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The financial and economic crisis - a chronological overview - March 2009

The current crisis calls for concerted action at both the European and the international level. The EU has taken a series of bold measures to restore confidence, stability and sustainability in the financial markets.

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25 March 2009
Joint statement by the Presidency of the ECOFIN Council and the Commission on EU medium-term financial assistance to Romania

In light of the adverse effects of the global financial crisis on the economic and financial situation in Romania and given the Romanian authorities' firm commitment to implement a major programme of economic adjustment, the EU expressed its intention to provide medium-term financial assistance to Romania of up to € 5 billion.
>> EU intends to provide medium-term financial assistance to Romania of up to € 5 billion

24 March 2009
Commission proposals under the excessive deficit procedure (EDP)

The Commission concluded that Greece, Spain, France and Ireland were running excessive deficits and recommended Council recommendations to end this based on the economic outlook of the January 2009 interim forecast. For the UK, already in EDP since 8 July 2008, the Commission proposed new recommendations on the basis of the new outlook.
The Commission also adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the Cypriot programme.
>> The Commission took further steps under the EDP for France, Greece, Ireland, Spain and the UK and assessed the Stability Programme of Cyprus

19 - 20 March 2009
Spring European Council

The European Council expressed confidence in the ability of the EU to tackle the financial and economic crisis. Reviewing the considerable fiscal stimulus being injected into the EU economy of over €400 billion, it emphasised that concerted action and coordination were essential to Europe's strategy for recovery. Leaders emphasised that Europe would do all that was necessary to restore growth and that the single market was central to overcome the recession.

Leaders further agreed to speed up agreement on pending legislative proposals on the financial
sector and defined the EU position for the G20 Summit in London on 2 April.
>> European Council. Presidency conclusionspdf
>> European Council. Council conclusions 2009

17 March 2009
High-level Brussels conference on industrial policy in difficult times

Attendance by President Barroso, Commissioner Verheugen, Baroness Ashton, and keynote speaker Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Price for Economics 2008.
>> Enterprise and Industry. Industrial Competitiveness

14 March 2009
Meeting of G20 Finance ministers and central bank governors Horsham, United Kingdom

Preparing for the London G20 summit of 2 April, the finance ministers and governors of central banks agreed on further coordinated and comprehensive action to boost demand and jobs, restore economic growth, and reform and strengthen the global financial system. In their communiqué, G20 ministers and governors agreed to urgently and substantially increase the resources of the International Monetary Fund to finance necessary measures. The IMF was also called upon to assess actions taken and actions required to restore sustainable growth. G20 ministers and governors also welcomed the expansion of the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) to include all the G20 members. To help emerging and developing countries, the G20 agreed to strengthen multilateral development banks and ensure their resources and sufficient liquidity.
>> Communiqué of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. G-20 asks IMF to track, assess global crisis response

11 March 2009
Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding with Hungary

The Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 11 March. After the disbursement of €2 billion in December 2008, the second instalment of €2 billion is expected to be released end March.
>> EU about to release second instalment of €6.5 billion Community financial assistance to Hungary

9 - 10 March 2009
Meetings of finance ministers - Eurogroup and ECOFIN

Ministers discussed the economic situation and outlook in the euro area, in light of the recent economic and financial developments. The Council reached agreement on the use of reduced value-added tax (VAT) in certain sectors. Among further main results, the ministers endorsed terms of reference for the 14 March meeting of the G-20 finance ministers, and assessed a number of recently updated stability and convergence programmes.
>> Agenda and Council conclusions

6 March 2009
Commission evaluation of the impact of the economic crisis on pensions

The evaluation finds that despite the severity of the crisis, European pensions did not experience problems to the same degree as other types of financial institutions nor those of pension systems in some other countries outside the EU. The Commission thus evaluates the system as relatively robust, at least over the short term for those retiring now.

The evaluation refers to the open method of coordination (OMC) to address certain weaknesses and concludes that the crisis may also have highlighted underlying structural issues regarding the sustainability of pension systems. Adjustments may therefore be necessary to ensure the long term health of pension systems.
>> MEMO/09/99. The economic crisis and pensions in the EU Choose translations of the previous link 
Pension and the financial crisispdf Choose translations of the previous link 
>> Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Social protection

5 March 2009
European Central Bank (ECB) further interest rates cuts

The ECB announced to lower to 1.50% its main refinancing operations in the euro area, starting from operations to be settled on 11 March 2009.
>> ECB Monetary policy decisions

4 March 2009
Preliminary EC assessment of the de Larosière report and EC contribution to the Spring European Council. Communication for the Spring European Council - Driving European recovery

The Commission adopted its contribution to the Spring European Council of 19-20 March. President Barroso said, "We must send a strong signal to citizens, businesses and the global community that there is a way out of the economic crisis. Europe has the unity, the confidence and the determination to win this battle." The communication proposes rebuilding confidence and lending in the banking sector, repairing financial markets, supporting people through the crisis and building a global response at the G20 summit in April.
>>Communication COM(2009)114 final. Driving European recovery and Annexespdf Choose translations of the previous link 
>> Press conference of EC President Barroso
Press release IP/09/351. Commission calls on EU leaders to stay united against the crisis, move fast on financial market reform and show global leadership at G20 Choose translations of the previous link 
>> Economic and Financial Affairs. Implementation of the European Economy Recovery Plan: focus on the role of structural reformspdf Choose translations of the previous link .

1 March 2009
Informal European Council meeting in Brussels

EU leaders agreed that Europe must continue to act in a coordinated manner. Their agreed three lines of action focus on building confidence and promoting financial stability, getting the real economy back on track, and on working together at the global level.
>> EU acting together to overcome the crisis

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