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European Commission - Economic and Financial AffairsEuropean Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs
Ministers discuss closer economic coordination and surveillance
- Commission to address economic impact of volcanic ash
- Euro area agrees on terms of €30bn loan package for Greece
- Quarterly report on the euro area looks at competitiveness and current accounts
- Commission assesses options for global innovative financing
- New video clips from DG ECFIN: The euro rocks!
- SME Finance Day in Ankara
Top News
Ministers discuss closer economic coordination and surveillance

European Finance Ministers are in favour of bringing in greater supervision of national budgets at European level, the Spanish EU Presidency reported after the April 16-18 informal Ecofin meeting in Madrid. One idea put forward by Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn was to to set up a peer review mechanism of national budgets. The Commission is set to present proposals on enhanced economic policy coordination in May. Deepening and broadening economic surveillance is expected to be one of the main building blocks, along with reinforcing the Stability and Growth Pact and setting up a permanent crisis resolution mechanism.

The latest developments in the European economy, not least in and around Greece, have shown that there is a pressing and urgent need to strengthen economic policy coordination.

European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn
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Commission to address economic impact of volcanic ash

Commission President José Manuel Barroso has set up an ad hoc group to assess the economic consequences of the volcanic ash cloud for the air travel industry and the economy in general. Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn will be closely associated with the work, to be led by Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas. Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia has said that he is prepared to consider allowing exceptional state aid for the air travel sector, similar to measures taken after September 11 2001, in view of the unusual circumstances. President Barroso said: “The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation. It is important that all measures to be considered are coordinated at the European level.”
Euro area agrees on terms of €30bn loan package for Greece

Euro-area countries agreed on 11 April on the terms of the support that Greece would receive, if needed, to help it deal with its debt difficulties. They announced a three-year financing programme at interest rates at around 5% and were ready to provide bilateral loans worth up to €30 billion this year. This money would be centrally pooled by the European Commission as part of a multi-year package including IMF financing. In line with the 11 April statement, the Commission is currently working with the ECB, the IMF and the Greek authorities on a joint multi-year programme, including conditionality and amounts, building on the Council decision and recommendation of 16 February. These discussions prepare the ground in case Greece were to request financial assistance.
Quarterly report on the euro area looks at competitiveness and current accounts

After a decade of steady divergence, the global economic crisis has triggered a partial rebalancing of current accounts, according to DG ECFIN's latest quarterly report on the euro area published at the end of March. This special issue on “The impact of the global crisis on competitiveness and current account divergences in the euro area” finds that the narrowing of current account differences between Member States has both structural and cyclical causes and could be partially reversed with the recovery. It has so far been underpinned by only limited rebalancing in competitiveness positions and associated with the emergence of other imbalances, notably high unemployment in some Member States. Significant adjustment is therefore still needed, calling for a comprehensive policy response tailored to the specific needs of each Member State.
Commission assesses options for global innovative financing

Controlling spending and improving tax systems should be the main response when it comes to achieving fiscal consolidation and finding the resources to address global challenges such as financial stability, climate change and development. But new ways of raising public finance should also be explored. That was the message from European Commission staff in a working document, published on 6 April, on the main options for innovative financing at a global level. Some instruments, such as a stability levy on financial intermediaries or taxes on carbon emissions, could provide a "double dividend" of increased revenues and improved market efficiency and stability. Global coordination would be essential for most instruments, although action by the EU to demonstrate global leadership could also be considered.
New video clips from DG ECFIN: The euro rocks!

DG ECFIN has launched a series of short animated video clips to explain how the euro benefits euro-area citizens. From a limbo-dancing euro to a rockin’ euro jam session, the cartoons show how the single European currency helps keep inflation and interest rates stable and low, highlighting also that the euro is both a solid foundation for investment and growth and a major player on the world stage. The video clips form part of a wider information campaign, along with a series of posters that were displayed in airports and international train stations in 10 euro-area countries during April 2010.
SME Finance Day in Ankara

Ankara was the venue in March for an EU Finance Day for SMEs as Turkey became, after Norway, the second non-EU country to have hosted one. The European Commission has been organising a series of Finance Days in EU capitals running from 2008 to 2011, in order to raise awareness about sources of finance for small businesses – with the next event to be organised by ECFIN, in Tallinn, Estonia, scheduled for 25 May, during European SME week. Along with EU Member States, the relevant programme – the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme – is open to European Economic Area countries (such as Norway) and, if they choose to take part, EU candidate countries (such as Turkey).

Support schemes for renewable electricity in the EU, Economic Paper 408
What support schemes are there to promote renewable electricity in Europe, and how can the associated technologies be made competitive? This paper examines the extent and design of support schemes, and presents a theoretical model to determine optimal renewable energy policies in the light of the externalities addressed. It finds that feed-in premiums should be preferred over feed-in tariffs, while tradeable green certificates may be a more suitable instrument once technologies become more competitive.

European Business Cycle Indicators, April 2010
EU Candidate and Pre-accession Countries Economic Quarterly
Upcoming: European Economy Research Letter, Vol. 4, Issue 1
Upcoming: The EU's Neighbourhood Economies: Emerging from the Crisis, Occasional Paper 59
Upcoming: Labour Market Performance and Migration Flows in Arab Mediterranean Countries, Occasional Paper 60
Agenda Calls
5 May
DG ECFIN spring economic forecast
12 May
2010 Convergence Report
14-15 May Zagreb EBRD Annual Meeting
17-18 May
Eurogroup/ECOFIN Council
25-26 May Brussels Brussels Economic Forum 2010
Call for proposals (DG RELEX): Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogues EU-USA (deadline : 27 May 2010)
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs