Economic and Financial Affairs Council:
Extracts from the arrivals and doorsteps
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - EC/Berlaymont
End production: 09/07/2013 First transmission: 09/07/2013
Today, the ECOFIN Council is due to adopt country-specific recommendations to the member states on their economic and employment policies, following general endorsement by the European Council.
It is expected to allow Latvia to join the euro as from 1 January 2014, and for that purpose set a permanent conversion rate for the Latvian lats against the euro. The Lithuanian presidency's work programme, G20 finance meetings and market abuse are amongst the other items on the agenda.
Over lunch, ministers will meet their counterparts from the candidate countries – Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland and Serbia – to discuss economic policy. The Commission will hold an official reception in the afternoon to celebrate Latvia joining the euro area.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||SOUNDBITE by Margrethe Vestager, Danish Minister for Economics and the Interior (In English) saying that: Being a non Euro country I think it would take a while before we would have a referendum in Denmark about entering the Eurozone. I think that it's very positive that they have both economic background and strength to do it but also the willingness to say that we will be there.
(On trade talks): This is not on the table of the ECOFIN today, but I think everyone is very hopeful for the trade talks because the prospects of growth are very important for all of us in Europe
||George Osborne, Uk Minister of the Exchequer (2 shots)
||Harris Georgiades, Cyprus Minister of Finance 2 shots)
||Michael Noonan, Irish Minister for Finance
||Fabrizio Saccomanni, Italian Minister of Economy and Finance (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Luc Frieden, Luxembourgish Minister for Finance (In German) saying that: Yesterday's decision was the right one because we are in the middle of a procedure and this procedures means that each side must fulfill their obligations, Greece has said that only some things remain to be done over the coming days and we on the other hand will help Greece further.
||SOUNDBITE by Rimantas Šadžius, Lithuanian Minister for Finance and President in office of the Council (In English) saying that: First and foremost my interest is to hear reactions of my colleagues to our program of presidency. I think we need to adjust clocks, to see what is the most important, what is perhaps a bit less important so as to go to our goals that I inscribed in our presidency program, a growing and open Europe which is not only I think Lithuania's goal but the goal of all our community. So discussion on the program will take some time and I think I will hear many important ideas of other questions which I think are very important in today's meeting is adoption of Euro in Latvia. I think we must not underestimate the importance of this event although we had long discussions about that, it is already like a common knowledge that Latvians will have Euro from the 1st January 2014; I think this is really the proof that European economic model is viable, that European project is viable and we must put all of our efforts to improve the conditions and this is important not only for us Europeans but I think for the whole world as well.
||SOUNDBITE by Maria Fekter, Austrian Federal Minister for Finance (In German) saying that: We have recommended Greece to conform to the requirements, to move forward with delayed reforms by mid-July, the Greek minister has acknowledged that, but we will control the process in detail and we have made the money available not in whole but in tranches in order to be able to conduct this control, for example regarding positions reduction in the public sector, progress with privatizations, structural reforms implementation that will allow for growth.
||Brian Hayes, Irish Minister of State at the Department of Finance
||SOUNDBITE by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Minister of Finance (In English) saying that: Greece is very gradually coming out of the crisis, the budget is doing very well, the economy is also gradually recovering, we hope for some economic growth next year for Greece which is a very remarkable recovery really. On the other side, further reforms will be necessary, there are difficult there are asking a lot from the Greek people, yet are necessary to modernize economy for Greece to become more competitive and to get out of the crisis on a structural basis so I'm quite optimistic there.
||SOUNDBITE by Andris Vilks, Latvian Minister for Finance (In English) saying that: Those hard times which lasted at least several years doesn't matter so much because I think we did our job and we see a lot of benefits in mid and long term in spite of today somehow maybe not so good environment but we are going forward because we know how important this is going; it's a very important angle for very small and open economies especially even neighbours have Euro, I mean Finland, Estonia and Lithuania have joined so we are very confident with the Euro and we are ahead of the cycle, we are not so anymore concerned with austerity, we are expanding, we are growing, we have different structures of economy, we can present our experience to other countries as well.
||Giannis Stournaras, Greek Minister of Finance
||SOUNDBITE by Luis De Guindos, Spanish Minister of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness (In Spanish) saying that: Yesterday there was an agreement. A specific schedule of payments has been established. There have been a series of commitments by the Greek government to carry out before the end of July. There was no discussion really important. The Troika stated his position in relation to the situation in Greece. The Greek government analyzed this position and pledged to take action over these weeks.