How can we achieve greater economic growth and reduce the risk of shocks in the European Union? This was the central question examined by the meeting of European finance and economic affairs ministers – the Ecofin Council – on Friday 15 January in Brussels. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem chaired the meeting for the first time, following the start of the Netherlands EU Presidency.
Limiting financial risks
The Netherlands has put strengthening the European Banking Union high on the agenda, with a view to limiting the financial risks to which the EU is exposed. ‘More risk sharing must go hand in hand with risk reduction,’ said Mr Dijsselbloem.
Another priority is the Capital Markets Union, which will free up the flow of finance for business activity across the EU. The Netherlands Presidency will also focus on the health of national economies and public finances. Action against tax avoidance and tax evasion is another key issue.
Rapid action needed
The Ecofin Council also discussed funding for Turkey to help asylum seekers and measures to block the financing of terrorism. The assembled ministers agreed that rapid action was needed on both points.