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European stocks drop as ECB puts off decision on further stimulus until next year; Draghi: Unanimity not needed to launch Quantitative Easing

05 Dec 2014

European stock markets dropped yesterday after the European Central Bank (ECB) put off a decision on whether to step up its economic stimulus policies – including the purchase of government bonds, known as Quantitative Easing (QE) – until next year. In his monthly press conference, ECB President Mario Draghi stressed that QE could be launched even without unanimity in the ECB’s Governing Council. The ECB also appeared to have strengthened its forward guidance, as Draghi said the bank “intends” to expand its balance sheet by around €1 trillion rather than just “expecting” to do so – although the change of language did not draw unanimous support from Eurozone central bankers.
Guardian El País WSJ FT City AM

Mats Persson: Cameron needs to embark on charm offensive over EU free movement reforms;
Economist: Open Europe is “the most influential European think tank in Westminster”
The Economist notes that, following Prime Minister David Cameron’s immigration speech last week, in which he pledged to introduce a qualification period before EU migrants were able to access in-work benefits but stopped short of proposing a cap or an ‘emergency brake’, “the relieved response from Berlin and Brussels was promising.” Open Europe Director Mats Persson is quoted as saying that Cameron should also concentrate on charming those central and eastern European governments whose citizens dominate the recent influx of migrants and that could be most sceptical of his proposals. The Economist goes on to describe Open Europe as “the most influential European think tank in Westminster.”
Open Europe research Open Europe research 2 Economist Open Europe blog

According to documents seen by Reuters, Eurozone finance ministers are considering extending Greece’s bail-out programme, due to end this year, by six months to the middle of 2015. However, a Greek government official insisted that “Greece can discuss only a technical extension [of the programme], which cannot be longer than a few weeks.”

The Bundesbank has this morning halved its 2015 GDP growth forecasts for Germany from 2% to 1%.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggested yesterday that the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline from Russia to the EU via Bulgaria could still go ahead, refuting Russian claims that EU competition requirements were a genuine reason for Russia to cancel the project.
Reuters Euractiv NYT

The WSJ reports that Portuguese authorities are nearing sales of parts of collapsed lender Banco Espírito Santo – which was bailed out by the government to the tune of nearly €5bn during the summer.

French media report that Nicolas Sarkozy, recently elected leader of France’s centre-right UMP party, has cancelled a trip to Cologne scheduled for next week. Sarkozy was expected to attend the annual party conference of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU.
Le Figaro France Info

Die Linke’s Bodo Ramelow was yesterday officially inaugurated as the state premier of Thüringen at the head of a coalition with the SPD and the Greens. It is the first time that the far-left party has taken charge of a state administration since German re-unification.
Deutsche Welle Süddeutsche Welt 

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