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Brussels, 30 September 2011

Preparation of Eurogroup and Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Luxembourg, 3-4 October 2011

EUROGROUP, 3 October

The Eurogroup meeting will start on Monday 3 October at 17H. The European Commission will be represented by Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn. A press conference is expected to take place after the meeting.

1. Greece – financial assistance next steps (AAT)

Commissioner Rehn will inform the Eurogroup about the progress of the ongoing fifth review of the implementation of the Greek adjustment programme. On 28th September, the Troika (EC, ECB and IMF) decided to resume the mission to Greece and asked its teams to return to Athens and to resume policy discussions.

Commission welcomes the fiscal consolidation measures recently announced by the Greek authorities which are an important step towards achieving the agreed 2012 fiscal target and putting the Greek public finances on a sustainable footing. It underlines that such consolidation measures should be of a permanent, high-quality nature, with a clear focus on the expenditure side to achieve the fiscal targets for 2013 and 2014. A credible reinvigoration of structural reforms is equally important.

The Eurogroup will hold an additional meeting as soon as possible in October to discuss the situation in Greece and consider the disbursement of the sixth tranche, on condition that the Troika delivers a positive finding of the review. In that case, the IMF’s Executive Board could consider the 5th review in time for the actual disbursement at the end of October. This would ensure that the Greek authorities are in a position to continue to meet their financial obligations.

2. Follow-up of the euro area summit of 21 July (AAT)

Ministers will discuss both the state of play in the current process of ratification of the reform of the European Financial and Stability Facility (EFSF) in euro area Member States and the concrete provisions to implement all elements of the agreements.

On 21 July, all euro area Heads of State and Government, without exception, reaffirmed "their commitment to the euro and to do whatever is needed to ensure the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and its Member States". The reformed EFSF, with its increased effective lending capacity and enhanced operational flexibility, is an essential tool for achieving that. It is therefore essential that all euro area Member States endorse the improvements to the EFSF. Improvements concern, in particular, new intervention tools such as purchases in primary and secondary debt markets.

3. Preparation of the October European Council – economic governance (AAT)

On 21 July, the Heads of State and Government of the euro area invited President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and President of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker to "make concrete proposals by October on how to improve working methods and enhance crisis management in the euro area". This is still work in progress.

4. Selection of a new ECB Executive Board Member (AAT)

The selection of a new member of the Executive Board of the ECB is a Council prerogative.

Council of Economic and Finance Ministers (Ecofin), 4 October

The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers will start on Tuesday 4 October at 10H. The European Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn and Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier. A press conference is expected to take place after the meeting.

1. Information on the informal meeting of ECOFIN Ministers (AAT)

The Polish Presidency of the Council will debrief on the discussions held in Wroclaw earlier in September.

2. Review of the fiscal exit strategy

In 2011, all Member States engaged in fiscal consolidation, if they did not already in 2010.

3. Implementation of the excessive deficit procedure

The Council will review the current state of the play in the Excessive Deficit Procedures (currently 23 out of 24 Member States are under these EDPs). Since June, budgetary developments in the Member States have been affected by two main factors: increased market pressure and clear signs of an economic slowdown (though not a recession), as highlighted by Commission's recent interim economic forecast. The slowdown could weigh on budgets in 2012. Eight member States have adopted additional consolidation measures or plan to do so: Cyprus, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain and Czech Republic.

4. International meetings

The Council will discuss the appropriate follow-up to the IMF and World Bank Annual meetings that took place in Washington on 24–26 September 2011 and the G20 Finance Ministers and Deputies meeting on 22-23 September 2011.

They will prepare the G20 Finance Ministers and Governors meeting of 13-16 October 2011 in Paris.

5. Preparation of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa

Council conclusions expected.

6. Economic governance measures (AAT)

In September 2010 the Commission presented six legislative proposals to strengthen economic governance in the EU (the so-called "Six-Pack"). The legislative package represents the most comprehensive reinforcement of economic governance in the EU and the euro area since the launch of the Economic and Monetary Union. was The proposals cover broader and enhanced surveillance of fiscal policies, but also macroeconomic policies and structural reforms. New enforcement mechanisms are foreseen for non-compliant euro area Member States.

The European Parliament gave its final agreement and voted to adopt the package on 28 September. The Council is expected to give its agreement which will allow the entry into force by end-2011 or beginning of 2012 – and ensure that the next European Semester of economic policy coordination gets underway with a more solid legal base (see MEMO/11/364).

7. European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories) (CH)

On 15 September 2010, the Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (IP/10/1125). This proposal met the target set by the G-20 at the 26 September 2009 summit in Pittsburgh, where it was agreed that all standardised OTC derivatives contracts should be cleared though central counterparties by the end of 2012 and that OTC derivatives contracts should be reported to trade repositories and be accessible to supervisory authorities.

The Commission will be urging agreement on a general approach as soon as possible, so that negotiations with the European Parliament can start.

More information:

Omnibus II Directive (CH)

Soon after the launch of the three new supervisory Authorities (for banks, insurance and pensions and securities and markets) on 1 January 2011 (see MEMO/11/1), the Commission tabled proposals to ensure their effective running (IP/11/49). The proposals concern targeted changes in the existing EU legislation on insurance and securities. They set out in detail the scope for the authorities to exercise their powers, including the possibility to develop draft technical standards and to settle disagreements between national supervisors.

The Council is now seeking to agree a common position on the proposal. Then, negotiations with the European Parliament could start. The Commission hopes to settle on a final text of the agreement during the Polish Presidency of the Council.

More information:

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