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European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs European Commission - Economic and Financial Affairs
Irish parliament © Thinkstock.com European finance ministers back aid for Ireland
- Joint mission by Commission, ECB and IMF issues broadly positive assessment of Greek fiscal progress
- Council officially establishes European Systemic Risk Board and three new supervisory authorities
- G20 leaders in Seoul agree on a step forward to address global economic imbalances
- ECFIN Annual Research Conference searches for a new balance between governments and markets after the crisis
- Eurostat lifts reservation and publishes Greek government deficit and debt figures for 2009
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Irish parliament © Thinkstock.com European finance ministers back aid for Ireland

In a statement released on 21 November, European finance ministers agreed that providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard financial stability in the EU and euro area. The joint EU-IMF financial assistance package will be financed from the European financial stabilisation mechanism (EFSM) and the European financial stability facility (EFSF), possibly supplemented by bilateral loans to be negotiated by EU Member States. The United Kingdom and Sweden have already indicated a readiness to consider such loans. IMF equally expressed its readiness to join theses efforts, including through a multi-year loan at the request of the Irish authorities. EU and euro-area financial support will be provided under a strong policy programme which will be negotiated with the Irish authorities by the Commission and the IMF, in consultation with the ECB. The Irish government has committed to achieve fiscal consolidation of EUR 6 billion in 2011 as part of a strategy leading to a 3% of GDP deficit by 2014. After approval by the Irish Government, the programme will be endorsed by the ECOFIN Council and the Eurogroup, in line with national procedures, on the basis of a Commission and ECB assessment.
Viewpoint
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Every nation is responsible for its own economic sustainability, but we must collectively defend the financial stability of the EU as a whole when it is at stake. This is a time for cool heads and clear determination to take the necessary decisions.

Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs at Eurogroup meeting on 16 November
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Servaas Deroose, Deputy Director-General of DG ECFIN © SKAI TV.gr
Joint mission by Commission, ECB and IMF issues broadly positive assessment of Greek fiscal progress

Staff teams from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund visited Athens during 14-23 November for the second review of the government’s economic programme. The programme is being supported by a EUR 80 billion loan from Euro area countries and a EUR 30 billion Stand-By Arrangement with the Fund. The mission concluded that the programme remains broadly on track and that quantitative criteria for the end of September have all been met. While challenges remain, significant progress has been made, particularly in reducing the fiscal deficit. Nonetheless, structural issues must be dealt with to make the adjustment sustainable. Approval by the Eurogroup of the conclusion of the second review will allow the disbursement of EUR 9 billion through mid-January 2011 (EUR 6.5 billion by the euro area Member States and EUR 2.5 billion by the IMF).
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Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and Didier Reynders, Minister of Finances of Belgium © The Council of the European Union
Council officially establishes European Systemic Risk Board and three new supervisory authorities

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council has adopted regulations establishing a European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), which will provide macro-prudential oversight of the financial system, and three new authorities for the supervision of the banking, insurance and securities industries at the micro-financial level. The three European supervisory authorities will work in tandem with the supervisory authorities of the Member States, which will remain responsible for the day-to-day supervision of individual firms. The new system will be operational from 1 January 2011. Finance ministers also endorsed proposed reforms to EU statistical governance and urged Member States to accelerate the alignment of their statistical legislation with the principles of the Code of Practice and the European Statistics Regulation, as well as to step up their adherence to the Code.
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G20 leaders in Seoul 2010 © G20 Seoul Summit - All rights reserved G20 leaders in Seoul 2010 © G20 Seoul Summit - All rights reserved
G20 leaders in Seoul agree on a step forward to address global economic imbalances

The G20 Summit in Seoul was characterized by sharp divisions on exchange rates, capital flows, and global macroeconomic imbalances. Nonetheless, in the end, leaders confirmed their commitment to move more rapidly towards more market determined exchange rate systems, and to refrain from competitive devaluations. They also agreed to set up a mechanism for identifying excessive macroeconomic imbalances. The mechanism will be based on a range of indicators to be developed by the time of the IMF spring meetings in April 2011. Using the indicators, a first assessment will be made before the next G20 Summit in November 2011. The proposed mechanism draws strongly on the alert mechanism being implemented to address macroeconomic imbalances within the EU. Although in the current post-crisis environment the consensus for international economic cooperation has weakened, the outcome of the G20 summit in Seoul represents steady progress on global economic governance.
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Marco Buti, Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission at the Annual Research Conference © European Union
ECFIN Annual Research Conference searches for a new balance between governments and markets after the crisis

Leading economists from academia, think tanks, international organisations, and ECFIN, convened at the ECFIN Annual Research Conference from 22-23 November. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, participants sought to find a new balance between the extremes of free-market fundamentalism and government interventionism. Across five sessions, the conference addressed the issue of how to maintain open markets while sustaining economic and financial stability and ensuring socially inclusive societies. Participants explored new approaches in areas such as the architecture of financial systems, international trade and exchange rate regimes, intra-EU adjustment mechanisms, and the design of modern welfare state arrangements.
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Greek government deficit and debt figures © Thinkstock.com
Eurostat lifts reservation and publishes Greek government deficit and debt figures for 2009

Eurostat published Greek government debt data in its news release of 15 November, after lifting the reservation on Greek data it communicated in its October news release. In June and September, Eurostat paid visits to Greece to help the Hellenic Statistical Authority improve statistics gathering methodologies, as mandated under the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP), and conducted an extended EDP methodological visit from 11 October until 9 November. The latter visit focused on assessing whether the upstream data on the Greek debt and deficit were complete, exhaustive and reliable. Eurostat concluded that the latest debt and deficit data for Greece now give “an essentially reliable picture” and are “sufficiently reliable for EDP purposes, in line with the quality of the data of other EU Member States.” Eurostat has thus lifted its reservation on Greek fiscal data for the years 2006-2009.
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Practical preparations for the euro © Liane M - Fotolia.com

11th Report on the practical preparations for enlargement of the euro area
The report of 12 November focuses on Estonia, which will adopt the single currency on 1 January 2011. The Commission concluded that Estonia's preparations are well advanced, while recommending further efforts in some areas during the final phase leading up to the changeover. Estonia has ordered around 45 million banknotes and 194 million coins to introduce the euro in cash, and the Central Bank of Estonia will start providing euro banknotes to commercial banks in mid-November. In order to address consumers' concerns about price increases and abusive practices during the changeover period, a Fair Pricing Agreement was launched at the end of August. Moreover, ,about 65% of Estonians now feel well informed about the euro changeover, up from 50% in May 2010. Estonia will be the 17th member of the euro area and will bring to 330 million the number of people in the European Union who share the single currency.
Upcoming: Occasional Paper 71. 2010 Economic Policy Committee (EPC) - Social Protection Committee (SPC) joint report on pensions
Upcoming: Dead Pact Walking: How to rebalance the EU's Fiscal Framework. Economic Paper
Upcoming: Quarterly report on the euro area
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Agenda Calls
29 November
European economic forecast autumn 2010
2 December
Frankfurt, Germany
ECB Governing Council Meeting
6–7 December
Brussels, Belgium
Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings
13 December
Brussels, Belgium
Workshop: Public debt and economic growth
16-17 December
Mumbai, India
ASEM Conference: Investment and its Financing
16-17 December
Brussels, Belgium
European Council
26–30 January 2011
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland
World Economic Forum annual meeting
18 May 2011
Brussels, Belgium
BEF 2011 – The Brussels Economic Forum 2011
Open invitation to tender ECFIN/R2/2010/018. Multiple Framework Contracts in Competition for the provision of evaluation and evaluation related services to DG ECFIN, including support for impact assessment activities. (deadline for submission: 6 December 2010, 17:00).
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs