Economic and Financial Affairs Council: extracts from the press conference by Michael NOONAN, Minister for Finance of Ireland and Olli REHN, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council / Justus Lipsius
End production: 12/02/2013 First transmission: 12/02/2013
The European Ministers For Finance, meeting today in Brussels, adopted conclusions on three reports from the European Commission, namely the annual growth survey, an alert mechanism report and a fiscal sustainability report.
Ministers also set priorities for the EU's budget for 2014 and adopted a recommendation on the budget discharge for 2011.
Terms of reference for a February G-20 Finance Ministers' meeting were also on the agenda, and more particularly the issue of exchange rates, on which the G7 issued a joint statement earlier today clarifying the joint position of all partners.
On numerous occasions, the G20 has reaffirmed its members' shared interest in a strong and stable international financial system, with market-oriented exchange rates reflecting economic fundamentals.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Michael Noonan, Irish Minister for Finance, and of Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, at the press conference (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Michael Noonan on the sustainability of public finances in the EU, saying that the Council recognised the challenges facing Member States as they prepare their budgets, trying to balance fiscal consolidation with economic growth and job creation. A stable environment is essential for job creation and the focus of all Member States remains on promoting jobs and economic growth at home and across Europe. The Council also looked at the European Commission's alert mechanism report on macro-economic imbalances in the EU. The European Commission has identified a number of countries where imbalances exist. The Council called on all Member States to make every effort to correct these imbalances.
||Cutaways of press (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Michael Noonan on the issue of exchange rates, saying that in the course of the meeting, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne distributed the G7 statement, as the UK is holding the presidency (of G7) this year. Interesting intervention in the context of the G20. The statement reaffirms that it is the policy of the G7 not to use exchange rate policy as an instrument for domestic and economic correction, and that G7 countries advocate that domestic policy instruments would continue to be used.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Olli Rehn on Cypriot banks, saying that the Commission's intention is to ensure a fair burden-sharing of the cost of restructuring and resolution of Cypriot banks. This should be done in line with the EU State aid rules. (The Commission and Cypriot authorities) are working in order to find a solution that ensures both debt sustainability and financial stability in Cyprus. Such solution should ensure financial stability in Cyprus and in the rest of the euro zone. Discussions are ongoing with this framework. The memorandum has been negotiated quite far. Troika teams are working actively in order to finalise all the preparations. Saying that he trusts that a decision on the comprehensive package shall be taken in the course of March, as previously indicated.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Olli Rehn on the issue of exchange rates, saying that exchange rates, in the views of G7 and probably G20, should reflect economic fundamentals and be market-based. If it is the case, it should help building a more stable international monetary system, in other words a system which is reflecting basic economic fundamentals.