Ecofin Council: arrivals
End production: 20/01/2009 First transmission: 20/01/2009
The first meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) under the auspices of the Czech Presidency was held on 20 January 2009 in Brussels.
Miroslav Kalousek, Czech Minister for Finance and President in office of the Council, opened the meeting and presented the Ecofin Council programme during the Czech Presidency.
The Ministers then discussed the tasks following the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 11-12 December 2008 in Brussels. They mainly focused on the European Economic Recovery Plan.
Another point on the agenda was the strategy for the 2009 economic and budgetary policy with regard to the current economic and financial situation, as well as the implementation of the European Economic Recovery Plan. The results of the discussion will represent an important input for the assessment of the stability and convergence programmes of the EU Member States, as well as for the progress of the Lisbon Strategy. They will also be important background material for the preparation of the document on key economic and financial issues for the Spring European Council.
The Council was then informed about the introduction of the euro in Slovakia.
The Ministers were also expected to consider the report on the state of progress of the Western Balkans Investment Framework, the initiative aimed at creating the necessary infrastructure for the harmonisation and coordination of instruments of financial assistance for the region.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Miroslav Kalousek, Czech Minister for Finance and President in office of the Council, and statement (in CZECH) on the Czech discussion paper related to the consolidation of public finances; saying that it is an initiative of the Czech Presidency; they want to point out that short-term spending is bounded by the principle of fair competition; public aid must be transparent; they must voice a pledge to go back to consolidated public deficits as soon as possible; saying that the Council should give a clear signal on that issue.
||Arrival of Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Luxembourg, and President of the Eurogroup
||Arrival of Josef Pröll, Austrian Federal Minister for Finance
||Arrival of Pedro Solbes Mira, Spanish Minister for Economy and Finance
||Arrival of Giulio Tremonti, Italian Minister for Economy and Finance
||Arrival of Wouter Bos, Dutch Minister for Finance, and statement (in ENGLISH) on the financial crisis; saying that what should be their priority is to get the financial system work again; but even if it works again, there will still be big industries suffering or entrepreneurs who are going bankrupt; but that is the way the world works.
||Arrival of Neelie Kroes, Member of the EC in charge of Competition
||Arrival of Philippe Maystadt, President of the European Investment Bank
||Arrival of Peer Steinbrück, German Federal Minister for Finance, and statement (in GERMAN) on the German stimulus package (3 shots)
||Arrival of Ján Počiatek, Slovak Minister for Finance