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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 5 July 2013

Preparation of Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Brussels, 9 July

The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers will take place in Brussels on 9 July at 10.30. The European Commission will be represented by Olli Rehn, Vice President and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro and Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. A press conference is expected to take place after the meeting.

Presentation of the Lithuanian Presidency Work Programme (SOC)

On occasion of the start of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council, the Economic and Finance Council will hold a public debate on the priorities of the Council in the field of economic and financial affairs in the second half of 2013.

The Commission agrees with the policy priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency. The Presidency's focus on creating growth and jobs and improving competitiveness is particularly important now, in order to avoid delaying the economic recovery. The work programme foresees implementation of sound economic and financial policies, and closer cooperation between Member States. The work will continue towards sounder public finances and strengthening financial stability, with further steps towards deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, including banking union.

Follow-up to the European Council on 27/28 June 2013 (SOC)

Economic and Finance Ministers will discuss the follow up to the 27-28 June European Council, notably in the areas of the European Semester, banking union, future of the Economic and Monetary Union and investment for growth and jobs, with a view to facilitate progress in these areas.

For the conclusions of the European Council please see: DOC/13/5

Adoption of the euro by Latvia (SOC)

The Council is expected to formally decide on euro adoption in Latvia as from 1 January 2014, after having consulted the European Parliament and following a discussion in the European Council (i.e. among Heads of States or Government) on 27 and 28 June.

On 5 June the Commission published its Convergence Report and concluded that Latvia has achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence with the euro area. Therefore it proposed that the Council approves Latvia’s adoption of the euro (IP/13/500, MEMO/13/495). As Latvia did not meet the conditions for entry to the euro area when it joined the EU in May 2004, its Treaty of Accession allowed it time to make the necessary adjustments. Thus it is currently a Member State of the Economic and Monetary Union with a 'derogation'. In legal terms, the Council will decide if Latvia exits its derogation from the euro.

At its 21 June meeting in Luxembourg the Council of Economic and Financial Ministers has supported Latvia's euro adoption – as expressed in a letter from the Council President to the European Council – and euro area Member States adopted a recommendation to allow Latvia to introduce the single currency on 1 January 2014.

In addition, Economic and Finance Ministers of the euro area and Latvia will decide on the conversion rate for the Latvian lats, based on a proposal of the Commission and after consulting the ECB. The decision needs to be taken by unanimity, meaning that all Ministers from the euro area and from Latvia have to agree on the conversion rate.

Implementation of the Two-Pack (SOC)

The Council is expected to give its agreement to two documents which will allow a smooth implementation of the Two-Pack, which entered into force on 30 May. The Two-Pack completes the surveillance and coordination of economic and budgetary policy in the euro area (see MEMO/13/457).

First, the Council is expected to endorse a Code of Conduct into which Member States and the Commission have enshrined specifications on the implementation of the legislative package; this Code of Conduct includes guidelines on the draft budgetary plans and debt issuance reports to be submitted by euro area Member States (for further info please see Communication from the Commission COM(2013) 490; http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2013:0490:FIN:EN:PDF)

Second, the Council is expected to express its intention to not raise objections to the delegated Regulation adopted by the Commission in June specifying the content of the regular reports which can now be requested from euro area Member States in the Excessive Deficit Procedure.

Follow-up to G20 Finance Deputies meeting on 6-7 June 2013 in St-Petersburg and preparation of G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Governors of 19-20 July 2013 in Moscow (SOC)

The Council will focus its discussion on the preparation of the G20 Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Moscow on 19-20 July. This meeting will be the last G20 Finance Ministerial before the G20 St Petersburg Summit on 5-6 September.

The Council will discuss the key points on the agenda for the G20 Ministerial. First, in the context of a weakening global economic outlook, the Council will exchange views on the need for the G20 to agree on a strong St Petersburg Action Plan for Growth and Jobs, with a substantial contribution by all G20 members. It will also discuss the update of the G20 Toronto fiscal commitments and the potential spillover effects caused by an exit from unconventional monetary policies.

Second, the Council is due to reaffirm the importance of financial regulation as a core part of the G20 agenda, with the need for a new narrative at the St Petersburg Summit to valorise the progress accomplished and complete the regulatory reform agenda. Finally, taxation will once again be high on the agenda of the G20 Ministerial. The Council will also have a preparatory discussion on the reports to be presented by the OECD to the G20, including on an action plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.

Market abuse regulation (MAR) (CH)

In recent years financial markets have become increasingly global, and have seen the emergence of new trading platforms and technologies. This has also led to new possibilities to manipulate these markets. As part of its work to make financial markets more sound and transparent, the European Commission presented in October 2011 a proposal for a Regulation on insider dealing and market manipulation (i.e. market abuse, IP/11/1217). The proposal aims to update and strengthen the existing framework to ensure market integrity and investor protection provided by the Market Abuse Directive (2003/6/EC). This new framework would ensure regulation keeps pace with market developments, strengthen the fight against market abuse across commodity and related derivative markets, reinforce the investigative and sanctioning powers of regulators and reduce administrative burdens on small and medium-sized issuers.

The European Parliament adopted its report on MAR on October 22nd 2012. Council adopted a general approach on 5 December 2012. Following five trilogues under the Irish Presidency, a provisional political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council was endorsed by the Committee of member States' Permanent Representatives (COREPER) on 26 June 2013. This agreement is provisional as certain key aspects of the MAR, notably definitions and scope, depend on the review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID) on which a political agreement is expected by the end of this year. Final adoption of the political agreement will therefore take place at the same time as a political agreement on the review of MIFID.

The Lithuanian Presidency will present the state of play of negotiations on the proposal. 

More information: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/securities/abuse/

Other Items

Country-Specific Recommendations

The Council is due to formally adopt the Country-Specific Recommendations without discussion. The Commission presented its proposals for CSRs on the 29th of May (see MEMO/13/458) The CSRs have already been endorsed by Heads of State or Government at the European Council on 27-28 June. As indicated in the conclusions of the European Council, Member States will now translate the recommendations into their forthcoming decisions on budgets, structural reforms and employment-social and other policies, while promoting full national ownership and preserving social dialogue. The Council and the Commission will closely monitor their implementation.

Draft amending budget 2013

The Council is due to approve the first instalment (€7.3bn) of the draft amending budget n°2 for 2013 to cover unpaid claims from last year and mainly Cohesion Policy claims for projects completed this year. The European Parliament has made the approval of the full draft amending budget 2 one of the conditions for giving its consent to the Council’s regulation on the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). On 27 June 2013, the political agreement on the next MFF between the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Commission and the Irish Presidency stated that “the Council commits to make a formal decision on the first tranche of Draft Amending Budget 2 no later than ECOFIN on 9 July 2013”.


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