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President Herman VAN ROMPUY - President of the Commission Jose Manuel BARROSO © The Council of the European Union EU Summit works on architecture of strong EU economic governance
- President Barroso reaffirms his confidence that Portugal will overcome its difficulties
- EC, ECB and IMF welcome Irish banking announcements
- G20 discussions in China on reforming the international monetary system show a possible way forward
- Economic sentiment stable in the EU but slightly down in the euro area
- New video: Euro Taxi video interviews – Euro changeover conference, Warsaw
- The Enterprise Europe Network – helping SMEs profit from the Single Market
- US high school students compete in the Euro Challenge
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President Herman VAN ROMPUY - President of the Commission Jose Manuel BARROSO © The Council of the European Union EU Summit works on architecture of strong EU economic governance

EU leaders agreed at their latest summit on a comprehensive package of steps to preserve the financial stability of the euro area and to strengthen economic governance in Europe, topped up with a “Euro Plus Pact” to help boost competitiveness. The European Council meeting of 24-25 March in Brussels notably endorsed priorities for fiscal consolidation and structural reform under the new European Semester of budgetary and economic policy coordination. The operational features of the planned European Stability Mechanism (ESM) were also confirmed. The reinforced economic governance/surveillance system being put in place in the EU is based on the European Commission’s ‘six-pack’ of proposals made on 29 September 2010, on which a final agreement with the European Parliament should be reached by June this year.

Viewpoint
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The European Council has endorsed historic conclusions on economic policy and economic governance: we have reinforced our monetary union with an economic union, and I think we can say that the Economic and Monetary Union will now finally stand on both legs.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
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Portugal flag © Thinkstock.com
President Barroso reaffirms his confidence that Portugal will overcome its difficulties

Portuguese Prime Minister, José Sócrates, informed European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on 6 April, of Portugal's intention to ask for the activation of the financial support mechanisms. President Barroso gave his assurance that this request will be processed in the swiftest possible manner, according to all applicable rules, and reaffirmed his confidence in Portugal's capacity to overcome its present difficulties, thanks to the solidarity of its partners.
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Bank sign © John Foxx – Thinkstock.com
EC, ECB and IMF welcome Irish banking announcements

The European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued on 31 March a joint statement on the Financial Measures Programme in Ireland, describing the announcements by the Irish authorities as “a major step toward restoring the Irish banking system to health which is crucial for sustained revival of growth and employment”. The Central Bank of Ireland, together with leading international consulting firms, has identified the banks’ capital needs. The Irish government also made important announcements on the future structure of the banking system.
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G20 © Thinkstock.com
G20 discussions in China on reforming the international monetary system show a possible way forward

Commissioner Rehn participated on 31 March in a G20 high-level seminar on the reform of the International Monetary System which took place in Nanjing, China. There is a wide range of opinions regarding the extent to which the system needs to be reformed. Participants noted that its main problem is the asymmetry between freely floating currencies and the tightly managed exchange-rate regimes. Two areas where progress may be possible are the elaboration of a set of best practices on capital flow management, and broadening over time the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket of the IMF by some emerging-markets economies.

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Woman grocery shopping © Getty Images G20 leaders in Seoul 2010 © G20 Seoul Summit - All rights reserved
Economic sentiment stable in the EU but slightly down in the euro area

The Economic Sentiment Indicator was broadly unchanged in March at 107.4 in the EU, but decreased by 0.6 points to 107.3 in the euro area. The decline within the euro area resulted from broadly unchanged sentiment in industry combined with weakening confidence in the other business sectors and among consumers. In the EU as a whole, sentiment in industry and services remained on an upward trend, offsetting the declines observed in retail trade, construction and among consumers.
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Video © European Union, 2011
New video: Euro Taxi video interviews – Euro changeover conference, Warsaw

The newly released video features interviews recorded on the occasion of the conference in Warsaw of 10-11 March entitled "Euro changeover – what should or shouldn’t be done?". The conference looked in detail at what the introduction of the euro has meant and will mean for countries like Poland. Covering all practicalities of changeovers and examining the best ways to avoid potential problems, participants discussed preparation issues such as cash changeover, preparing all affected sectors, consumer protection and an adequate information campaign. The video includes interviews with EU officials, experts from national banks of EU countries inside and outside the euro area and from the ECB, and also gives the floor to some interested members of the public to say what a changeover to the euro means to them.
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Character and USB Cable © Thinkstock.com
The Enterprise Europe Network – helping SMEs profit from the Single Market

After 1000 days in business by the end of March, the Enterprise Europe Network has helped more than 2.5 million companies to make the most of the EU Single Market. Europe’s largest business support network contributes to the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by making it easier for them to internationalise, innovate and access EU finance and funding. The Network is a key part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, as well as an important instrument in the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy.
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Logo Euro Challenge © European Union, 2011
US high school students compete in the Euro Challenge

Teams from 75 high schools from 15 states across the United States are currently competing in the Euro Challenge, an innovative academic competition run by the European Union's Delegation in Washington, DC. Now in its sixth year, the Euro Challenge provides a unique and exciting educational opportunity for young Americans to learn about the euro. In their presentations, teams describe the current economic situation in the euro-area economy, identify a specific economic challenge facing a euro-area Member State, and make policy recommendations for addressing that challenge. The finals of the competition will take place at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on 27 April 2011.
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Publications
Quarterly report on the euro area, European Commission

Quarterly report on the euro area
The latest Quarterly Report highlights the EU's response to date to the economic and financial crisis, covering all major economic and financial policy measures taken since its outbreak. Special attention is paid to the comprehensive package of policy measures that the European Council agreed on in March. Other contributions in this edition focus on the drivers of the recent uptick in euro-area inflation and on the economic impact on the euro area of raising capital requirements for banks, as well as providing an evaluation of the current euro-area recovery with the help of business survey data. There is also a chapter on Estonia’s policy achievements in the run-up to its recent adoption of the euro.


Upcoming: Product market review
Upcoming: Labour market review 2010
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Agenda Calls
7 April
Frankfurt, Germany
ECB Governing Council meeting
7-9 April
Gödöllő, Hungary
Informal Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings
11 April
Brussels, Belgium
Conference on the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative
14-15 April
Washington D.C. USA
G20 Ministerial meeting
16-17 April
Washington D.C. USA
Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group
20 April
Frankfurt, Germany
ECB Governing Council meeting
2 May
Brussels, Belgium
Financial integration and stability - EC/ECB joint conference
5 May
Helsinki, Finland
ECB Governing Council meeting
13 May
European economic forecast - spring 2011
16-17 May
Brussels, Belgium
Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings
18 May
Brussels, Belgium
BEF 2011 - The Brussels Economic Forum 2011
19 May
Frankfurt, Germany
ECB Governing Council meeting
20-21 May
Astana, Kazakhstan
EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum
24-25 May
Paris, France
OECD Forum 2011
9 June
Frankfurt, Germany
ECB Governing Council meeting
14-15
June, Luxembourg
Eurogroup/ECOFIN meetings
Invitation to tender ECFIN/A/2011/001 - Open Procedure. Data supply services: Bond and equity data - Establishment of a 4 years framework contract (deadline for submission: 12 May 2011 (16:00))
Internal Market. Public consultation "The EU corporate governance framework"(deadline 22 July)
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Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs