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European Commission - Economic and Financial AffairsEuropean Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs
Estonian festivities © The Council of the European Union Green light for Estonia to adopt euro in 2011
- 2010 labour market report calls for greater flexicurity to combat higher unemployment
- EU Green Paper launches public debate on the future of pensions
- ECFIN workshop on EU-China cooperation at Shanghai expo
- European Parliament ECON Committee debates ways to improve economic governance
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Estonian festivities © The Council of the European Union Green light for Estonia to adopt euro in 2011

Festivities were held on 13 July at the Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels to celebrate Estonia’s forthcoming adoption of the euro. The event followed the Ecofin Council meeting of EU economics and finance ministers which formally gave the go-ahead for Estonia to adopt the euro from 1 January 2011. The Council also set the conversion rate at 15.6466 Estonian kroons to one euro. This follows the Commission and ECB's positive assessment of Estonia's progress on euro convergence in May. Speakers at the event included Commissioner Olli Rehn, ECB International Director Frank Moss, ECOFIN Council President and Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, and Jürgen Ligi, Minister of Finance for Estonia.

Euro adoption is a result of the joint efforts of the whole of Estonian society. It represents an opportunity to cement its place in Europe, reinforcing economic ties with its European partners, and to be more involved in the economic governance of the EU.

Jürgen Ligi, Estonian Finance Minister
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Three machinists in workspace © iStock.com
2010 labour market report calls for greater flexicurity to combat higher unemployment

ECFIN's annual labour market report, published 7 July, analyses the impact of the recession on labour market and wage developments across the euro area and the EU, and in individual countries. In spite of decisive action by governments to avoid mass unemployment, such as extending unemployment benefit or introducting short-time work, some countries (such as the Baltics, Spain and Ireland) saw joblessness surge to record highs in 2009. Underlying structural weaknesses still need addressing, while the crisis brings new challenges into the mix. The squeeze on public finances will put new emphasis on labour market reforms with low or no budgetary impact. And cost-effective activation and training measures will also be needed to compensate for the uneven impact of rising unemployment on different socioeconomic groups - the worst hit being men, the young, and the low-skilled.
Communication of generations © cabania - iStock.com

EU Green Paper launches public debate on the future of pensions

The ratio of working-age to retirement-age citizens in the EU is projected to fall from 4:1 at present to 2:1 in 2060. These demographic prospects, compounded by the economic crisis, are putting pressure on pension systems. On 7 July, the Commission therefore launched a Europe-wide public debate, on how to: (a) ensure adequate incomes in retirement and long-term sustainability of pension systems; (b) achieve the right balance between life spent working and in retirement and facilitate a longer active life; (c) remove obstacles affecting people who work in different EU countries and the internal market for retirement products and (d) make pensions safer and more transparent so that people can take informed decisions about their retirement income. The consultation is open until 15 November 2010.

Global recovery conference © Pictobank
ECFIN workshop on EU-China cooperation at Shanghai expo

"How can the EU and China Contribute to a Sound and Sustainable Global Economic Recovery?" asked DG ECFIN at a workshop organised in the Belgium-EU Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo on 3 July. About 100 officials, scholars, and senior executives from China and the EU participated in lively Q&A sessions and listened to speeches by Hu Xiaolian, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, and Gert-Jan Koopman, Director (ECFIN). The need for structural reforms and fiscal consolidation was stressed by EU speakers while their Chinese counterparts focused on the need to rebalance growth towards domestic consumption and further develop the social safety net.
European Parliament © ©European Parliament
European Parliament ECON Committee debates ways to improve economic governance

Meeting on 5 July, members of the Committee of the European Parliament for Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn debated proposals to improve economic governance in the EU and euro area. Commissioner Rehn argued for a stronger preventive arm to the SGP. There was broad agreement with the Commission's proposals to strengthen macroeconomic surveillance of imbalances, and Portuguese MEP Diogo Feio of the conservative grouping EPP presented a report recommending policy measures that are largely consistent with the views brought forward by the Commission in its Communications of 12 May and 30 June.

European Economy News, Issue 18, July 2010
The 18th issue of ECFIN’s quarterly magazine focuses on strategies for a post-crisis world, which was the theme of the 11th Brussels Economic Forum held in May. It looks at the ambitious reforms that will be needed and how green technologies can help Europe grow its way out of recession. This issue also covers the inside story on financial support to Greece and the future of economic governance. Global economic policies agreed by the G20 in Toronto and Estonia’s adoption of the euro are also highlighted.

Economic Brief 9: BEF 2010 keynote speeches
Economic Brief 10: The tale of the Baltics: experiences, challenges ahead and main lessons
Occasional Paper 64: Short–time working arrangements as response to cyclical fluctuations
European Business Cycle Indicators, July 2010
Economic Paper 416: Proliferation of risk and policy responses in the EU financial markets
Agenda Calls
23-24 July
Advances in international macroeconomics - Lessons from the crisis
18 August
Narva, Estonia
Euro exhibition
13 September
Interim economic forecast
  20 September
Euro changeover conference
22-23 November
DG ECFIN 7th Annual Research Conference 2010
Call for tender ECFIN/A3/2010/004 An EU-wide monthly business survey in the financial service sector (deadline: August 26, 2010, 16:00)
Call for proposals No RELEX/C1/2010/T Getting to Know Europe: Local and Regional Communities and the European Union (Application Deadline: September 13, 2010)
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs