European finance ministers met up in Athens on Tuesday for a two-day meeting in which they will examine the economic outlook, study Greece's progress on its reform requirements, review Portugal's status as it prepares to exit its own bailout and finally come back full circle to the establishment of the banking union.
The day started off at 7:00 London time with a meeting of the Eurogroup that includes finance ministers from just the Eurozone. Prior to the meeting, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said that officials will be discussing the bailout timeline for Greece and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated that they expect positive results from the talks on Greek aid today.
A press conference is scheduled for 10:30 London time.
At 11:15, the rest of the European Union's (EU) finance ministers are expected to join their counterparts at the Ecofin meeting. They will receive a debriefing from the Eurogroup and have a working lunch focused on "Europe's social problem and its implications for economic growth".
Simultaneously, a working lunch is being held for central bank governors. After yesterday's Eurozone inflation data hit its lowest rate since 2009, Dijsselbloem reportedly commented that European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi will be updating ministers on the state of inflation.
Prior to Monday's meeting, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn mentioned his concern about low levels of inflation. "I am concerned about a possibility of having a prolonged period of low inflation in the Eurozone, because this would negatively affect the rebalancing process of the Eurozone economy", Rehn said.
Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos remarked before the meeting that he was certain the ECB would act, though he denied that there was a problem of deflation in Europe. "I see the problem as being one of very, very low inflation", he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, EU finance ministers will hold a working session starting at 13:30 London time in which they plan to discuss the economic outlook, growth prospects and financial stability. Also on the agenda is a discussion on financing the economy along with preparing for the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring meetings and a later gathering of G20 finance ministers.
A press conference is scheduled for 16:00.
Afterwards, Ecofin will meet with the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) for a half-hour gathering. FEMIP's overall objective is to support EU policies regarding the modernization and opening-up of the Mediterranean partner countries' economies.
A press conference is also scheduled for after this short meeting at 17:30 London time.
On Wednesday, Ecofin reconvenes at 7:15 for their second working session which will focus on the EU banking union. Amidst the agenda items, finance ministers will discuss banking structure reform and examine the current state of agreements on the single resolution mechanism (SRM) designed for the orderly winding-down of troubled banks.
A press conference is scheduled for 10:00 London time.