Europe Government

  • 2015-03-26 04:43

    --Adds Analyst Comment in Last Paragraph

    PARIS (MNI) - France's economy expanded by an unrevised 0.1% in the fourth quarter, as gains in household spending and exports offset continued weakness in business investment, the national statistics institute Insee said Thursday.

    The 0.1% increase in Q4 gross domestic product followed an unrevised 0.3% gain in the third quarter, and left the average growth rate for the year at 0.4%, the same as in 2013, Insee said.

    Household consumption increased by an unrevised 0.2%, while exports grew by 2.5%, slightly more than the 2.3% initially estimated by Insee.

  • 2015-03-26 03:08

    --Adds Quote by Finance Minister Sapin

    PARIS (MNI) - France posted a lower-than expected 2014 public deficit on Thursday, prompting the government to cut its estimate for this year's budget shortfall.

    The deficit declined to 4.0% of GDP, below the target of 4.4% in the government's 2014 budget and slightly below the 2013 shortfall of 4.1%, the national statistics institute Insee said.

    Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in statement that because of the better 2014 performance the government was now targeting a 2015 deficit of 3.8%, down from 4.1% estimated in the 2015 budget.

    "The control of the deficit in 2014 has opened the prospect of a downward revision in the government deficit in 2015 to around 3.8% of GDP," Sapin said.

  • 2015-03-26 02:37

    By Jack Duffy

    PARIS (MNI) - France posted a public deficit of 4.0% of GDP in 2014, slightly lower than expected and down from 4.1% a year earlier, the national statistics institute Insee said Thursday.

    Presenting official budget data for 2014, Insee also said that France's gross public debt swelled to 95.0% of GDP last year from 92.3% in 2013.

    The European Commission earlier this month gave France two more years to bring its deficit within EU limits, its third deficit extension since 2009.

    Paris had promised a deficit of 3.0% for 2015, but a stagnating economy pushed the budget shortfall much higher than expected last year.

  • 2015-03-25 12:01

    --Ahead of 'Four Presidents' report on euro governance, ten countries including

    France, Italy and Spain support new authority that would issue joint debt

    --Germany may come on board if countries commit to binding structural reforms

    BRUSSELS (MNI) - A core group of ten European countries, including some among the largest in the Eurozone, have expressed support for the creation of a new Eurozone budget as well as a central authority capable of issuing joint debt or Eurobonds, Euro Insight, MNI's sister publication, has learned from two senior EU sources.

    Until now, support for further euro area policy harmonisation was thought to be on hold given the financial upheavals in the region.

  • 2015-03-25 04:44

    By Angelika Papamiltiadou

    ATHENS (MNI) - Greece will face yet another crucial test with its EU partners Wednesday as the EuroWorking Group, aides to Eurozone Finance Ministers, prepare to discuss the progress of the reforms list Greece must present next week in order to unlock much-needed cash.

    But Greece's government may have realized that deadlines might have become asphyxiating now that the European Central Bank appears to have switched from advising to instructing Greek banks not to purchase additional Treasury bills from the government - potentially removing its final remaining liquidity lifeline and heaping even more pressure on the Syriza-lead government.

    "[The ECB decision] is in line with decisions already taken on the monetary policy side.

  • 2015-03-24 11:31

    By Silvia Marchetti

    ROME (MNI) - Italy Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Tuesday that the government was working on a "deep" structural reform plan aimed at eradicating corruption that would have a positive impact on re-launching investment and supporting the recovery.

    Speaking at a conference at the Treasury in Rome, Padoan noted that corruption negatively weighed on the economy and limited potential growth, both in terms of GDP and "perception", adding that it was not just a matter of the so-called 'black economy' and criminal infiltrations in public works.

    "I would like to point-out two complimentary aspects: the negative perception of corruption hampers economy and investments, just as a positive perception that corruption is being eradicated may support the ec

  • 2015-03-24 10:46

    By David Robinson

    LONDON (MNI) - UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that the chances of a Greek exit from the Eurozone have risen and he warns that if it does happen it will be traumatic.

    Osborne, in evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, said he thought it was a mistake for Greece to ever have joined the euro, but having done so there is now no pain free exit.

    "My view would be Greece shouldn't have joined the euro but now it is in the euro I think it is very difficult for it to leave without there being traumatic impact both on Greece and indeed very considerable impact on the broader Eurozone," Osborne said.

    If Greece were to leave "You would establish that the single currency was really just a currency peg and once you have established the p

  • 2015-03-24 09:13

    By Silvia Marchetti

    ROME (MNI) - Italy doesn't need additional fiscal measures or reforms, as suggested by the European Central Bank, and officials are confident the current programme will boost growth and create new jobs, several top government sources have told MNI.

    The officials also dismissed concerns that fiscal targets might be at risk and brushed away criticism from the ECB following a report which said Italy was not doing enough to curb public debt and that it should implement "further" reforms to correct its excessive imbalances.

  • 2015-03-24 06:01

    By Angelika Papamiltiadou

    BERLIN (MNI) - Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem has instructed the EuroWorking Group and the European Financial Stability Facility to examine a request from Greece for a refund of E1.2 billion linked to funds it borrowed to recapitalize its banking system.

    Greece borrowed around E49.7 billion in cash and bonds from the EFSF, the region's first bailout facility, and used around E40 billion to prop up its fragile lenders. However, around E10.9 billion was returned to the EFSF once the process had concluded, creating the pretext for a potential refund.

    "[Dijsselbloem] has asked the EFSF to provide an analysis of the matter," a spokesperson told MNI Tuesday.

  • 2015-03-23 08:18

    By Steven Arons

    FRANKFURT (MNI) - As Germany sails towards another record-busting export surplus, its institutions are preparing for a public relations campaign against curbs from abroad.

    The German economy achieved its highest-ever trade surplus by far last in 2014, busting through the E200 billion threshold for the first time to land at E217 billion, more than 10% over the previous year's level.

    This astronomic figures has raised eyebrows abroad, with the EU Commission deciding last month to upgrade Germany to 'stage 3' of its economic imbalances procedure, which "requires specific monitoring and decisive policy action".

    "Large and protracted surpluses may reflect economic inefficiencies with low domestic investment and demand," the EU Commission wrote at the tim