BRUSSELS: The European Central Bank says it wants euro zone countries to stir up growth with structural reforms, but its own money printing plans have taken the pressure off politicians for action, leaving European Union rules to drive often unpopular change. And although the EU toughened up those rules during the sovereign debt crisis, the European Commission has been weak in enforcing them in the teeth of opposition from governments reluctant to coordinate their fiscal policies.
After escalating for months, Europe's refugee crisis hit its most serious tipping point yet, when when earlier today European Union leaders held a mini-summit on Sunday debating whether to send hundreds of guards to its borders with the western Balkans, as well as deploying more ships off Greece, as the bloc seeks to balance Germany's welcome for refugees with tougher security measures.
OVER the past week or so, European leaders have put together the beginnings of a framework for a plan to keep Greece afloat for a while longer. It appears that as part of a second Greek bail-out package, European banks might be willing to voluntarily rollover most of the proceeds of maturing Greek debt into new Greek government bonds. As a piece in this week's Economist makes clear, this would probably be a much better deal for banks than for Greece.
Reuters - European Union leaders meet next week under pressure to take bolder steps to quell the euro zone debt crisis, despite signs that volatility in European bond markets is abating toward the end of the year. The European commissioner for monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, said it was time for Europe to show proper coordination, and back its shared currency union with closer economic union.
Nothing official came out of yesterday's tense Eurogroup meeting. Greece and its eurozone partners are still at odds on how to handle Athens' finances after a bailout deal expires this month, with sources offering conflicting versions of the eventual outcome of a Eurogroup finance ministers' meeting on Wednesday.