There was agreement at today’s ECOFIN Council on the guidelines the Council will provide to the Commission in respect of the 2014 Budget. There was also agreement on Council conclusions in respect of the annual growth survey and the alert mechanism report which is part of the European Semester process.
The Council also heard from Christine Lagarde of the IMF on its analysis of the EU’s financial stability.
This is the second ECOFIN Council of the Irish Presidency of the European Union chaired by Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan TD.
A decision was taken by the Council to forward its guidelines to the European Commission in respect of the 2014 EU Budget. The guidelines set our guiding principles and orientations for the Commission to consider when it drafts the annual Budget for 2014. The Council also agreed to recommend to the European Parliament to grant discharge to the Commission for the manner in which the 2011 annual budget has been spent. This discussion was based on the European Court of Auditors annual report for 2011.
This ECOFIN Council represented an opportunity to advance the processes for economic stability, input into the 2014 Budget process and take stock of work to date on the banking union agenda.
The Council also agreed guidelines in respect of the Annual Growth Survey and the Alert Mechanism Report and in both cases these guidelines will now be forwarded for consideration at the Spring European Council (14-15 March).
The Council heard from Christine Lagarde of the IMF on their analysis of the EU’s financial stability. This represents the first time the IMF has prepared this report on the EU under their Financial Sector Assessment Programme. This was followed by a useful discussion.
The fact that Russia has chosen growth as the theme of their Presidency of the G20 fits in well with Irish Presidency objectives and it is now clear that the need to increase economic growth and employment is a dominant theme across all economies.
The meeting also included:
- an update from the Presidency on financial services dossiers (CRD IV and banking supervision legislative proposals; market abuse directive/regulation and markets in financial instruments directive) and economic surveillance measures (“two pack”)
- an endorsement of the terms of reference for the G20 Finance Ministers and Governors meeting in Moscow on 15-16 February
- an exchange of views on the adoption of conclusions in respect of the Fiscal Sustainability Report 2012