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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Commissioner Moscovici's introductory remarks at the Eurogroup press conference

Brussels, 12 July 2018

D'abord aujourd'hui nous avons fait un premier point ensemble sur la réforme de l'Union Economique et Monétaire, suite aux décisions prises le mois dernier par le Sommet de la Zone Euro.

Il est clair que nous devons travailler avec un sens commun du compromis et de la responsabilité devra guider notre travail. Nous devons établir un calendrier clair et ambitieux pour remplir le mandat donné par le Conseil Européen dans un délai relativement court de six mois.

Car d'ici décembre il faudra arriver à un accord sur les conditions précises et le cadre juridique du fameux backstop pour le Fonds Unique de Résolution – sur ce chantier, le travail technique avance bien.

Il faudra aussi aboutir à un accord sur un calendrier pour le lancement de discussions politiques sur la proposition du système européen d'assurance des dépôts, l'EDIS. Nous souhaitons bien entendu que ces discussions soient entamées sans plus tarder car EDIS représente le troisième pilier fondamental de l'union bancaire.

Bref, ces éléments sont essentiels pour achever notre union bancaire. Mais ils ne résument pas tout. Il faut continuer à travailler sur l'intégration de la zone euro.

Et surtout, il faudra poursuivre les discussions sur un budget de la zone euro. Ce dernier reste à mon sens et à l'avis de la Commission, une étape incontournable qu'il faut franchir si nous voulons rendre la zone euro plus forte, plus prospère, plus stable et moins inégale - c'est aussi dans ce contexte que nous avons proposé pour la zone euro une fonction pour la stabilisation des investissements publics dans le cadre du nouveau cadre financier pluriannuel.

We also had a presentation from Professor Niels Thygesen on the appropriate fiscal stance of the euro area in 2019, which we listened to attentively and discussed vigorously.

The Commission concurs on the need for fiscal consolidation in Member States with high public debt. The current good economic times – how good they are is a subject of debate, I presented this morning the forecast, I'm not going to recall them – should be used to rebuild fiscal buffers. However, not all Member States need to consolidate at this point in time, since almost half of euro area countries are projected to overachieve their medium-term budgetary objective.

The differentiated fiscal policy embedded in our Country-Specific Recommendations would in our view imply a "broadly neutral" fiscal stance in 2019, which is slightly different from the "somewhat restrictive" fiscal stance that the European Fiscal Board suggests.

I would like to add that the additional risks for the economic outlook, which I highlighted in our Summer Forecast earlier today, call for great vigilance and for calibrating fiscal policy prudently and intelligently.

Today Greece was our last point on the agenda and I will make it my last point this evening also. Perhaps this is another sign that Greece is on the road to normality.

As Mario said, the ESM Board of Governors has now formally approved the updated MoU with Greece, which I have just signed. This paves the way for the last disbursement of €15 billion under the programme.

Procedurally, this means the ESM Board of Directors can now meet tomorrow morning and approve in principle this disbursement, which will take place as soon as the last national procedure has been completed.

So this will take just a little longer than had been expected but will certainly be done with ample margin before the end of the programme on 20 August so we are fully on track with this last effort and we will enter into the enhanced surveillance procedure that Valdis and I presented yesterday. It won't be a 4th programme in any way.

SPEECH/18/4507

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