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Brussels, 13 September 2007
Preparation of Eurogroup and Informal Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Porto 14 and 15 September
Eurogroup ministers will meet at 8:30 hrs on Friday 14 September.
Joaquín Almunia, Commissioner responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs
will attend as will European Central Bank Governor Jean-Claude Trichet. Finance
Ministers from Cyprus and Malta will also attend as observers. A press
conference is scheduled to take place after the meeting.
Eurogroup Ministers are also expected to resume their discussion on the
French medium-term budgetary review which, following the change in government,
was on the agenda in July when President Sarkozy joined the group. In the
Commission Spring forecast (see
IP/07/615), based on unchanged policies, the budget deficit was expected to
fall to 2.4% of GDP in 2007 and 1.9% in 2008.
The Informal Council of Economics and Finance Ministers will start around 13:00 hrs with a working lunch on Friday 14 September. The afternoon session will start at 15:00 hrs. and should run to 18:00 hrs. The meeting will continue the following morning, Saturday 15 September, from 9:00 hrs to 12:30 hrs. The European Commission will be represented by Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquín Almunia and Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. A press conference is expected to take place at the end of the meeting.
Institutional aspects of the quality of public finances
Economic situation and financial stability (AT--OD)
The Ecofin ministers will discuss the outlook for the European economy on the basis of the latest interim forecast (see IP/07/1295). The outlook for the EU economy has been slightly revised downwards compared to the spring forecast. This is mainly the result of a weaker than expected GDP growth in the second quarter, possibly reinforced by current uncertainties stemming from the recent turbulence in financial markets. GDP growth in 2007 is forecast at 2.5% in the euro area and 2.8% in the EU, thus only 0.1 pp. below the spring forecast. Despite the heightened risks related to the financial market turmoil, economic fundamentals of the EU remain solid and the region should, therefore, be capable of weathering the current uncertainties. However, downside risks have increased, not least due to the uncertainties related to the US outlook and the increased financial markets volatility. More generally, ministers are expected to discuss lessons to be drawn from the recent turmoil on financial markets as well as crisis management and EU financial stability arrangements. For a preliminary analysis of the financial turbulence and its impact on the real economy see Commissioner Amunia's intervention at the European Parliament on 5 September on (SPEECH/07/507) as well as this week's interim forecasts http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/index_en.htm
Developing EU arrangements for financial stability (AT-OD)
Ministers and Governors will also discuss EU financial stability arrangements in the context of the ongoing process of financial integration. Last September in Helsinki, they agreed on further work on the management of cross-border financial crisis and the discussion today will focus on the conclusions of this work and possible course of future action in light also of the recent turbulence in the financial markets.
Clearing and settlement (OD)
Commissioner McCreevy will give an overview of where European post-trading is currently standing.
Third Euro-Med ECOFIN Ministerial (AT)
On Saturday afternoon, after the Ecofin meeting, EU finance ministers will meet with their colleagues from the Southern Mediterranean rim to discuss ways to achieve higher sustainable growth and create more jobs in the Mediterranean. The Euro-Med partners are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and West Bank and Gaza. Turkey is also represented. The 3rd Euro-Med ministerial meeting will share experiences on public finance and economic reforms as well as on building efficient financial markets.
For background on Euro-Mediterranean relations see Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/euromed/conf/index.htm