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European Commission


Brussels, 4 July 2014

Preparation of Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Brussels, 8 July

The EU's Council of Economic and Finance (ECOFIN) Ministers will take place in Brussels on Tuesday 8 July at 10.00. The European Commission will be represented by Siim Kallas, Vice President in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, Michel Barnier, Vice President in charge of Internal Market and Services and Algirdas Šemeta Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Audit, Anti-Fraud and Statistics. A press conference is expected to take place after the meeting.

Bank contributions under the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive/Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) Regulation – state of play (CH)

The European Union has agreed new resolution rules for all EU banks (MEMO/14/294). It is now essential to make the national resolution funds established by the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) (MEMO/14/297) and the Single Resolution Fund (SRF) established by the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation (MEMO/14/295) a reality.

The European Commission is empowered to adopt a delegated act on banks’ contributions to the national resolution funds under BRRD and a proposal for a Council implementing act on banks’ contributions to the Single Resolution Fund under the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation (SRM). Both acts will clarify how and how much individual banks will pay towards the Funds in order to meet the target levels set by the legislation.

The Commission services are now working on these texts, and are discussing with the Member States and the European Parliament in regular meetings of the Expert Group on Banking, Payments and Insurance. This work is complemented by a public consultation of all interested stakeholders. The Commission intends to adopt both acts by September 2014 to ensure consistency and an efficient adoption process.

Vice President Barnier will inform the Council of the state of play of those discussions. He looks forward to the continued constructive cooperation of Member States. In particular the work of the Commission depends on high quality data that Member States have been invited to provide on their respective banking sectors.

Presentation of the Italian Presidency's work programme (SOC, CH, ET)

The Council will discuss the priorities of the Italian Presidency of the Council in the field of economic and financial affairs for the second half of 2014.

The Italian Presidency will present its work programme placing emphasis on restoring economic growth and creating jobs. The highlights will be the ongoing mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy, smooth implementation of the banking union, and taking forward legislative work on taxation. The Commission will reiterate its commitment to cementing the economic recovery and job creation as a central part of the EU agenda and welcome the Italian Presidency's work programme on economic matters.

The Commission will also share the view of the Italian Presidency that it is essential to finalise the work on completing financial sector reform, and will highlight in particular the files on which it would like to see progress made: structural reform of banks (IP/14/85), benchmarks (IP/13/841), money market funds (IP/13/812) and long-term financing (IP/14/320).

The Commission will also welcome the Italian Presidency's determination to make progress or reach agreement on key tax files. These include agreement on widening automatic exchange of information for tax purposes within the EU (Administrative Cooperation Directive (IP/13/530), agreement on the Financial Transaction Tax under enhanced cooperation (IP/13/115), agreement on the Standard VAT Return (IP/13/988) and pushing forward the political debate on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (IP/11/319). The Italian Presidency will also seek progress on other important tax files.

Review of the Europe 2020 strategy (SOC)

The Council will hold a debate on the review of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU's long-term growth and jobs plan, which is scheduled for early next year. The debate follows the launch, in May, of a public consultation on Europe 2020, which is open until the end of October. The consultation aims to draw lessons from the last four years and will feed into next year's review. Launched in 2010, the strategy is built on five targets to be met by 2020 that aim to improve Europe's economic, social and environmental performance. The European Commission published a communication in March (MEMO/14/149) to take stock of progress on the Strategy, and found that the EU is on course to meet or to come close to its education, climate and energy targets but is not on track to meet its employment, research or poverty reduction goals. EU leaders discussed this communication at the March 2014 European Council.

Taxation of savings agreement with third countries (ET)

Commissioner Šemeta will report progress to the Council on the negotiations with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino on the revision of agreements signed with these countries on taxation of savings.

The aim of such negotiations is to ensure that these five countries apply measures equivalent to those foreseen in the revised Savings Directive adopted by the Council in March, taking into account relevant international developments in the field of exchange of information for tax purposes.

The successful conclusion of these negotiations is one of the key actions of the Commission's plan to fight tax fraud and evasion (IP/12/1325).

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