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European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs
Olli Rehn, Commissioner-designate for Economic and Monetary Affairs
-EU Finance Ministers reach "groundbreaking" agreement on new financial supervisory framework
-Commission launches consultation on EU 2020 strategy
-Business cycle indicators continue to improve
-Lisbon Treaty enters into force
-Travelling euro exhibition visits Lithuania
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Olli Rehn, Commissioner-designate for Economic and Monetary Affairs

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, announced the portfolio responsibilities for the next Commission on 27 November. The appointments must still be approved by the European Parliament in January. Olli Rehn has successfully served as Commissioner for Enlargement and has a long political career at European level as a Member of the European Parliament, Economic Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister of Finland, and Head of Cabinet of former Finnish Commissioner Liikanen. He has a doctoral degree in international political economy and enjoys a solid reputation in the Council and the European Parliament. Outgoing Commissioner Joaquín Almunia will take over the Competition portfolio and become a Vice-President of the Commission.

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EU Finance Ministers reach "groundbreaking" agreement on new financial supervisory framework

Yesterday the ECOFIN Council agreed on the creation of three European authorities for the supervision of banking, insurances and pensions, which together with the new European Systemic Risk Board, complete the new supervisory framework to be put in place over the course of 2010. Ministers also agreed on a common approach to exit strategies from financial market support measures, which should encourage banks to return to a competitive market through the gradual withdrawal of government guarantees.

Commission launches consultation on EU 2020 strategy

On 24 November, the Commission issued a consultation document on EU 2020, a new strategy setting long-term goals for 2020 which will be transposed into the Commission's work programme for the next 5 years. EU 2020 aims to deliver greener and socially inclusive growth, and to solidify recovery from the crisis while preventing a similar one from occurring again. Building on the achievements of the Lisbon Strategy, it will take a more integrated approach to fiscal, macro and structural reform policies, and will address, in more depth, key policy areas where the Lisbon Strategy had only limited success, such as knowledge & innovation or market functioning.
Business cycle indicators continue to improve

In November, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose to 87.9 (+1.9 points) in the EU and to 88.8 (+2.7) in the euro area. The indicator has improved in both areas for eight consecutive months since its trough in March 2009, but it remains significantly below the long-term average. The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area also improved in November for the eighth consecutive month but it remains at a subdued level, suggesting that growth in industrial production has stayed negative.
Lisbon Treaty enters into force

The Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December. Under the treaty, the euro area acquires the capacity to decide autonomously on matters regarding euro-area Member States. The Commission’s role as an independent ‘referee’ has also been reinforced. The Commission will now be able to issue direct warnings to Member States whose economic policies are inconsistent with their European commitments or when there is a risk of excessive deficit. The voting process will also be improved since the Member State affected by decisions and recommendations will no longer be allowed to vote on them.
Travelling euro exhibition visits Lithuania

The Commission's exhibition “The euro, our currency” continues its European tour with a 2-month visit to Lithuania. The exhibition was shown at various locations in Portugal, Spain and Germany earlier this year. Fun and interactive as well as informative, the exhibition features touch screens, a quiz, computer games for children, a coin press machine, and a video on how and why the euro came to be. It can be seen at the Bank of Lithuania, Kaunas branch, until 7 January, during bank opening hours.

Institutions and performance in European labour markets: taking a fresh look at evidence, Economic Papers 391
This paper presents a selection of the recent literature on labour market institutions and performance in the EU. It offers new empirical evidence on the impact of labour market reforms on employment and labour market adjustment, and identifies principles for achieving efficient policy design at both macro and micro levels. It notes that reforms that strengthen the labour market position of vulnerable groups have been successful both in raising their employment and increasing labour market adjustment.

The global financial crisis and its effects on the Netherlands, Country Focus 10
Economic cycles and development aid: what is the evidence from the past? Economic Brief nr. 5
Upcoming: European Economy Research Letter, issue nr. 3, December 2009
Upcoming: Quarterly Report on the Euro Area, December 2009
Upcoming: Product Market Review 2009
Agenda Calls
4 December
Workshop: External adjustment: the macroeconomic and microeconomic dimensions
7-18 December
COP15 UN Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, 7-18 December
10-11 December
European Council
Visiting Fellows Programme (no closing date)
Economics Seminar Programme (no closing date)
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