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EU Response to the economic and financial crisis - March 2012

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.

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Key events

Statement by the Eurogroup President, Jean-Claude Juncker


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.


Statement of the Eurogroup


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.


Comments by Vice-President Olli Rehn at the Informal Ecofin Council


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.

Speech by Vice-President Rehn on "the Second Programme of Economic Adjustment for Greece: Greek commitment, European solidarity" at the European Parliament

Speech by Vice-President Rehn on "the Second Programme of Economic Adjustment for Greece: Greek commitment, European solidarity" at the European Parliament


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.


Speech by Vice-President Rehn at the Portuguese Parliament


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."


European Council suspends €495.2 million in cohesion fund commitments to Hungary under Excessive Defecit Procedure


The Council also issued a recommendation1 under the EU's excessive deficit procedure


Speech by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB - Competitiveness of the euro area and within the euro area


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.


European Council published Conclusions on the Alert Mechanism Report


In the Conclusion, the Council formally welcomes the Commission's first Alert Mechanism Report, providing the starting point of the new macroeconomic imbalances procedure.

Speech by President Barroso on the outcome of the Spring European Council

Speech by President Barroso on the outcome of the Spring European Council


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


Background Briefing - Eurogroup and Economic and Financial Affairs Council - Tuesday 13 March in Brussels


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.


Eurogroup issues terms of reference on Spain


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.


Statement by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB


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.


Eligibility of bonds issued or guaranteed by the Greek government in Eurosystem credit operations

09/03/2012The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has acknowledged the activation of the buy back scheme, provided to underpin the quality of marketable debt instruments issued or fully guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic.
Statement by Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn on private sector participation in the second Greek programme

Statement by Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn on private sector participation in the second Greek programme


Mr Rehn said that this second programme is the cornerstone of our efforts to boost sustainable growth and jobs in Greece.


Letter from President Barroso to Prime Minister Papademos


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.


Hungary - Commission asks for additional information on central bank's independence

07/03/2012The European Commission has continued accelerated infringement procedure on independence of the data protection supervisor and measures affecting the judiciary and asks additional information on central bank's independence

Hungary – Commission takes further steps on infringements


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.


Speech by Vice President Rehn at the Colloquium on the European Response to the crisis

07/03/2012Europe is responding to the crisis by reinforcing economic governance, by consolidating public finances and by pursuing policies to promote sustainable growth and job creation. While the euro-area is currently in a mild recession, there are signs of stabilisation. I am convinced that, as a result of our collective efforts and once we keep up recent decisive action, we will witness the turning of the tide in the coming months.

Commission adopts Recommendation asking Hungary to take steps to correct deficit


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.


Statement by President Barroso at the signature ceremony of the Treaty on Stability


Mr Barroso said that "the Treaty is an important part in our global strategy to restore stability in European public finances."


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