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Ecofin discusses its work programme for the second half of 2014

Ecofin discusses its work programme for the second half of 2014

At the meeting on 8 July the ministers discussed the Economic and Financial Affairs Council’s work programme and priorities for the second semester of 2014, presented by the Italian presidency.

Structural reforms and investment in growth and jobs are the key priorities under the Italian presidency of the Council of the EU, which runs from 1 July through to the end of December 2014.

Pier Carlo Padoan, the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance and Chair of the Ecofin, presented the presidency’s proposal for boosting growth in the EU, which rests on 3 main pillars: further integration of the single market, boosting of structural reforms and promotion of investment.

“We do need to continue with fiscal consolidation, we do need to foster growth – these are two sides of the same coin”, said Minister Padoan.

Following the discussion the Council issued a statement, confirming its support for the objectives of boosting growth and jobs. According to the statement, the structural reforms “should be given particular attention, including through an appropriate assessment of fiscal measures and structural reforms, while making the best use of the flexibility that is built into the existing Stability and Growth Pact rules”.

The other main priorities of the Ecofin work programme include completion of the banking union, strengthening the regulation of financial markets and advancing legislative work in the area of taxation.

The ministers will continue to discuss investment opportunities and structural reforms at the informal Ecofin meeting in September. 

Other main items on the agenda

Mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy 

In the context of the forth-coming review of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, the Council discussed ways to improve the effectiveness of policy measures and how implementation of the strategy could be improved through the European Semester.

The Council will discuss the strategy review further in several Council configurations during the second half of 2014. It will then provide guidance for Commission proposals aimed at improving the implementation of the strategy.

European Semester 2014 concluded 

The Council formally adopted country-specific recommendations to the member states and to the euro area as a whole on economic and fiscal policies, following the endorsement by the European Council earlier in June.

Amendment to the parent-subsidiary directive: adoption 

The Council formally adopted an amendment to EU tax rules that will prevent the double non-taxation of dividends distributed amongst corporate groups deriving from hybrid loan arrangements.

Bank resolution rules

The ministers discussed the preparation of implementing legislation (2 legal acts) on contributions to be paid by banks to resolution funds established under recently-agreed rules on bank resolution.

The Commission is expected to complete preparing the 2 legal acts in September 2014.