Thank you, Vladislav.
First of all, let me congratulate Luis De Guindos. The ECOFIN today adopted a Recommendation to the European Council endorsing Luis De Guindos for the upcoming ECB Vice-President vacancy.
I think Luis De Guindos is a very strong candidate. We have an excellent and long-standing record of cooperation. Luis has always shown remarkable leadership skills, calm and determination to successfully overcome moments of adversity.
On sustainable finance, let me reiterate the European Commission's strong commitment to lead the fight against climate change. The European Union is committed to reaching the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
However, to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, Europe needs an estimated EUR 180 billion in additional yearly investment over the next decade. Public money will not be enough. We need to mobilise substantial private capital.
Christian Thimann presented today the recommendations of the High Level Expert Group for how to hardwire sustainability into the financial system.
I welcome strong support that Ministers showed to the sustainable finance agenda, agreeing that the EU classification system for what is green and what is not is the foundation for any further action.
We want to be ambitious and respond, in one way or another, to all of the HLEG's key recommendations.
In the beginning of March, the Commission will present an ambitious Action Plan on green and sustainable finance.
And on 22 March we will host a High Level Conference on sustainable finance, which will help us to fine-tune the upcoming legislative proposals.
Let me use this opportunity to mention one more issue related to the future of finance, but unrelated to today's ECOFIN agenda.
Next week, on 26 February I will chair a high level roundtable on virtual currencies. The Commission has invited key authorities, including central banks and supervisors, as well as market players to share their insights.
The aim is to look at long-term trends linked to virtual currencies, and examine if current regulation is fit for purpose.
Finally, the Ministers recommended the Parliament to grant discharge to the Commission for the implementation of the 2016 budget.
We also share the priorities that Ministers have set for the 2019 budget guidelines, namely continued growth, competitiveness and the creation of high quality jobs. Addressing issues of migration, border protection, and security threats remains high on the agenda.