Thank you, Minister.
First things first. I would like to congratulate Mr Philip Lane. Today Finance Ministers endorsed his candidature for the European Central Bank's Executive Board for a position of Chief Economist.
The EU leaders will have final say over this nomination, but I am convinced that Mr Lane is the man we need.
Moving to the legislative agenda, let me now thank Eugen and the Romanian Presidency for reaching a general approach on the review of the European System of Financial Supervision.
I also would like to thank previous Presidencies, especially the Austrian Presidency, which has invested tremendous effort to prepare the ground.
Last month, I stood here in this room and called for an agreement on the full package. It was not obvious. But it is positive that we now have reached a general approach on the full package.
It is true that the compromise reached does not have the same high level of ambition of our initial proposal.
I would say – the compromise reached is as good as it can get when we needed to compose with a number of diverging views.
Now it is important to allow for trialogues to start as quickly as possible and to work with a view of reaching a political agreement between co-legislators before the European elections.
Let me recall that the ultimate goal of this proposal is to reinforce the supervisory convergence across the EU. We are creating a Capital Markets Union where firms and investors can leverage on the whole depth of integrated EU markets.
And also let me recall that this package also had for an objective to make sure that our anti-money laundering rules are efficiently implemented in all EU countries. So Ministers have given their full backing to this approach.
And today we also had an important debate on the use of the qualified majority voting in the area of taxation. As you know, the Commission has proposed a step by step approach, to start with the QMV will be used for measures critical in combatting tax fraud, combating tax evasion and avoidance and in measures related to the administative cooperation and mutual assistance among Member States.
Many Member States welcomed the Commission starting the debate on this issue. True, views expressed were very different, which means more discussions will be needed.