After two frenetic days in Beijing, where together with the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem I had a number of fruitful discussions with the Chinese authorities, on 16 January I began a short visit to Rome. Needless to say, there is a striking contrast between the capital of the world’s largest emerging economy, a place of constant transformation for the past three decades, and the timeless majesty of the ‘Eternal City’.
The Spanish financial sector programme formally concludes after 18 months.
"First of all, we need to recall that the roots of the crisis lie in macroeconomic imbalances that were built up over the previous decade. The macroeconomic adjustment programmes did not mark the beginning of the crisis, but a start of its resolution. The programmes prevented disorderly defaults with all the devastating economic and social consequences that would have entailed."
Extraordinary meeting on the work of the Troika in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus : extracts from the Hearing of Olli REHN at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
The Commission has replied to the European Parliament's questionnaire supporting the own initiative report 'evaluating the structure, the role and operations of the Troika actions in euro area programme countries'. Vice President Rehn will participate in a hearing in this context on 12 January in Strasbourg.
Already two-thirds of cash payments in shops were made in euro only on the fourth changeover day (Saturday 4 January).
Virtually all customers (95 %) were also getting their change in euro.
By the end of Thursday, 2 January 30 % of payments in shops were made in euro only and 94 % of customers were getting their change in euro.
"I want to very warmly welcome Latvia to the euro. Your efforts have paid off and your country's strong economic recovery offers a clear message of encouragement to other European countries undergoing a difficult economic adjustment. Joining the euro marks the completion of Latvia's journey back to the political and economic heart of our continent, and that is something for all of us to celebrate."
"President, Honourable Members,
One issue critical to opening up the bottlenecks of growth in Europe is access to finance of SMEs.
We have worked hard to put together a truly bold initiative to counter the fragmentation of financial markets and reduce the borrowing costs of European SMEs, because there is no economic growth without credit growth."
I welcome today’s publication of the independent assessment of the health and resilience of the Slovenian banking sector. This was identified by the Council as an urgent priority in order for Slovenia to address its excessive macroeconomic imbalances.
"Let me say that we very broadly agree with the IMF’s assessment of the recent developments and challenges facing the euro area, which we discussed this evening. I note the Fund’s conclusion that policy actions in the euro area and at national level have set the stage for the recovery. And I very much concur with the IMF that the challenge now is to move beyond stabilisation and secure a strong and durable economic recovery. This means staying the course of economic reform and completing the reconstruction of the Eurozone."
"I believe in evolution instead of revolution. I believe Progressives are indeed needed to modernise Europe's economic and social model. Not nostalgically clinging to the status quo, since that would only lead to a permanent economic decline of Europe.
Not dismantling the European model, because we believe in the combination of entrepreneurial drive, stability culture and social justice.
But instead, genuinely reforming and modernising Europe's economies and societies for the sake of sustainable growth and job creation, and for the sake of future generations.
Thank you very much for your attention."
"The signs of an economic turnaround are increasing week by week. But as growth will pick up only gradually and its translation into much needed jobs will take time, we cannot and must not fall into any kind of complacency. Further decisive action to boost sustainable growth and job creation will continue to be necessary in Europe. This calls for staying the course of reform."
"Today's package marks a milestone in Europe's reinforced economic governance. The last few years have seen big improvements in the EU's economic governance. We have introduced a coherent annual cycle of budgetary policy and structural policy in Europe, with more integrated steps for the euro area."
"With our opinions on national budgetary plans, we support the euro area Member States in their pursuit of stronger growth and fiscal sustainability."
"Today is a good day for Ireland and the Irish people. It provides clear evidence that determined implementation of a comprehensive reform agenda can decisively turn around a country's economic fortunes and put it back on a path of sustainable growth and rising employment."
"Today's package is all about growth, about building a strong and sustainable recovery, especially in terms of employment. In this context, the Alert Mechanism Report is a very important tool for advancing the necessary reforms. Through this tool, we identify those Member States that merit a closer analysis to find out whether they are experiencing macroeconomic imbalances which could hinder growth both within and beyond their borders."
Growth map 2014 presented by Vice President Rehn
Speech by Vice-President Olli Rehn "Autumn Forecasts: Gradual recovery, external risks" at the Press Conference on the Autumn Economic Forecasts in Brussels.