy loans and other assets from banks to help support the euro zone economy, Germany’s Bundesbank has said, marking a radical softening of its stance on the contested policy.

The ECB has cut interest rates to a record low and promised to keep them low for some time, having also flooded the banking system with cheap crisis loans. But the euro zone economy is still weak and inflation remains stuck below the ECB’s target.

Mar 20, 2014

Europe strikes deal to complete banking union

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European policymakers agreed on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut failing euro zone banks, but there will be no joint backstop for a fund to pay the costs of closures.

The breakthrough ends an impasse with the European Parliament, which persuaded euro zone countries to strengthen the scheme. It completes the second pillar of banking union, starting at the end of the year when the European Central Bank takes over as watchdog.

Mar 20, 2014

Europe reaches deal to complete banking union – draft

BRUSSELS, March 20 (Reuters) – European policymakers agreed
on Thursday to complete a banking union with an agency to shut
failing euro zone banks but there will be no euro zone backstop
for the new fund to help cover the costs of such closures.

All-night talks ended a stand-off between the European
Parliament and euro zone countries over the new scheme,
completing the second leg of banking union that is due to start
this year when the European Central Bank takes over as watchdog.

Mar 19, 2014

EU pledges action after 1.9 million citizens demand ‘right’ to water

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s executive pledged on Wednesday to improve access to clean water across the region, responding to a 1.9-million-strong petition from citizens demanding recognition of their right to water.

The “Citizens’ Initiative” is the first time ordinary Europeans have been able to influence legislation and provides a rare glimpse as to what many people expect of Brussels as the region prepares for EU elections.

Mar 19, 2014

EU pledges action after 1.9m citizens demand “right” to water

BRUSSELS, March 19 (Reuters) – The European Union’s
executive pledged on Wednesday to improve access to clean water
across the region, responding to a 1.9-million-strong petition
from citizens demanding recognition of their right to water.

The “Citizens’ Initiative” is the first time ordinary
Europeans have been able to influence legislation and provides a
rare glimpse as to what many people expect of Brussels as the
region prepares for EU elections.

Mar 18, 2014

ECB watchdog tells Europe to prepare to shut ‘zombie’ banks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone countries must prepare to shut their failing “zombie” banks and quickly pool the money to do it, the bloc’s top regulator said on Tuesday, ahead of a warts-and-all investigation of its still-fragile financial system.

Daniele Nouy’s comments, including her plea for countries to form a united front in solving the problem, give an early indication of how the bloc’s chief banking supervisor intends to tackle issues that show up in health checks this year.

    • 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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