Eurozone finance ministers are preparing for a key meeting in Luxembourg tomorrow, with problem economies such as Greece and Italy high on the agenda.
The 19 members of the EU that use the euro face a busy schedule of topics ranging from economic growth to the sustainability of pension systems.
They will discuss also the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest forecasts for growth, prices and jobs.
Central bank to end money creation programme
This will be the first eurozone finance ministers’ meeting since, earlier this week when German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to French calls for a eurozone budget, separate from the European Union budget and with its own stream of tax revenue. The eurozone ministers are known collectively as the Eurogroup.
This budget would promote convergence among the eurozone economies and help those that are currently less competitive. It is thought to be less ambitious in scope than had been hoped for by French President Emmanuel Macron.
A second significant development ahead of the Eurogroup meeting was the announcement earlier this month that the European Central Bank (ECB) is to end its “quantitative easing” (QE) money creation programme in December in response to better growth in the eurozone. But ECB president Mario Draghi has suggested interest rates will stay low.
A quickening of the eurozone’s economic pulse is good news, but at the same time, the Eurogroup, also known as the Eurogroup consilium, meets as Italian politics has thrown up a populist challenge to the single currency and the rules that underpin it, known as the Stability and Growth Pact.