A meeting of euro zone finance ministers is tasked with producing a deal to keep Greece solvent, which is acceptable to both sides. A similar meeting last week got nowhere despite seven hours of talks.
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.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Istanbul will pledge to act decisively on monetary and fiscal policy if needed to combat the risk of stagnation, according to a draft communique obtained by Reuters last night. As has been customary at these summits, a lot of the discussion implicitly centres on Germany.
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.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Rome for talks with Italy’s Matteo Renzi and will be met there by his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who has already been to London and Paris to try the scope for a new debt deal for Greece and reassure investors that there won’t be a default.
Russia’s central bank meets having shoved interest rates up to an eye-watering 17 percent late last year.
The central bank has said rates can only come down if inflation was trending lower. It was running above 11 percent last month and the government expects it to peak at 17 percent.
EU foreign ministers hold an extraordinary meeting today after their leaders have asked them to consider possible new sanctions on Russia. A final decision to impose them is likely to be left to their bosses who meet in next month and again in March.