UPDATE: A time frame for EFSF approval by eurozone parliaments is probably the biggest news coming out of this meeting. The EU officials said parliaments should all approve the July 21 agreement by early October so that funds can be dispersed by mid-October. They all stressed that this would only happen if Greece meets its reform goals, an achievement which seems even more unlikely this morning.
Also big — Juncker said that the ECB/EU/IMF troika will not decide on the next tranche of aid until October. This puts a lot of pressure on Greece, which is expected to default next month without that support.
Juncker, Rehn, Trichet, and Regling all waxed optimistic about securing a viable collateral agreement for Finland and the other eurozone nations requesting guarantees in return for their participation in the Greek bailout and EFSF. Clearly they know something we don’t.
Overall, no surprises here, but markets seemed disappointed by the lack of progress made on handling the debt crisis. The DAX fell sharply during the presser, but has recovered a bit since.
PREVIOUSLY: Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn are going to talk about the progress made so far at the meeting of European finance ministers in Wroclaw, Poland, according to the EU website. It looks like ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet and EFSF director Klaus Regling have also showed up.
Everyone is hoping the three officials might present some tangible evidence that EU leaders are working towards a viable solution for the sovereign debt crisis.
That conference is just beginning. Refresh for live updates, which we’ll publish below.
6:55am | Juncker’s speaking first. Congratulating Portugal and Ireland on progress to fix their economies. Says IMF/ECB/EU will decide on disbursement of new tranche of bailout aid in October.
6:57am | Juncker’s speaking in favour of the EFSF. Says everyone reached an agreement on the pricing of future EFSF loans.
6:59am | Says ratification on EFSF is on track. Expects everyone to ratify by mid-October.
6:59am | On the collateral agreement — “If collateral is provided it will be done at the appropriate price.”
7:00am | Schedule to replace Jurgen Stark at the ECB is on track. Progress on this will be made by September 27.
7:01am | On to Olli Rehn, who is saying that EU growth is stalling in the second half of the year, but that growth for the year will still amount to 1.6% and that he doesn’t see a recession imminent.
7:03am | Some confusion over the timeframe for EFSF passage — Rehn is saying “end of September, October.” What’s the deal?
7:04am | On next tranche of $11 billion in Greek aid — Rehn says the troika needs “full and rapid implementation” of the requested reforms in Greece. Wonder what he has to say about the new news that Greece is violating these agreements even more seriously than anyone already thought?
7:06am | On to Trichet.
7:08am | “All countries [have] to be ahead of the curve” in proving credit-worthiness.
7:11am | Klaus Regling, director of the EFSF, is speaking now.
7:12am | Again, we’re hearing about this mid-October deadline for EFSF approval. Now we’ll hear questions.
7:16am | Juncker denies the ability of European officials to speak with one voice. Honest guy.
7:18am | Juncker: Meeting with Timothy Geithner “was not a decision-making meeting.” Will not discuss “expansion of the EFSF with a member of the non-euro area.”
7:19am | Trichet lauds banking agreements that are part of Basel III.
7:21am | Regling talks about “alternatives for eurobonds” that will be studied this fall. Says a necessary condition for eurobonds, in his opinion, is “further reinforcement of economic guidance” in Europe. Says that without stability of public finances, these bonds would turn into junk bonds.
7:23am | Rehn says he thinks the collateral will soon be out of the way.
7:25am | Last question has more on the timeline for the EFSF expansion agreement. Rehn says they expect EU parliaments to approve the measures by early October, so that the funds can be dispersed by mid-October. That is, if and only if Greece meets its bailout goals.
7:27am | The presser is over.
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