EcoFin Council : extracts from the press conference
Première transmission: 03/06/2008
Luxembourg (town), Luxembourg - Council
Fin de production: 03/06/2008
European Union finance ministers approved today the accession of Slovakia to the single currency by 2009 saying that the country has fulfilled all the criteria for joining the euro. They also closed the deficit procedure against Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and Commissioner Joaquín Almunia announced that the European Commission would soon ask ministers to also lift sanctions against Poland. This will leave only Hungary facing formal criticism for breaking the EU budget rules.
Ministers talk also about the rise of food prices. The President-office of the Council, Andrej Bajuk, said that more should be done to increase the production, included for biofuels. He rejected the Italian idea of creating an special taxation for oil companies.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the press conference room
||Andrej Bajuk, Slovenian Minister for Finance and President in office of the Council, saying (in SLOVENIAN) on food prices, that on the long term, agriculture needs to be more market oriented and the CAP has to follow this principle; that they have to sustain the development of biofuels, and increase productivity as well; that they are not saying that they should limit the research on biofuel but at the same time they have to increase productivity not only in agriculture at large but in terms of biofuels as well.
||Joaquín Almunia, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs, saying (in ENGLISH) that the assessment has been positive; Slovakia according to their assessment and fulfill all the criteria established in the Treaty, both the legal and the economic criteria.
||Cutaway of journalists attending the press conference
||Joaquín Almunia saying (in ENGLISH) that they have asked the Slovakian authorities to closely monitor the evolution of inflation in its country and to be ready to adopt all kind of measures to avoid that the inflationary environment can create distortions and difficulties in their inflation rate once the Slovakian Koruna will join the Euro.
||Joaquín Almunia saying (in ENGLISH) that only two countries remain on excessive deficit procedure at EU level: Poland and Hungary; that Poland will receive from their side a proposal for the derogation of the excessive deficit and he hopes the Ecofin will also endorse their proposals; that in this case, only Hungary will remain with a deficit above 3%.
||Andrej Bajuk saying (in ENGLISH) on the idea of taxing oil companies, that they will not use tax policy to solve that as a short term measure; that what they believe is that they are confronted now to a long term problem which changes the structure of relative prices and as such calls for a reallocation of resources in each country in his own way; that he would like to remember that the Manchester agreement called for targeted and temporary measures to help the people in need and those who have more difficulties in dealing with this.
||Charlie McCreevy, Member of the EC in charge of Internal Market and Services, saying (in ENGLISH) that as they have repeated, a truly integrated European financial market is not possible without an integrated post-trading market.
||Cutaways (2 shots)