These three things will change the world today.
1. European Central Bank meets to discuss policy
The European Central Bank (ECB) is meeting today to discuss its monetary policy.
With a backdrop including the elections in France and the Netherlands, the ECB is expected to keep monetary policy on hold instead of tightening it.
The outlook for the bloc is improving, as unemployment is at its lowest since 2009 and trade, services and manufacturing output are all rising.
In addition, inflation is back at the bank’s target of around 2 percent for the first time since 2013.
There are concerns about the elections in France and the Netherlands as the upsurge in populist movements, particularly the popularity of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in France, could derail the EU’s recovery.
Pernille Bomholdt Henneberg, senior analyst at Danske Bank, told Market Watch:
We expect the ECB to maintain its dovish stance at the meeting this week, although inflation has reached the 2% target. The reason why we do not expect the ECB to react to the stronger inflation figure is that it is driven by the volatile energy and unprocessed food price inflation, whereas the underlying price pressure remains weak. The ECB has said it will not change its monetary policy based on such a rise in inflation.”
As well, the ECB will release its new staff forecasts for inflation and GDP growth at the meeting today. Forecasts for GDP are expected to stay the same, with 2017 growth predicted to be 1.7 percent, going down to 1.6 percent in 2018 and 2019.
2. May attends last EU leaders summit in Brussels before Brexit
As the EU Brussels summit begins today, it is prime minister Theresa May’s last EU leaders’ summit before the triggering of Article 50.
The summit will bring together leaders from the 28 countries in the EU to discuss economic growth, migration and security. May is expected to push EU leaders for action to deal with an expected rise in refugees and migrants coming to Europe, by crossing the Mediterranean, as the weather improves.
Brexit isn’t on the agenda to be discussed, though it is likely to come up as May is planning to trigger Article 50 and the formal process for Britain to leave the EU before the end of March.
There are other issues surrounding the latest summit. There is controversy regarding the European Council’s current leader Donald Tusk, whose two and a half year term is set to end in May, and leaders are expected to vote on whether he should continue this role until the end of November 2019.
However, Poland’s prime minister Beata Syzdlo has written to other European leaders, asking them to oust Tusk in a vote at the beginning of the summit.
Syzdlo has accused Tusk of interfering in domestic politics.
3. The first day of the Geneva Motor Show
The International Geneva Motor Show officially begins today bringing together the world’s automakers to demonstrate the new and exciting vehicles and prototypes they have to offer.
At this year’s show the big focus is on autonomous and electric vehicles, a way for carmakers to showcase their vision for the future. Airbus has already hit the headlines by attempting to do this with its own version of a flying car.
Though it is only at concept stage, Mathias Thomsen from Airbus told the Telegraph that the company is on course to make the technology a reality in the “next five to 10 years.”
Luxury car brands like to go all out at the show too. Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini are expected to demonstrate their new upgraded vehicles that are faster and more powerful than last year’s offering.