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Talks between Finance Minister Bajuk and the German Finance Minister focus on financial stability in the EU

The Slovenian Finance Minister and current President of the Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) Council, Dr Andrej Bajuk had a meeting today with the German Finance Minister, Peer Steinbrück. Discussions focused on the ECOFIN Council's work programme and priority tasks during Slovenia's Presidency. Dr Bajuk declared, “The Slovenian Presidency programme is based on the common eighteen-month programme drawn up by the German, Portuguese and Slovenian trio Presidencies. Because the Slovenian Presidency considers enhancing financial stability to be of key importance, we have prepared a separate Annex to our programme, expressing our intentions in greater detail. The Presidency's main objective in this field is to implement the work programme adopted, to expedite it and to expand it with new measures, where necessary.”

The Slovenian Finance Minister, Dr Bajuk, also presented the ECOFIN Council's work programme in the area of financial stability. He underlined that, in March 2008, ECOFIN would discuss the progress report on implementation of the work programme in this area and on the situation of the financial markets. ECOFIN would submit its conclusions relating to the report for discussion to the Heads of State and Government at the spring meeting of the European Council. The whole financial stability dossier would also be the main topic of the informal ECOFIN Council meeting in Slovenia in April. In addition, the two Ministers exchanged views on the proposal from the Italian Finance Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa on a single European rulebook and on better cooperation between supervisors. In their discussion, they also touched on tax matters, particularly work in the area of reduced VAT rates and the fight against tax fraud.

The German Finance Minister expressed his full support for the Slovenian Presidency in the implementation of the ECOFIN Council Presidency programme.

On the current situation in the financial markets, the two Ministers agreed that one of the key elements in preventing similar turbulences in future is improving transparency, emphasising that this is the primary responsibility of the market. Dr Bajuk and Mr Steinbrück also discussed the current economic situation and voiced their conviction that the European economic fundamentals are sound, a fact demonstrated by the high employment rate and the increase in domestic demand. Although there are risks associated with movements on the financial markets, trends in energy and food prices and the situation in the United States and on other markets, nonetheless the situation of the European economy differs significantly from the one in the US, and this is primarily the positive result of structural reforms carried out in the past.


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Date: 04.02.2008