Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN):
all arrivals and doorsteps
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council
End production: 21/02/2012 First transmission: 21/02/2012
the Council will be called on to agree a general approach on two proposals
aimed at further improving economic governance in the euro area. It will also hold a preliminary
discussion on an alert mechanism report, to be presented by the Commission, for the early detection
of macroeconomic imbalances.
The Council is expected to adopt conclusions providing guidance to the member states, under this
year's European Semester, for tackling macroeconomic and fiscal challenges.
It is expected to adopt (without discussion) a regulation aimed at harmonising rules for short
selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps.
Amongst the other items on its agenda, the Council will adopt conclusions on priorities for the EU's
2013 budget and (without discussion) on climate change.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Miroslav Kalousek, Czech Minister for Finance
||SOUNDBITE by Margrethe Vestager, Danish Minister for Economics and the Interior and President-in-office of the Council (In English) saying that: It's a very tough agreement; it has a balance between solidarity and discipline, it has a lot of steps ahead of us so I think that the way it is constructed is not just an agreement on paper on night in Brussels, it's a way of handling the Greek economy's problems.
Journalist: As you said it's very strict so don't you think that the Greek people will maybe make a lot demonstrations later because now Europe is there with the taskforce imposing things.
It's a very critical time in European history, not only for Greeks and of course there will be a lot of conflicts because it's a very hush economic plan and of course there will be a lot of debate and conflict and this is politics but of course I hope it will also be a way to a solution for the Greek economy.
||Gyula Pleschinger, Hungarian Minister of State, Ministry for the National Economy
||Jan Vincent Rostowski, Polish Minister for Finance
|| Klaus Regling, Chief Executive Officer of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)
||SOUNDBITE by Maria Fekter, Austrian Minister for Finance (In German) saying that: At the beginning of the meeting yesterday we were still far from an agreement concerning Greece. But with two big efforts we have made a deal on two packages. So in the early morning we could say that we have within the limits of 120 and 130.
The atmosphere at the meeting was constructive, result oriented. But it was of course difficult to get all the Eurozone countries on the same track.
For Austria I welcome that we were not the only one to take a interest rate reduction. Now all countries must take a interest rate reduction.
About interest rate reduction: We will not lose any money, but we will earn a bit less.
||SOUNDBITE by Luis Sz Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness
||Anders BORG, Swedish Minister for Finance
||Michel Barnier, Member of the EC in charge of Internal Market and Services
||Jan Kees De Jager, Dutch Minister for Finance
||SOUNDBITE by George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (In English) saying that: Greece is taking some very difficult decisions to face up to its own debt; We have got the Eurozone collectively standing behind their currency which is what Britain has urged them to do all along. Of course, resolving the Greek situation is only part of resolving Eurozone crisis but I think we took a really significant step towards that last night and that is good for Britain because resolving the Eurozone crisis will be the biggest boost Britain will get for its economy this year.
The important thing about this deal is that they have tried to get Greece into a reasonable place. That has been a crucial missing ingredient.
They have made real progress now towards a sustainable debt position for Greece. Of course the Greek political system has to deliver real difficult decisions now. But I do not think that Greece has any other option.
The other significant point about last night was that the rest of the Eurozone signalled willingness to stand behind their currency and behind Greece; and frankly all along, the failure to deal with the Greek situation as cause the uncertainty. Hopefully we can all move on now.