Europe

The headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) are pictured during protest training organised by "NoG20 Rhein-Main" in Frankfurt

The European Central Bank has left interest rates unchanged in July as expected. The euro has picked up from its daily lows after Mr Draghi stuck to the script that the recovery still has plenty of way to go. The key message was that the eurozone still needs a “substantial” amount of stimulus to keep price growth at its current levels.

Key points

  • ECB main rate remains at 0.00%; deposit facility at -0.4%
  • No change to QE bond buying programme which runs till end of 2017
  • Euro enjoys a mild rally on Draghi’s comments

 

macron_lepen2

Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron has won an emphatic victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election, according to preliminary estimates.

  • Macron won 65.1% of the second round vote, according to preliminary estimate by Ipsos-Sopra Steria, while Le Pen secured 34.9%
  • Hackers hit the Macron campaign with a ‘massive’ document leak on Friday night
  • Take a look at the FT’s poll tracker
  • For further coverage of the French presidential elections click here

 

macron_lepen2

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen went head to head on Wednesday evening in an unrelentingly aggressive TV debate ahead of France’s second round vote on Sunday. Here are the FT’s highlights of the showdown:

  • The two contenders clashed on the euro, radical Islam, immigration and jobs
  • Macron came out on top with 63% of viewer approval, while a combative Le Pen trailed with 34%, according to a poll by Elabe
  • Take a look at the FT’s poll tracker
  • For further coverage of the French presidential elections click here

 

Germany European Central Bank

The European Central Bank has once again left interest rates and its quantitative easing programme unchanged following its governing council meeting.

Key points

  • ECB main rate held at 0.00%, deposit facility at -0.40%
  • QE bond buying programme runs till end of 2017 at reduced rate of €60 billion per month
  • Risks are still ’tilted to the downside’ says Draghi
  • Admits differences of opinion within council over strength of economic recovery
  • Draghi has a dig at Germany’s finance minister Schäuble over latter’s criticism of ECB

 

APTOPIX Germany European Central Bank

The European Central Bank has left interest rates and its quantitative easing programme unchanged at its governing council meeting on Thursday. The decision came against a backdrop of inflation reaching the bank’s goal of just under 2 per cent for the first time since early 2013.

Mario Draghi, ECB president, who was under pressure from the council’s hawks, stepped back from the prospect of more rate cuts.

Key points

  • ECB main rate remains at 0.00%, deposit facility at -0.40%
  • QE bond buying programme continues till at least end of 2017
  • Monthly QE due to drop from €80bn to €60bn from April as previously announced
  • ECB keeps long-term inflation forecasts unchanged
  • Draghi says “no signs yet of a convincing upward trend in underlying inflation”
  • Draghi takes more hawkish tone on monetary policy

 

By Gideon Rachman

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a “democratic wave”. Political freedom spread from its traditional bastions in western Europe and the US — and countries as diverse as Poland, South Africa and Indonesia turned democratic. But now the process seems to have gone into reverse. An authoritarian wave that began outside the established democracies of the west has spread to the US and Europe.

EPA

The European Central Bank has left interest rates and its quantitative easing programme unchanged.

Key points

  • ECB holds main rate at 0.00%, deposit facility at -0.40%
  • QE bond buying programme to continue until at least end of 2017
  • Level of QE to drop from €80bn to €60bn per month from April as previously announced
  • Press conference starts at 13:30 GMT

By Gemma Tetlow and Elaine Moore

 

Reuters

The European Central Bank has scaled back its quantitative easing programme from €80bn to €60bn a month from April 2017 and will extend it to the end of next year, in a move that responds to hawks’ concerns about ultra-loose monetary policy but which could unsettle markets. It has held rates as expected.

The ECB insists the step is not equivalent to the US move to gradually “taper” QE that unsettled markets in 2013, instead it argues the move could see it buy more bonds under the extended programme.

Key points

  • ECB holds rates at 0% but extends QE to December 2017
  • Level of bond buying programme cut to €60bn per month from April 2017
  • Asset purchase parameters broadened, including halving of minimum maturity to 1 year
  • Sovereign bond prices recover as Draghi insists tapering has not been discussed
  • Euro slides against the dollar

By Gemma Tetlow and Gavin Jackson

 

By Gideon Rachman

Europe’s fightback against populism was going well for a couple of hours. On Sunday afternoon, it emerged that the far-right candidate had lost the Austrian presidential election. But the good news from Austria was drowned out by bad news that same evening, from the other side of the Alps. Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, had lost his referendum on constitutional reform and confirmed that he will resign.

Donald Trump and Europe: friend or foe?

Does the election victory of Donald Trump represent an opportunity or a threat to Europe? Gideon Rachman discusses the mixed reaction across the continent with George Parker, the FT’s political editor in London, and diplomatic correspondent Arthur Beesley in Brussels.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi Announces Interest Rate Decision

The European Central Bank’s governing council has kept interest rates on hold and once again reaffirmed plans to maintain its quantitative easing programme at €80 billion to March 2017 or beyond if needed.

President Mario Draghi SAYS that the next meeting on 8 December “will define the coming months” as he warns the eurozone is subject to “downside risks”. He says there has been no discussion about extending QE beyond next March but that “an abrupt end” to quantitative easing is “unlikely”. He says the governing council had discussed “various options in case we are confronted with a shortage of purchasable bonds in some jurisdictions”

Key points

  • Interest rates are kept on hold in October

  • The ECB’s asset purchase target is unchanged at €80bn per month

  • Draghi signals next meeting in December will be key

  • Draghi says no discussion about extending QE beyond next March

By Mehreen Khan and Gavin Jackson

 

Barack Obama said this week that he would like to see Matteo Renzi “hang around” as Italian prime minister even if he loses a pivotal constitutional reform referendum in December. Such a scenario would represent a reversal of Mr Renzi’s vow to leave office if he is defeated, but may be reassuring for markets and investors looking for political stability in the eurozone’s third-largest economy. But it might not be that simple. So what are Mr Renzi’s options?

Rexit Read more

Theresa May’s Brexit vision

At the UK Conservative party conference this week we got a clearer sense of Theresa May’s Brexit vision, with the prime minister announcing that the process for leaving the bloc will be formally set in motion early next year. So what are the implications at this stage for Britain – and for Europe? Gideon Rachman puts the question to Daniel Dombey, the FT’s Brexit editor, and Brussels bureau chief Alex Barker.

By Gideon Rachman

Later this week, EU leaders will meet in Bratislava — minus one country. The Slovakia summit will be the first to take place without the UK. But Britain will loom large in discussions, as Europe grapples with Brexit.

By Gideon Rachman

Journalism is sometimes said to be the first draft of history. This article is the first draft of a history exam for students graduating in 2066. I have tried to imagine the questions future historians will ask about today’s political events.

Europe’s fraying economic ties with America

Economic ties between Europe and the US took a knock this week when the EU slapped huge back taxes on Apple and several European politicians declared transatlantic trade talks to be effectively dead. Gideon Rachman asks Tony Barber, the FT’s Europe editor, and Shawn Donnan, the FT’s world trade editor, what hopes remain for a successful conclusion to the TTIP talks. Read more

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, says that “Brexit means Brexit”. But when will it actually happen?

The whole question of the timing of Britain’s departure from the EU is now open to question. Britain has still not triggered Article 50, which gives formal notification that the UK intends to leave and fires the starting gun for negotiations. The Sunday Times claimed recently that Article 50 may not be triggered until late next year because of a mixture of administrative chaos in the UK and political uncertainty caused by elections in France and Germany in 2017.

Given that it will then probably take a minimum of two years to negotiate the divorce, that would mean that Britain’s exit from the EU would not happen until the end of 2019. Over at the Independent, however, Andrew Grice makes the case that delaying Brexit this long is not politically feasibleRead more

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to his supporters in Istanbul

Live coverage of the aftermath of an attempted military coup in Turkey, where 3000 members of the military and security forces have been arrested and the judiciary has been purged.

Key developments

  • Erdogan demands “head” of suspected coup plotter Gulen from US; White House says it has not received extradition request
  • Gulen tells FT coup may have been orchestrated by Erdogan
  • PM hails Turkey now back in “complete” control of government
  • Nearly 3000 members of the military arrested; 2750 judges purged, senior judges arrested
  • Plotters who fled to Greece will be returned to Turkey – foreign minister
  • Total death count hits 265, with 161 civilians killed and 1440 wounded
  •  

    “Now it’s our turn!” So said Geert Wilders (above), leader of the far-right PVV party in the Netherlands, after the UK electorate voted in last week’s referendum to leave the EU.

    In practice, there is next to no chance of a Dutch referendum on EU membership — certainly not under Dutch law as it stands. However, to say this is not to underestimate the serious political challenges that lie ahead in the Netherlands. Read more

    Over the years, I’ve followed stories of English football hooliganism around the world with a certain grim fascination. Last night, unfortunately, I got to witness it first hand – at the England-Russia game at Euro 2016 in Marseilles.

    During the day it is not hard to avoid the trouble. Just avoid city-centre bars full of singing, chanting drunkards. Nearer the ground things got nastier. Read more