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ECOFIN Council of Finance Ministers adopts conclusions on financial supervision and provision of financial stability in the EU

photo: Thierry Monasse

Slovenian Finance Minister and current ECOFIN President Andrej Bajuk today chaired a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN)  at which EU Finance Ministers, among other things, adopted conclusions following discussions held at the Informal ECOFIN Meeting of 4 and 5 April at Brdo pri Kranju.  The Ministers also confirmed the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and thus launched a new three-year cycle. Member States will draw up their national reform programmes by the autumn.


The EU Supervisory Framework and Financial Stability Arrangements

After the ECOFIN meeting, Dr Bajuk highlighted the importance of the adoption, after discussions at the informal ECOFIN meeting in April, of the following conclusions on financial supervision and the provision of long-term financial stability in the EU:

  • Strengthening the European mandate of national supervisors, which will in particular allow financial supervisory authorities to consider financial stability concerns in other Member States when exercising their duties.
  • Improved functioning of the EU Committees of Supervisors (Level 3 Committees in the Lamfallusy process), which should be given new tasks to be set out in more detail in September this year.
  • Cooperation of supervisors within colleges of supervisors for individual cross-border financial groups, which should also ensure the exchange of all important information between the home and host country supervisors.
  • In the event of a crisis, while emphasising that primacy will always be given to private sector solutions, the Ministers agreed that the issue of potential burden-sharing needs to be addressed further, if budgetary costs are involved.
  • Speeding up work relating to the convergence of regulatory and financial reporting. This includes the possibility of moving towards introducing a common reporting format for cross-border financial groups to reduce costs and ensure convergence.

The Ministers called upon the Commission to prepare a discussion on deposit guarantee schemes  and confirmed the next crisis simulation exercise, which will take place in spring 2009 on the basis of the new Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation on cross-border financial stability.

They updated three roadmaps adopted in October and December 2007: the roadmap on responses to the financial turmoil, the roadmap for improving the supervisory arrangements in the financial system and the roadmap for developing the EU arrangements for financial stability and crisis management.


Adoption of conclusions to set up an integrated Western Balkans Investment Framework

Today's commitment to setting up an integrated Western Balkans Investment Framework shows the ministers' dedication to financial cooperation and the further development of this region. This framework will ensure a gradual pooling of available financing instruments for the Western Balkans, mainly various mechanisms of the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. At present, apart from bilateral financing arrangements, there are over 20 different financing instruments covering various needs of these countries.

Concrete steps have been adopted towards establishing this framework. This year, a common website will be set up. At the same time, the steering group comprising representatives of the Commission and international financial institutions will start working on launching the one-stop shop and preparing, by the end of 2008,  a list of major administrative obstacles to be eliminated in order to ensure efficient coordination among the institutions involved. This means that Western Balkan countries will be able to obtain comprehensive information on the availability of financing at a single point.


Adoption of conclusions on good governance in the field of taxation

Finance Minister Bajuk expressed satisfaction that, after almost two years' work, the Ministers have succeeded in unanimously adopting conclusions on tax issues related to agreements to be concluded by the Community and its Member States with non-EU countries and groups of non-EU countries.

The conclusions represent a major step forward in introducing and implementing the principles of good governance adopted by the Member States at Community level in the field of taxation (transparency, exchange of information and fair competition) across the widest possible geographical area. They will help prevent cross-border tax fraud and tax evasion and strengthen the fight against money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism.



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Date: 16.05.2008