The EU and Japan were nearing a trade deal on Saturday, but there were still gaps to overcome as two of America's biggest economic competitors look to bolster international commerce.
The framework of an agreement was within reach, according to Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, adding that he was willing to go to Brussels to complete the pact before next weekend's G20 summit.
Overlapping or replacing NATO? The European Union is set to unveil proposals today for a new European defense union.
The "nature of the trans-Atlantic relationship is evolving," the EU's executive arm will say in a "reflection paper" on the future of the bloc's defense. "More than ever, Europeans need to take greater responsibility for their own security."
Europe "must really take our fate into our own hands," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, underlining her frustration following the G7 and NATO meetings last week.
"I have experienced this in the last few days," she declared. Europe should act "of course in friendship with the U.S., Great Britain, as good neighbors wherever possible, also with Russia, also with other countries. But we must fight for our future ourselves."
A free trade deal with the U.K. can be discussed before final terms of Brexit are agreed, according to EU President Donald Tusk, but this can only happen if "sufficient progress" is made resolving topics such as borders and budgets.
"All 27 [EU member states] want and will be united during the negotiations," he added. "It means that they should discuss only with the 27 as a unity... this is the only way to achieve anything during this very difficult process."
Mike Pence is meeting with EU council president Donald Tusk in Brussels, where he expressed the American desire for "the continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union."
It's yet another round of diplomacy for the U.S. Vice President. He also met with Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, who said the U.S. needs a strong EU and now is not the time for the bloc to divide itself.
Sweden's central bank held its main interest rate steady at -0.5% today, citing Brexit uncertainty as a reason to delay future rate hikes.
The Swedish economy continues to strengthen, but there is "considerable uncertainty" over developments abroad, the Riksbank said, adding that government bond purchases will continue during the second half of 2016.
Sweden's central bank is buying more bonds to drive down longer yields as policy makers try to fight currency gains that threaten to undermine their efforts to rekindle inflation.
The Riksbank left its benchmark repo rate at -0.5%, but added 45B kronor ($5.6B) to its quantitative easing program, including inflation linked bonds, to be purchased during the second half of the year.
Sweden's currency is gaining against the dollar in the wake of the announcement.
Sweden's central bank has lowered its key interest rate even further below zero, saying it's prepared to use its full toolbox of measures as it battles to revive inflation and keep the krona from appreciating.
"Uncertainty regarding global developments is still high, with low inflation and several central banks pursuing more expansionary monetary policy," the Riksbank said.
The repo rate was reduced from -0.35% to -0.50%, while government bond purchases will continue as planned for the first six months of 2016.
Sweden's central bank has kept its key lending rate unchanged at a record-low of -0.35% and refrained from boosting it bond purchasing program in a bet that a surge in growth will propel the economy out of three years of zero inflation.
"Developments in the Swedish economy have been somewhat stronger than expected, while uncertainty remains globally," the bank said. "There has been an upward trend in inflation since last year, but it is not yet on a firm footing."
The Riksbank's outlook for rates to first rise in early 2017 was also kept unchanged.
Sweden's central bank unexpectedly lowered its main interest rate deeper into negative levels today and expanded its bond purchases to the end of the year, saying uncertainty abroad had increased and it was difficult to assess the consequences of the situation in Greece.
The repo rate was cut to -0.35% from -0.25%, while the country expanded its bond purchasing program by 45B kronor ($5.3B) to the end of year, adding to the 80B-90B kronor that was already announced.
Now up 17% YTD, the Stoxx Europe 600 this week had its highest close since 2000, and is just 1% shy of its all-time high hit in March 2000.
The big move has early-year bulls like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup scrambling to lift their year-end targets.
"There’s something much more sustainable here,” says a strategist in London. “Sentiment was bearish in the eurozone for a long, long time. It’s just starting to change.” Indeed. Recent BAML fund manager surveys show bullishness on European stocks has reached uncharted territory.