Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna presided over the first meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) under the Maltese Presidency, during which he also presented his working programme which covers financial services, economic governance, investment, taxation and the EU budget.
The meeting’s agenda included a presentation by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, of the report on the EU’s own resources compiled by the high-level group under his presidency. The report includes proposals for the consideration of the Commission on a reform of the own resources system within the Budget for the period following 2020. It makes a case for focusing expenditure on EU policies that can bring the most added value, introducing new revenue sources directly linked to the European dimension and complementing budgetary net balance calculations with cost-benefit analyses. President of the Council Scicluna commented that “Mario Monti’s clear presentation helped us to better understand the report. I’m sure that the interesting discussion we had today will help the Commission in its reflection on whether to propose a reform of the own resources rules.”
The Council also discussed growth prospects, and macroeconomic imbalances under the European Semester, which is the EU’s annual policy monitoring process.
It adopted conclusions and approved a draft recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area, which will be referred to the European Council with a view to adoption in March.
The Council broadly agreed with the analysis provided by the Commission in its annual growth survey. Regarding macroeconomic imbalances, the Commission is due to publish ‘in-depth reviews’ in February of the situation in 13 member states.
“We are very happy that our first Council meeting was interesting and well-received, with active participation of all Member States in each discussion. We hope to keep this atmosphere for the duration of our Presidency since these challenging times require all the member states to remain focused and united,” said Minister Scicluna.
Photos: Permanent Representation of Malta in Brussels
Saturday 28th January 2017