Jean-Claude Trichet

Demonstrators camping out in front of the ECB in Frankfurt on Wednesday morning.

UPDATE 5: The gathering has broken up with nobody speaking to the press. Lagarde left first, followed by Sarkozy. The EU’s Barroso, Van Rompuy and Rehn then left together. Merkel exited by the back door.

UPDATE 4: The meeting is expected to break up shortly so Trichet and Draghi can attend an 8pm concert in their honour.

UPDATE 3: Ralph Atkins, our man in Frankfurt, reports the meeting of leaders is now underway at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt’s concert hall.

UPDATE 2: European officials are now saying that Nicolas Sarkozy will also be flying to Frankfurt to meet with his counterparts, after the arrival of his new daughter.

UPDATE: Our Frankfurt bureau chief, Ralph Atkins, reports that IMF cheif Christine Lagarde is also in attendance.

If anyone is looking for where deals on the highly-anticipated Sunday summit might be struck today, they may want to cast an eye towards Frankfurt.

Several of the European Union’s big hitters will be in Germany’s financial capital for a leaving celebration for Jean-Claude Trichet, who departs from the helm of the European Central Bank at the end of the month. Read more

It has been more than a week since European presidents and prime ministers signed off on a raft of measures to shore up the eurozone’s debt-ridden peripheral economies, but so far the markets haven’t responded the way most leaders hoped – particularly in Portugal, where the ongoing political turmoil has driven borrowing costs to euro-era records just as the country needs to dip back into the market.

There have also been some rather unusual public recriminations from top European Union leaders who feel the so-called “grand bargain” did not go far enough, including Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, and José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president. Read more

With all the controversy surrounding succession at the head of the European Central Bank, at least European finance ministers could agree on another ECB succession challenge with quite a bit less conflict.

Peter Praet, a regulation expert from Belgium, has been selected to replace Austria’s Gertrude Tempell-Gugerell on the European Central Bank’s governing council, eurozone finance ministers unanimously agreed during their afternoon gathering in Brussels.

The outcome doesn’t come as much of a surprise: the only other nominee, Slovakia’s Elena Kohutikova, had a lacklustre hearing at the European parliament, even as Praet’s star continued to rise.

But his nomination means there will be no women on the 23-member council, comprised of 17 central bankers from the countries that use the euro, and six executive board members, of which Praet will be one. Read more