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Eurogroup and ECOFIN Meetings – 21st and 22nd January 2019

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna participated in the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings which were held in Brussels, on the 21st and 22nd January. The Eurogroup meeting has on its agenda the deepening of the European Monetary Union as a follow-up to the last December Euro Summit.

Progress on the new budgetary instrument for competition and convergence can only be achieved if we stick closely to the December compromise

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE

Minister Scicluna recalled the December 2018 EU leaders’ meeting which endorsed the report submitted by the Eurogroup on strengthening the European Economic and Monetary Union by introducing among others, a European Deposit and Insurance Scheme, reforming the European Stability Mechanism and the introduction of budgetary instruments for competition and convergence of the Euro area.

On the budgetary instrument for competition and convergence, Finance Minister Scicluna stated that the establishment of this instrument for the Euro Area should be turned into an opportunity that would address long-standing issues and concerns, thereby making the Euro Area more resilient to economic shocks.

Minister Scicluna reiterated Malta’s position that progress would only be achieved if we stick closely to the compromise reached in December, namely the financing of the instrument should be within the context of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework and not through new tax initiatives.

On the Banking Union, Malta is supportive of the completion of the Banking Union and takes note of the progress achieved while agreeing with the way forward as outlined in the Eurogroup report that was submitted to EU leaders on deepening the Economic Monetary Union.

Finance Minister Scicluna stated in his intervention on the European Deposit and Insurance Scheme, that Malta supports the establishment of a separate High-Level Working Group that would focus on EDIS and other related issues. However, the proposed group needs to be truly representative of all Member States, including the smaller ones.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Scicluna participated also in the ECOFIN meeting which was held on Tuesday. The discussion in the ECOFIN meeting focused on the InvestEU programme that will be established with the European Investment Bank as a partner to this programme. This programme seeks to streamline under one umbrella fourteen financial instruments.

On the reform of the European Banking Authority Minister Scicluna stated that Malta supports the front loading of the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) component of the European System of Financial Supervision Review package as proposed by the Presidency. A comprehensive review would be ideal however, urgency requires the EU to act now. The current situation at the European Banking Authority with regards to AML/CFT is not in Malta’s view acceptable and needs to be improved with urgency.

Finance Minister Scicluna was accompanied by Malta’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Daniel Azzopardi and Permanent Secretary Alfred Camilleri.

With Pierre Gramegna, (L) Finance Minister of Luxembourg and Jensen Kristian, (R) Finance Minister of Denmark

Tuesday 22nd January 2019


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