The economic crisis has prompted intense and sustained action by the EU's national governments, the European Central Bank and the Commission. All have been working closely together to support growth and employment, ensure financial stability, and put in place a better governance system for the future.
The Greek authorities have announced that they have extended until 4 April the offer period for bonds governed by foreign law and eligible for the exchange. This decision was taken with a view to provide bondholders a further opportunity to tender their holdings of eligible foreign-law bonds in the exchange.
The stability and integrity of the Economic and Monetary Union have required swift and vigorous measures that had been implemented recently, together with further qualitative moves towards a genuine Fiscal Stability Union.
Europe’s crisis response has recently made substantial progress in all its fronts, including financial stability, fiscal consolidation and growth-boosting structural reforms.
First, financial stability is improving, not least thanks to the actions undertaken by the ECB that prevented a credit crunch. The stabilization has been facilitated by the more sustainable solution reached on Greece and by the bold and decisive actions on fiscal and structural reforms in the Member States under particular market pressure, especially Italy and Spain. These reforms go in the right direction and are important to boost economic growth and employment.
Speaking at the at the ECON-EMPL joint hearing on Greece. Mr Rehn said that thanks to European solidarity, we have avoided the worst - a social disaster. But the situation remains difficult, especially for the most vulnerable in the society.
Mr Rehn said that "resolving the current crisis requires not only the efforts of the Portuguese population, and of those of other countries in difficulty, but also actions at the EU level."
The Council also issued a recommendation1 under the EU's excessive deficit procedure
Overall, we see continued signs of stabilisation in the euro area economy, albeit still at a low level. The situation in financial markets has clearly improved in response to the ECB’s measures.
In the Conclusion, the Council formally welcomes the Commission's first Alert Mechanism Report, providing the starting point of the new macroeconomic imbalances procedure.
In his speech to the European Parliament, The President said that progress has been achieved on Greece, financial stability, and job-creating growth through our Europe 2020 agenda
The Eurogroup will meet on Monday 12 March at 17.00.
Ministers will hold a breakfast meeting on Tuesday at 9.00 (debriefing from the Eurogroup).
The Council, starting at 10.00, will be briefed on the state of preparatory work on an EU-wide
financial transaction tax and on plans to carry work forward in the coming months.
It will be called on to adopt conclusions on an alert mechanism report for the early detection of
macroeconomic imbalances. It will also discuss the excessive deficit procedure for Hungary.
The group welcomed the commitment of the Spanish government to meet the 2013 deadline for the correction of the excessive deficit, bringing the deficit below 3% of GDP.
Mr Draghi said that over recent months, a wide range of additional non-standard monetary policy measures has been implemented by the Eurosystem. These measures, including in particular two three-year longer-term refinancing operations, were decided upon against the background of exceptional circumstances in the last quarter of 2011.
Mr Rehn said that this second programme is the cornerstone of our efforts to boost sustainable growth and jobs in Greece.
Attached is a letter from European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos proposing follow-up actions further to their meeting of 29 February on measures to support jobs and growth in Greece.
The European Commission has taken further legal steps on measures affecting the judiciary and the independence of the data protection authority. It noted some progress on central bank independence, but said further evidence and clarification was needed.
Based on this Recommendation, Hungary would be asked for an additional fiscal effort to meet the government's own deficit target of 2.5% of GDP in 2012 and to ensure that the deficit in 2013 remains well below the 3% threshold, even after the phasing-out of one-off measures.
Mr Barroso said that "the Treaty is an important part in our global strategy to restore stability in European public finances."