Finance ministers from the euro area met in Brussels today - their first such meeting since the UK referendum on leaving the European Union.

The impact of the Brexit vote on the euro area economy featured in discussions, as did a stand-off with Italy over recapitalising a number of banks.

It was not a formal agenda item, but the Brexit vote has been discussed at every European meeting in recent times, and this Eurogroup was no exception.

It featured in a discussion on the economic situation in the Euro area, which has been impacted by the British referendum result.

One sign of that impact was seen as the OECD announced it is suspending publication of its composite leading indicators series until September, because of the unreliability of data currently being gathered.

Ministers also discussed the growing risk to financial stability from the stand-off with Italy over bailing out a number of distressed banks.

Since the start of the year a new EU-wide regime for resolving banks that run into difficulty – including burning bondholders – has been in place, but the Italian government wants to use its own taxpayer-owned bailout fund.

But the main agenda item, both today and at tomorrow’s ECOFIN council, is a decision on whether to proceed with a sanctions process against Spain and Portugal for failing to bring their government deficits below 3% within the required time.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said negotiations between the EU and Britain following its decision to leave the bloc will be difficult.

"We will have difficult negotiations with Britain, it will not be easy," Ms Merkel told a rally of her conservatives in eastern Germany.

"But that is why we as 27 member states must ask 'how should our Europe look?' And there, I think everyone can say how much bureaucracy there is," she added.

Hungarian PM blames Commission for crisis

Earlier, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blamed the European Commission for the crisis engulfing Europe and called for member states to take back powers from Brussels.

In a newspaper editorial for Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mr Orban called for the end of the "idealisation of the European project" - pointing to Brexit as evidence of the commission's failings.

He claims to have personally helped save Europe and the lifestyle of its people by closing Hungary's borders to migrants, adding that the balance of power within the EU should be altered to favour nation states over European institutions.

He blamed the crises engulfing the EU on the opening of the EU's borders and excessive deficit spending by some member states "with the silent assent" of the commission, which he claims should have prevented both.

The two greatest European achievements, the common currency and the single market which is protected by the Schengen free-movement area, have both been endangered, he writes.

Mr Orban drew the ire of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker by refusing to accept his proposal for a system to resettle migrants arriving in Europe across the bloc via a quota system.

Mr Orban has been the most vocal eastern European opponent to admitting Muslim migrants, saying in October that "Islam has never been part of Europe".