The complete collection of ECFIN Headlines, as featured on our homepage.
In September 2015, the Economic Sentiment and Business Climate Indicators both showed improvements in the euro area and the EU at large.
Taxes can do more than just fund public services; they can also support growth, employment, investment, economic competitiveness and social fairness. Find out how the European Commission encourages smarter taxation.
The consumer confidence indicator showed a decrease in the EU, while remaining broadly stable in the euro area compared to August.
In August 2015, the BCI for the euro area decreased (by 0.20 points to +0.21), while the ESI went up a notch in the EU (+0.4 points to 107.0).
The European Commission signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greece for a new stability support programme late on Wednesday 19 August. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Europe's firewall established in 2012 in response to the global financial crisis, will be able to disburse up to EUR 86 billion in loans over the next three years, provided that Greek authorities implement reforms to address fundamental economic and social challenges, as specified in the MoU.
In July, improved euro-area sentiment resulted from higher confidence in industry, services and retail trade. Meanwhile, the Business Climate Indicator has risen 0.14 points.
Staff teams from the IMF and the Commission, in liaison with the ECB, visited Nicosia during July 14-24 2015 to review Cyprus’s economic reform programme.
The teams have reached staff-level agreement on policies that could serve as a basis for completion of the review.
This July, the flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator decreased markedly in both the EU (by 1.6 points to -4.9) and the euro area (by 1.5 points to -7.1) compared to June.
A package of measures agreed today will ensure that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is up and running by early autumn 2015.
After all-night discussions, eurozone leaders have come to agreement on a new reform package for Greece.
Following the results of the Greek referendum, Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis made these remarks.
Our previous publication structure has been overhauled and streamlined – the original eight series have now been reorganised into 4 series! Visit the publication page for more.
European Commission staff visited Romania to conduct a review of the precautionary EU balance of payments financial assistance programme (2013-15).
Important steps have been taken in some areas and the macroeconomic situation is strong.
To shift economic growth into a higher gear and create more jobs, we need to invest more in the real economy. The European Union is helping countries and businesses to work as a team; identifying priorities and engineering solutions. A core part of this strategy is the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe, which should mobilise 315 billion euros of investment over the next three years.
Plans were revealed on how to deepen the Economic and Monetary Union as of 1 July 2015 and how to complete it by latest 2025.
Staff from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank, visited Portugal from 4 to 12 June to conduct the second post-programme surveillance mission. This visit also served as specific monitoring in the framework of the EU Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure.
The European Commission adopted on 27 May a report on the introduction of the euro in Lithuania. This report covers the most important aspects of the changeover process from an ex post perspective, acknowledging that the changeover in Lithuania was well prepared and smoothly implemented. The report also draws some useful conclusions for future changeovers in other Member States.
EU legislators successfully concluded negotiations on the Regulation for a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. This means that the Fund will become operational and start financing projects at the end of the summer.
Today in Riga, European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, Ukraine's Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeria Gontareva signed a Memorandum of Understanding and loan agreement for the third EU Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme to Ukraine.
Following the recent visit to Nicosia by teams from the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, in liaison with the European Central Bank, to review Cyprus's economic reform programme, staff-level agreement has been reached on policies that could serve as a basis for completion of the review.
The Commission published today new recommendation under the Excessive Deficit Procedure for Finland, Malta, Poland and the United Kingdom.
The Ageing Report, released every three years, explores the impact that demographic changes will have on the economy of the EU.
Pierre Moscovici addresses Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.
As Europeans live longer and have fewer children, the proportion of elderly citizens will increase while the proportion of working-aged citizens will fall. This demographic evolution presents a challenge to our societies and our public finances that we need to prepare for.
The Commission, the ECB, and the IMF welcome the Cypriot authorities’ continued progress on their reform programme.
Staff-level agreement on the review will be possible as soon as all elements of the insolvency and foreclosure framework are available.
This report provides an assessment of Spain's economic, fiscal and financial situation and is based on the findings of visits to Madrid on 12-18 March and 14 April 2015 by staff from the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB). The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) participated in the meetings on aspects related to its own Early Warning System. The report also covers the specific monitoring by the Commission of policy progress in the context of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP).
The latest Eurobarometer survey carried out in seven non-euro area countries shows that a majority of citizens in four of them are in favour of introducing the common currency. In all seven countries, most think they will personally manage to adapt to the euro as their new currency.
Today the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, disbursed a loan of €100 million to Tunisia. This is the first of three such payments to be provided under the Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme approved by the EU in May 2014, totalling in €300 million.
Economic growth in the European Union is benefitting from short-term factors that are boosting an otherwise mild cyclical upswing.
Watch the press conference.
Staff from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank (ECB), visited Ireland to carry out the third post-programme surveillance (PPS) mission from 27 April to 1 May. This was coordinated with the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) third post-programme monitoring (PPM) mission.
Pierre Moscovici remarks on discussions surrounding Greece, Cyprus and Spain after the latest Eurogroup meeting.
This April, the flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator decreased in both the EU (by 0.4 points to -2.2) and the euro area (by 0.9 points to -4.6) compared to March.
Today the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced that it has approved up to €300 million in financing for the first four projects as part of the Investment Plan for Europe. It will cover R&D, health care, industrial innovation and transport projects.
In July 2015, the nine-teen euro-area countries will jointly issue a commemorative euro coin to celebrate 30 years of the EU flag. Euro-area citizens and residents are invited to select the winning design by public web-voting until 27 May 2015 at www.coin-competition.eu.
Europe's economies are interdependent and when one of them gets out of balance, it may affect others too. The European Commission works with countries to identify risks early on and correct them before they threaten the economic stability of the EU. Find out why this is important.
The Support Group for Cyprus published its 2nd report. The Support Group coordinates the technical assistance requested by Cyprus to help implement reforms from its economic adjustment programme and facilitate economic growth.
Staff from the European Commission, in liaison with the European Central Bank, carried out the third post-programme surveillance visit to Spain from 12-18 March. The European Stability Mechanism participated in the meetings on aspects related to its own Early Warning System.
Joint statement by Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Greece.
10th March: The Commission presents to the ECOFIN Council the Country Reports as part of the new streamlined European Semester of economic policy coordination.
On the 9th March there was a meeting of the Eurogroup to discuss the major issues facing the European economy. Afterwards, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici had these comments to offer.
The Commission recommends that no excessive deficit procedure is triggered for Belgium, Italy and Finland.
The Commission also recommends that France be given until 2017 to correct its excessive deficit.
All documents now available online.
In February, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose for the second month in a row. It increased by 0.7 points in the euro area (to 102.1) and by 0.4 points in the EU (to 105.1). The positive development in both regions was fuelled mainly by more optimistic consumers.
The Commission today sent a strong signal to Member States to carry out structural reforms and to continue consolidating their public finances.
"The Commission services have carefully reviewed the Greek government's reform proposals sent to you yesterday as President of the Eurogroup". Letter by Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici to the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
The Council discussed the Investment plan for Europe, growth prospects and macroeconomic imbalances and the EU budget.
The discussions covered Greece, Cyprus, the early repayment of Portugal's IMF loans, the economic situation in the euro area and deepening Economic and Monetary Union.
The European Commission, on behalf of the European Union (EU), today disbursed 100 million euros in the form of loans to Jordan.
This is the first tranche of the Macro-financial assistance (MFA) programme to Jordan, which amounts to 180 million euros in total.
Teams from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC) visited Bucharest to continue discussions on the third review under the precautionary IMF Stand-By Agreement and on the first review of Romania’s precautionary balance of payments programme… Read more
Staff teams from the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund visited Nicosia during January 27 to February 6. They discussed with the Cypriot authorities... Read more
The European Commission released its Winter Forecast today. The report – which forecasts a small level of growth across Europe – is an invaluable guide to EU and national policy makers as well as businesses.
A Eurobarometer survey conducted in Lithuania after the euro fully replaced Lithuanian litas shows that support for the common currency has increased while a substantial majority of citizens say the changeover happened smoothly and efficiently.
In January 2015, the DG ECFIN flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator increased slightly in both the euro area (by 0.6 points to 101.2) and the EU (by 0.5 points to 104.6).
Report on the second post-programme surveillance review for Ireland, and on recent economic developments and outlook for Ireland.
On 19 January, the Commission and the European Investment Bank launched fi-compass, a new advisory service on financial instruments for the European Structural and Investment Funds.
This service is an important part of the EU Investment Plan.
The Commission publishes guidance on how the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact will be applied to strengthen the link between structural reforms, investment and fiscal responsibility.
Today the Commission has proposed new macro-financial assistance to Ukraine of up to €1.8 billion in medium-term loans.
Read full press release.
The euro changeover in Lithuania is reaching its final stage. On 7 January, about every second person polled confirmed to have mostly or only euro cash in the wallet.
The dual circulation period will come to an end on 15 January 2015.
Economic Sentiment again stable in both the euro area and the EU.
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area decreased by 0.13 points to +0.04.
On 1 January 2015, Lithuania adopted the euro as its official currency and the changeover is running smoothly and according to plan.
By Saturday, 3 January, 89% of customers were getting their change in euro. No major problems were observed in banks or in the retail sector.
As from 1 January 2015, Lithuania is the newest member of the euro area to share the same currency with over 330 million people in 18 Member States of the European Union.
Read the full press release.
On 1st January 2015, Lithuania will become a full member of the euro area. Belonging to the euro area is much more than sharing a currency with other countries. It is about joining a community based on solidarity, responsibility and mutual benefits. To illustrate this, the Audiovisual Services of the European Commission have produced a stockshot.
The economic and financial conditions in Portugal have further improved since the end of the EU/IMF-supported programme in June 2014. Nevertheless, it is essential that the authorities implement with resolve further structural reforms, public finances continue to be consolidated in a durable manner and access to credit markets is maintained.
In December 2014, the DG ECFIN flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator increased slightly, by 0.6 points, in both the EU (to -7.5) and the euro area (to -10.9).
This report presents (i) recent developments in public finances; (ii) latest improvements in the EU budgetary surveillance framework; (iii) a comparison between budgetary targets in the planning and the implementation phase, and (iv) an assessment of the effectiveness of expenditure-based consolidations in ensuring sound public finances in the EU.
From the deepest economic crisis the world economy has seen since the great depression, Europe is emerging with new common institutions and a greater commitment to shared responsibility and solidarity. Understand why the crisis happened and how Europe responded.
Georgia can count on continuing support from the European Union.
Commissioner Moscovici signed on 11 December 2014 the Memorandum of Understanding for a €46 million Macro-Financial Assistance programme to Georgia.
"The Commission has set out the economic policy priorities in its Annual Growth Survey. We call for targeted investment, ambitious structural reforms and fiscal responsibility.", said VP Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference on 9 December.
"This is not just a one-off stimulus measure, but a structural plan - or structural reform – at European level." said VP Katainen. "It was very nice to hear the feedback from the ministers, who said that this whole comprehensive approach is exactly what is needed."
The Investment Plan is a triangle: liquidity, project pipeline, Single Market.
The European Commission closely monitors the economic situation throughout Europe. It helps governments to coordinate so that they all work together for the common good and it provides robust and independent assessments of national policies. Understand how it works.
The IMF and EC teams reached broad understanding with the authorities on the 2015 budget.
The draft budget is consistent with reaching the medium-term budgetary objective in 2015 while accommodating a faster absorption of EU funds.
"It has been agreed in principle that there will be a technical extension of the EFSF programme for two months." said Commissioner Moscovici. "The Commission also welcomes Greece’s intention to request an Enhanced Conditions Credit Line from the ESM."
The statement of the Eurogroup on Greece is available here.
Commissioner Moscovici welcomed the Eurogroup’s endorsement of the Commission’s Opinions on the Draft Budgetary Plans.
"This process increases the transparency of budgetary policy and I believe, it also reinforces the euro area dimension", said Mr. Moscovici.
This is the second and final loan tranche of the EU's €1 billion Macro-Financial Assistance programme for Ukraine.
Read the full press release.
Post-programme surveillance (PPS) followed the conclusion of the 2008-2010 EU balance of payments assistance programme in Nov 2010.
The Commission conducted the 6th PPS mission to Hungary in Nov 2014 to review recent economic and financial developments and policy initiatives.
The European Commission published today its opinions on the draft budgetary plans of euro area Member States.
5 countries are compliant, 4 are broadly compliant and 7 countries are at risk of non-compliance with the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact.
Based on a scoreboard of indicators, The Alert Mechanism Report is a filter to identify countries and issues for which a closer analysis (in-depth review) is deemed necessary.
It is the starting point of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure.
The lessons learned from the recent economic, financial and sovereign debt crises have led to important reforms of the EU's economic governance rules. Surveillance systems have been strengthened for budgetary and economic policies and a new budgetary timeline for the euro area has been introduced.
The European Commission today announced a € 315 billion Investment Plan to get Europe growing again and get more people back to work.
Lithuania's practical preparations for the changeover have now entered the final phase.
The Commssion published today a report looking at the preparations for the introduction of euro cash, the measures put in place for protecting consumers in the changeover period and the communication campaign.
The economic situation has continued to improve in Ireland since the end of the EU/IMF-financial assistance programme, with the recovery broadening.
The macroeconomic adjustment process needs to continue and important challenges remain: high unemployment, the debt overhang, and the on-going recovery in the banking sector.
On 14 November 2014, the European Commission hosted the Vienna Initiative Financial Forum on the Banking Sector in Ukraine.
Key stakeholders discuss ways to drive forward much-needed reforms in the financial sector.
The Commission and the ECB made an overall positive assessment.
Highlights: euro changeover completed, fiscal position is under control, financial sector strengthened & judiciary improved. However, crucial reforms need to be implemented with greater urgency.
The Forum reached key conclusions on reducing non-performing loans, credit guarantee schemes to enhance credit provision and close regulatory coordination between the institutions of the banking union.
On 12 November, Commissioner Moscovici addressed the European Parliament on the ambitious European Commission’s agenda to fight against tax fraud tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.
"European solidarity has helped Portugal get back on its feet after the country's deep economic crisis. The Commission continues to stand by the Portuguese people in these still difficult times.", said Commissioner Moscovici.
"We are helping the country address its urgent financing needs, while supporting an ambitious process of reforms to stabilise the economy and create the conditions for sustainable growth and employment in Ukraine.", said Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.
"There is no single, simple answer. There is no magic bullet. We need to use all available tools and do so without delay and with great energy.", said Mr. Moscovici.
Read the Opening remarks of Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
At the press conference following the ECOFIN meeting on 7 November, Commissioner Moscovici commented on the Parent Subsidiary Directive, the work of the G20 on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), the Standard VAT return proposal and the Financial Transactions Tax.
Economic and financial conditions in Portugal have generally improved since the end of the EU/IMF-supported programme in June. Progress in structural reforms has lost momentum.
Europe’s economic recovery has lost some momentum due to weak investment and external factors but public finances are improving and growth should pick up again as demand strengthens, structural reforms bear fruit and the legacies of the crisis fade.
Watch the live press conference at 11:00.
Economic Sentiment picks up in both the euro area (by 0.8 points) and the EU (by 0.5 points).
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area broadly stable at +0.05.
The Commission did not identify any cases of "particularly serious non-compliance" at this stage in the process.
Detailed assessment of the draft budgetary plans is ongoing and the new Commission will adopt its opinions on these in November.
The latest euro area Eurobarometer survey shows that support for the euro remains high and stable in euro area Member States.
The vast majority of citizens support the idea of economic reforms.
Today, the European Parliament gave its strong support to the new European Commission with 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions.
The Juncker Commission can thus start its term of office on 1 November 2014.
The European Parliament report on the European Semester was discussed by the EP plenary in Strasbourg on 21 October.
"This report is a timely and important contribution to the topical debate on economic governance in the EU.", said VP Katainen in his intervention.
"Greece has made immense progress in creating a basis for a sustainable growth model, based on sound public finances, a more competitive economy and a robust, effectively supervised financial sector."
Updates on the economic adjustment programme for Greece published regularly on our website.
The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers took place in Luxembourg on 14 October.
Items debated included: measures in support of investment, research and innovation as sources of renewed growth, follow-up to the G20, IMF and World Bank Group meetings, banking regulations state of play and tax evasion.
The Commission and the ECB concluded that the recent economic and financial developments confirm the positive trends of stabilisation.
They added that it is important to remain vigilant, as challenges are still substantial.
More about Post-programme surveillance for Spain.
"We need to make available as much public investment as necessary, and as much private investment as possible, to support demand in the short term and improve supply in the longer term."
Each candidate is assessed by the European Parliament committees that deal with his/her portfolio.
Details and livestream here: European Parliament hearings.
Vienna Initiative pushes for action plan to deal with non-performing loans in central and south-eastern Europe.
The Vienna Initiative is a private-public sector platform which aims to coordinate responses to pressing financial sector issues in emerging Europe.
The traditional conference, organized in every euro area member-to-be, takes place in Vilnius, on 25 September 2015, at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society.
You can watch the live streaming on our conference page.
Lithuanians feel fit for the euro. 51% think that their country is also ready for the changeover, according to a Flash Eurobarometer survey of 1000 citizens.
This report estimates the potential impact of a number of selected, significant product market reforms designed to bring growth in the medium run.
The varied reform efforts in these countries appear to be starting to have a positive effect.
Banking Union will provide a stable basis on which to build greater financial stability, future growth and renewed market confidence.
On 12 September the Eurogroup reaffirmed its commitment to effectively reduce the tax burden on labour.
The Ministers agreed on common principles for the implementation of reforms in this area.
This assistance is part of the EU's and other international donors' efforts to help Tunisia overcome the severe economic difficulties caused by the combination of a weak external economic environment and the political transition process following the 2011 revolution.
This assessment will include a balance sheet review and an individual stress test. It constitutes a major step for strengthening the viability of and confidence in this sector.
The key elements for the assessment were agreed between European Commission, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the Romanian Financial Supervision Authority.
Economic Sentiment falls by 1.5 points in the euro area and by 1.2 points in the EU.
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area remained broadly flat (at +0.16) compared to July (+0.17).
The Commission adopted today a report on the mission and organisation of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESBR).
The ESRB was created in response to the financial crisis and is a component of the new European System of Financial Supervision.
Economic Sentiment stable in the euro area, decreasing slightly in the EU.
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area decreased marginally by 0.04 points to +0.17.
The latest Eurobarometer survey shows positive developments in several areas.
It registered a 10 year record high in the number of citizens who feel their voice counts and growing optimism about the economic situation and the future of the EU.
The Cyprus authorities have pursued a cautious fiscal policy, which allowed them to over-achieve fiscal targets consistently. The macroeconomic outlook remains broadly unchanged compared to the fourth review.
Given still high risks, continued full and timely policy implementation remains essential for the success of the program.
Lithuania will join the euro area on 1 January 2015. Fixed conversion rate : €1 = 3.45280 Lithuanian Litas.
Speeches by Jyrki KATAINEN and Algirdas ŠEMETA, Members of the EC, Sandro GOZI, Italian Secretary of State for European Affairs, Peter PRAET, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, Algirdas BUTKEVIČIUS, Rimantas ŠADŽIUS, Vitas VASILIAUSKAS, and Linas LINKEVIČIUS, members of the Lithuanian Government and Central Bank.
The Commission today reported on Lithuania's practical preparations for the changeover to the euro.
The report confirmed that preparations for Lithuania to join the euro area on 1 January 2015 are proceeding well.
The Commission's Task Force for Greece has published its seventh activity report, covering the period February-May 2014.
Learn more about the Task Force for Greece.
The Council supports the objectives of the Italian Presidency to boost growth and jobs.
In this context, the Commission will report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of the EU governance framework by 14 December 2014.
The Council issued recommendations and opinions on economic, employment and fiscal policies planned by the member states.
The European Council will endorse the recommendations on 27 July.
The programme aims to address the financial, fiscal and structural challenges facing the economy in a decisive manner and should allow Cyprus to return to a sustainable growth path.
This report assesses compliance with the terms and conditions set out in the programme with the Cypriot authorities.
Following the European elections, Olli Rehn has resigned from the European Commission in order to take up a seat in the European Parliament from 1 July 2014.
President Barroso has decided that VP Kallas will take responsibility for economic and monetary affairs and the Euro, pending a decision on the replacement of Mr Rehn.
The European Commission mission was linked to the EU balance of payments assistance provided to Hungary between 2008 and 2010.
The mission welcomed recent improvements in the macroeconomic situation and called for specific measures to stimulate economic growth and boost structural reforms.
Economic Sentiment down in the euro area, broadly stable in the EU.
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area decreased by 0.14 points to +0.22.
The euro area member states agreed with the Commission's assessment that Lithuania has achieved a high degree of sustainable convergence with the euro area, and that it therefore fulfils the conditions for adopting the euro as its currency.
11 EU member states will remain subject to the excessive deficit procedure, down from 24 at the beginning of 2011.
The Council approved today draft recommendations and opinions on economic and fiscal policies planned by the member states.
Approval of the texts is a key stage in the European Semester, an annual policy monitoring process.
The Eurogroup welcomes the Troika's conclusion that Cyprus' adjustment programme remains on track and endorses the disbursement of the next tranche of financial assistance to Cyprus.
The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers will take place in Luxembourg on 20 June at 10.00.
On the agenda: draft EU budget for 2015, taxation, bank contributions to resolution funds, the Country-Specific Recommendations, the Excessive Deficit Procedure, Convergence Reports and enlargement of the euro area.
"The European Union is providing essential support for Ukraine's efforts to address its major economic challenges. Today's disbursement is a further concrete sign of European solidarity towards the people of Ukraine.", said Olli Rehn, VP for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro.
The Portuguese government intends to await the pending Constitutional Court rulings concerning adopted budgetary measures before formulating a comprehensive response.
The European Commission, the ECB and the IMF take note of this and encourage the government to continue with the ongoing structural reforms.
See the recorded debate and photos on the BEF 2014 website
Latest Eurobarometer in the newer EU Member States reverses trend. In the latest Flash Eurobarometer 400 survey carried out in late April 2014, some 7 000 respondents across the EU’s seven newest members –Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania (NMS7)- were interviewed by phone.
In the report, the European Commission assesses eight Member States' readiness to join the single currency. While there has been uneven progress on the road to euro adoption in the other seven Member States, Lithuania now fulfils the convergence criteria and is set to become the 19th euro area member in 2015.
The European Commission has today adopted a series of economic policy recommendations to individual Member States to strengthen the recovery that began a year ago.
Here are some questions and answers about the 2014 Country-specific recommendations.
The Commission recommends that Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovakia and The Netherlands exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure.
The Commission has also published a report on Finland and concluded that Poland and Croatia have taken effective action to lower their deficits.
Economic Sentiment rises in the euro area, remains broadly stable in the EU.
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area increased slightly by 0.09 points to +0.37.
Today, the European Commission, on behalf of the EU, disbursed a first loan tranche of €100 million to Ukraine.
After Ireland and Spain, Portugal is the third euro area country to successfully graduate from its financial assistance programme.
"The European Commission has stood by Portugal throughout the crisis. We will continue to support and encourage Portugal's ongoing efforts", said VP Kallas.
The EC, ECB and IMF issued a statement following the fourth programme review mission to Cyprus.
The programme is on track, meeting its fiscal targets and advancing with restructuring plans. Key challenges: to effectively reduce non-performing loans, to maintain public finances on a sustainable path and to strengthen institutions.
Leading financial officials from across Europe describe the significance of the economic and monetary union and of the euro in these short video testimonials for citizens.
Continuing economic recovery in the EU following its emergence from recession one year ago.
"Deficits have declined, investment is rebounding and, importantly, the employment situation has started improving." said Vice-President Siim Kallas.
This evening, the Portuguese Government announced its decision to exit the EU/IMF programme on 17 May as planned.
The European Commission will support the Portuguese authorities and people in this sovereign choice.
The EC and the ECB issued a statement following the first post-programme surveillance mission to Ireland. Overall, the outlook for Ireland has continued to improve since the conclusion of the EU/IMF-supported programme.
The EC, ECB and IMF issued a statement on the Twelfth Review mission to Portugal. The programme remains on track to be concluded and it has put the Portuguese economy on a path towards sound public finances, financial stability and competitiveness.
The EU's Council of Economic and Finance (ECOFIN) Ministers will take place in Brussels on 6 May at 11.00.
On the agenda: Parent-Subsidiary Directive; Financial Transaction Tax; In-depth Reviews in the context of the Macro-economic Imbalance Procedure; and follow-up to international meetings.