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European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs
European Council © The Council of the European Union EU leaders agree steps for more efficient economic governance
- Conference marks launch of new EU Microfinance Facility
- European business cycle indicators point to growing confidence
- Servaas Deroose named Deputy Director-General
- Irish commitment to deficit reduction and economic reforms welcomed
- Mission to Romania assesses policy progress and conditions for further financial support
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European Council © The Council of the European Union EU leaders agree steps for more efficient economic governance

EU Heads of state and government took important decisions to strengthen EU economic governance at the European Council on 28-29 October in Brussels. They endorsed the report of the Task Force on economic governance, which calls for increased fiscal discipline, broader economic surveillance, deeper coordination, and for setting up a robust framework for crisis management and stronger institutions. The objective is to ensure the effective implementation of the new surveillance arrangements as soon as possible and to encourage the Council and the European Parliament to reach agreement by summer 2011 on the Commission's legislative proposals. The result will be a substantial strengthening of the economic pillar of EMU, enhancing confidence and thus contributing to sustainable growth, employment and competitiveness. Heads of state and government also agreed on the need for Member States to establish a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and invited the President of the European Council to undertake consultations with the members of the European Council on a limited treaty change required to that effect.
Viewpoint
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At this summit we were looking to make Europe's economy stronger and more stable. There was real progress and we hope that this progress will be confirmed now by all institutions at the European level.

José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission
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Coins and plant © Thinkstock
Conference marks launch of new EU Microfinance Facility

The conference on “Microfinance in Europe” on 9-10 November in Brussels marked the official launch of the EU’s new European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF). The EPMF looks to make it easier for micro-companies and individuals to access business micro-credit (loans of under €25 000). With an initial budget of €100 million, it is thought the Facility could leverage €500 million of credit resulting in around 45 000 loans over a period of up to eight years. The conference, co-organised by DG ECFIN, included a presentation on how the EPMF works as well as discussions on a range of topics related to microfinance and entrepreneurship. Stands offered practical information on the EPMF and other ongoing EU microfinance initiatives.
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Economic Sentiment Indicator © iStockphoto.com
European business cycle indicators point to growing confidence

European economic sentiment continues to improve, according to the latest analysis for October 2010 published by DG ECFIN. The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 0.5 of a point in the EU and by 0.9 of a point in the euro area, reaching 104.1 in both areas. The ESI stands above its long-term average in both the EU and the euro area and is now back at a level last seen in early 2008. Sentiment in industry was the main driver of the overall improvement, with industrial confidence strengthening further. Consumer confidence remained broadly stable, although – contrasting with managers’ optimism in the industry and services surveys – consumer expectations worsened regarding employment.
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Servaas Deroose, Deputy Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs © European Commission
Servaas Deroose named Deputy Director-General of DG ECFIN

Servaas Deroose has been appointed Deputy Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission, effective from 16 November 2010. In this capacity he will co-ordinate DG ECFIN's work on EU Governance, integrated macroeconomic surveillance, the EU2020 strategy, competitiveness and fiscal policy. Prior to this new position, Mr Deroose was Director for the 'Macroeconomy of the euro area' from December 2002. He has been a member of the Economic and Financial Committee since 2005 and is currently the Commission's mission chief for Greece's economic adjustment programme. Mr Deroose studied Economics at the University of Ghent and worked as a researcher at the Economics Faculty, before joining the European Commission in 1985. He moved to DG ECFIN in 1987 and has been in charge of units dealing with economic forecasts (1991-95) and economic policy co-ordination (1996-2002).
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Dublin © Thinkstock
Irish commitment to deficit reduction and economic reforms welcomed

The European Commission has welcomed Ireland’s commitment to putting its public finances on a sustainable path and to pursuing structural reforms. In a statement issued on 4 November, the Commission took note of an "information note on the economic and budgetary outlook for 2011-14" published by the Irish Department of Finance. Economic & Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed the continued commitment to reducing the country’s deficit to below 3% by 2014. He cautioned that, to achieve this, difficult but necessary policy choices were still to be made. Visiting Dublin on 8-9 November, Mr Rehn had the opportunity to discuss Ireland’s budgetary plan in further detail and to discuss the Irish economic situation as a whole with political representatives, social partners and the Central Bank.
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Bucharest © Thinkstock
Mission to Romania assesses policy progress and conditions for further financial support

Romania will meet the conditions for receiving the fourth instalment of a €5 billion Balance-of-Payments loan support package from the EU once the country takes the agreed policy actions. This was the conclusion of European Commission staff following a joint mission with the IMF and World Bank that visited Bucharest from 20 October to 1 November. The mission assessed implementation of policies agreed under the €20 billion multilateral assistance programme for Romania. This fourth instalment of EU assistance would be worth €1.2 billion. A fifth and last instalment would be worth another € 0.15bn – so far three disbursements have been made amounting to €3.65 billion.
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Publications


Adjustment in the euro area and regulation of product and labour markets: An empirical assessment, Economic Paper 428
The paper analyses how price-competitiveness (measured by both real exchange rate and inflation differentials) adjusts in the euro area and what role labour and product market regulations can play in this adjustment process. It is found that the reduced stringency of labour and product market regulations over the past decades is likely to have played a role in the faster adjustment dynamics of price-competitiveness observed after monetary union. Moreover, regulatory reforms could help strengthen the efficiency of the adjustment mechanism.
Efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure on tertiary education in the EU, Occasional Paper 70
Upcoming: 2010 Economic Policy Committee (EPC) - Social Protection
Committee (SPC) joint report on pensions
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Agenda Calls
11-12 November
Seoul, Korea
G20 Summit
16-17 November
Brussels
Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings
19 November
Brussels
Seminar – The Czech and Slovak economies: 17 years after
22-23 November
Brussels
DG ECFIN 7th Annual Research Conference 2010
29 November
Brussels
European economic forecast autumn 2010
3 December
Brussels
Workshop: Public debt and economic growth
16-17 December
Brussels
European Council
16-17 December
Mumbai, India
ASEM Conference: Investment and its Financing
18 May 2011
Brussels
BEF 2011 – The Brussels Economic Forum 2011
Call for candidacy. Commission competition (COM/AD/17/10) for a reserve pool of senior economists of at least 15 years’ professional experience in economics. (Deadline for application: 25 November 2010 at 12 noon, Brussels time).
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs