2940th session of the Ecofin Council: extracts from the press conference by Miroslav Kalousek, Czech Minister for Finance and President in office of the Council, Joaquín Almunia and Charlie McCreevy
The 2940th session of the Ecofin Council took place in Brussels on 5 May. The Ministers for Finance of the European Union agreed on the importance of an exit strategy to the current economic and financial crisis.
Miroslav Kalousek, Czech Minister for Finance and President in office of the Council echoed concerns that the European Commission expressed the day before when its quarterly forecasts showed that EU Member States deficits are widening sharply. "We are all very well aware that we need to go back to sustainable public finances", he told journalists.
The commission Monday said the 16 countries that use the euro will have an average deficit of 5.3% of gross domestic product this year, well above the bloc's 3% limit. The whole 27-state bloc is expected to have an average deficit of 6% of GDP this year, up from 0.6% of GDP in 2007.
The Ministers failed to reach a deal on minimum tobacco taxes but will continue to discuss the issue at their next meeting in June.
Miroslav Kalousek together with Joaquín Almunia, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs, and Charlie McCreevy, Member of the EC in charge of Internal Market and Services Affairs, held a joint press conference to issue the Council's results. SHOTLISTLINK