Economic gloom overshadows euro finance ministers meeting
BRUSSELS (AFP) - Eurozone finance ministers meet on Monday against the backdrop of a weak economy and increased political uncertainty after inconclusive polls in Italy, the group's third largest economy.
If there has been some relief as the debt crisis eased in recent months, the political impasse in Italy "will colour the perception of what ministers will be discussing," an EU official told a briefing.
Data on Friday showed eurozone unemployment at record highs and consumer demand in the doldrums, meaning the 17 euro nations will be anxious to know what damage has been done to the efforts to cut debt and stabilise public finances.
There will be "a lively debate" on the economic outlook as the budget deficit numbers come in, the official said, with most attention focused on France and whether it will get another year from the EU to put its fiscal books in order.