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  01 October 2020  
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Economic and Financial Affairs

ECFIN E-news 224

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Commission welcomes decisions to provide €87.4 billion in financial support to 16 Member States under SURE
SURE logo © European Union, 2020

The European Commission welcomed the Council's approval of a €87.4 billion grant to provide financial support to 16 Member States.

The assistance will be provided under the SURE instrument to help protect jobs and people in work. Financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to Member States. Disbursements to Member States are expected to start in the coming weeks. These loans will assist Member States in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment in the context of the pandemic crisis. Specifically, they will help Member States to cover costs directly related to the financing of national short-time work schemes, and other similar measures that they have put in place as a response to the pandemic, in particular for the self-employed. SURE could also finance some health-related measures, in particular at the work place, used to ensure a safe return to normal economic activity. The decisions follow the Commission's proposals for support presented in August, and the activation of the instrument last week. Member States can still submit formal requests for support under SURE, which has an overall firepower of up to €100 billion to help protect jobs and workers affected by the pandemic.

Viewpoint
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission © European Union, 2020

“We must do everything in our power to preserve jobs and livelihoods…SURE is a clear symbol of solidarity in the face of an unprecedented crisis. Europe is committed to protecting citizens.”

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Commission presents seventh enhanced surveillance report for Greece
The national flag of Greece next to the European flag © European Union, 2020

The Commission has adopted the seventh enhanced surveillance report for Greece.

The report concludes that, in spite of the adverse circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Greece has progressed well with the implementation of its reform commitments. Nevertheless, a number of reform commitments have been significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak leading to delays in reform implementation. Further action is thus expected ahead of the eighth enhanced surveillance report, which the Commission will publish later this year. This is particularly important regarding arrears, healthcare, privatisation and financial sector commitments. The current report is an intermediary step, which will not lead to any disbursement of debt measures.

SeeAlso
See also COLLEGE MEETING: A fresh start on migration - Building confidence and striking a new balance between responsibility and solidarity
Customs Union: New Action Plan to further support EU customs in their vital role of protecting EU revenues, prosperity and security
Press conference of Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner, on the Customs Union Action Plan © European Union, 2020

The European Commission has launched a new Customs Union Action Plan setting out a series of measures to make EU customs smarter, more innovative and more efficient over the next four years.

The measures will strengthen the Customs Union as a cornerstone of the Single Market. They also confirm its major role in protecting EU revenues and the security, health and prosperity of EU citizens and businesses. The plan puts into practice Commission President von der Leyen’s goal of ensuring an integrated European approach to customs risk management, which supports effective controls by EU Member States. It includes initiatives in areas such as risk management, managing e-commerce, the promotion of compliance and customs authorities acting as one. EU customs have an important role to play in supporting the EU's economy and future growth. Customs need to facilitate increasing amounts of legitimate trade as quickly and seamlessly as possible, while fighting growing levels of fraud and the smuggling of illicit or unsafe goods. Customs are also playing a vital role in the EU’s recovery from the pandemic by facilitating, for example, imports of protective equipment, while weeding out counterfeit products like fake masks and counterfeit medicines at the EU's external borders.

SeeAlso
See also Customs Union: New Action Plan to further support EU customs in their vital role of protecting EU revenues, prosperity and security
EURO: Commission launches an evaluation and impact assessment on the use of 1- and 2-cent coins
One cent © European Union, 2020

The European Commission has launched an evaluation and impact assessment on the use of 1- and 2-cent coins.

This includes an open consultation, which will run for 15 weeks, to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, including other institutions, relevant national authorities, consumers and civil society. This assessment is required by EU legislation (Regulation (EU) No 651/2012) which mandates that the Commission periodically and carefully examine the use of different denominations of euro coins against the criteria of cost and public acceptability, in particular the 1- and 2-cent coins. The impact assessment will update the analysis of the 2018 report on the matter. On the basis of this assessment, and as announced in the Commission Work Programme 2020, the Commission will decide at the end of 2021 whether a legislative proposal on the introduction of uniform rounding rules for cash payments in the euro area and possibly on the discontinuation of 1- and 2-cent coins is warranted. As part of this assessment, the Commission will carefully study the economic, environmental and social impacts of introducing uniform rounding rules. Any possible future proposals on the matter would be based on the outcome of this assessment and would not be made until this process is complete.

SeeAlso
See also Daily News 28 / 09 / 2020
September 2020: Recovery of euro area and EU Economic Sentiment continues at slower speed – Employment Expectations follow suit
Image from Business, Economy, Euro webpage © European Commission, 2020

In September 2020, the recovery of the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) continued, albeit at a somewhat slower speed.

Registering still noticeable increases in the euro area (+3.6 points up to 91.1) and the EU (+3.4 points up to 90.2), the ESI in both regions has so far recovered nearly 70% of the combined losses of March and April. While similarly losing steam, also the recovery of the Employment Expectations Indicator (EEI) continued for the fifth month in a row (up by 2.3 points to 91.8 in the euro area and by 2.4 points to 91.8 in the EU).

SeeAlso
See also September 2020: Recovery of euro area and EU Economic Sentiment continues at slower speed – Employment Expectations follow suit.
How should the Brussels Economic Forum 2021 look like? Share your ideas with us!

Who would have imagined the changes that the year 2020 has brought, also for the Brussels Economic Forum?

The new normal is on the agenda for everyone now. Over the years, the BEF has become more than a one-day conference in Brussels: it now lives on different social platforms, and it invites people to connect, to follow live online and to engage in the discussions from wherever they are.

We are now starting to think about next year’s edition and we would like you to be part of it.

Share your ideas in this survey that you can take as a blank sheet to think out of the box and imagine BEF 2021 with us!

SeeAlso
See also Imagine BEF 2021 EUSurvey
Selected speeches

28/09/2020

Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni – Press remarks on the Customs Union Action Plan
 
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25/09/2020

Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis - Speech at the roundtable on tackling non-performing loans
 
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Publications
Labour Tax Shift in Slovenia: Effects on Growth, Equality and Labour Supply
Labour Tax Shift in Slovenia: Effects on Growth, Equality and Labour Supply © European Union, 2020

This paper analyses the effects on growth, equality and labour supply of a tax shift from labour to corporate income and recurrent tax on immovable property, using European Commission QUEST and EUROMOD models.

 
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Gender Smart Financing. Investing In and With Women: Opportunities for Europe
This study examines the multiple reasons behind the gender investment gap, with a specific focus on the lack of female investors. It also discusses how InvestEU could stimulate gender-smart financing.
 
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Report on Public Finances in EMU 2019
This annual report presents a review of key policy developments and analytical findings in the area of public finances.
 
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Are We More Accurate? Revisiting the European Commission’s Macroeconomic Forecasts
This study assesses the accuracy of the European Economic Forecasts.
 
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EU Candidate Countries’ & Potential Candidates’ Economic Quarterly (CCEQ) – 2nd Quarter 2020
An overview of economic developments in candidate and pre-candidate countries.
 
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Euro-US Dollar Exchange Rate Dynamics at the Effective Lower Bound
Euro-US Dollar Exchange Rate Dynamics at the Effective Lower Bound
 
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The Economic Benefits of Improving Efficiency in Public Spending on Education in the European Union
The Economic Benefits of Improving Efficiency in Public Spending on Education in the European Union
 
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