The drama of Ukraine and Greece has left old-fashioned economic data in the shade so far this year but, quietly, there are some signs of improvement for the moribund euro zone economy.
Greece sent an economic reform plan to its EU and IMF creditors overnight, according to an EU source, and euro zone finance ministers will this morning see the list which is a condition for extending the country’s bailout programme by four months.
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.
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.
With the Greek government again in peril and Italy flirting with a junk credit rating, it’s all starting to feel a bit familiar.
Greek stocks suffered their steepest daily fall in more than a quarter century on Tuesday after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras brought forward a presidential election.
Euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels to discuss member states’ 2015 budget plans. We know the European Commission thinks France, Italy and Belgium are breaking EU deficit rules but will defer decisions on any action until March. At that point, France could face a multi-billion euro fine and Italy and Belgium be put on a disciplinary programme.