It’s European Central Bank day and with quantitative easing now well underway any morsels it hands out on its approach to Greece are likely to capture the headlines.
The Greek standoff is coming to a head.
A day after euro zone finance ministers couldn’t “even agree to disagree” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, attending his first EU summit, agreed that Greek officials would meet representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF today.
Alexis Tsipras is not for turning, not yet anyway.
Speaking in parliament on Sunday night the new Greek premier said he would not accept an extension to Greece’s current bailout, something the euro zone is urging him to do, and stuck with austerity-ending pledges such as giving free food and electricity to those who need it, reinstating civil servants who had been fired as part of bailout conditions and raising the minimum wage. Privatisations have already been halted.
Last night, after Greece’s new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank cancelled its acceptance of Greek bonds in return for funding, shifting the burden onto Greece’s central bank to finance its lenders, the latest reverse for the country’s new government.
After euro zone inflation ticked up for the first time in many months and the latest PMI surveys showed factory activity expanded only very slightly last month, today the European Commission publishes its autumn economic forecasts.
The EU is slowly tightening the screw on Russia, with senior officials proposing yesterday to target state-owned Russian banks in its most serious sanctions so far. Ambassadorial talks on how precisely that is to be done continue today and the measures are likely to be enacted next week.