Two Eurogroups in one

Two Eurogroups in one
Two Eurogroups in one were held on Monday in Brussels. The first was about the actual matters of financial issues in Eurozone. During the second, 27 ministers were in the room to prepare the Euro Summit of December, as President Tusk asked.

At the first, regular meeting, the Ministers of Eurozone were joined by Danièle Nouy of the ECB Supervisory Board and Elke Koenig of the Single Resolution Board. They join regularly the Eurogroup ,to inform on developments in the financial sector, on the work they are doing and any challenges they are facing.

“The banking sector is in a much better shape and that is very good news. There are still elements missing from our frameworks, from the bank union. There are still legacy issues to be dealt with and which are being dealt with in this period of time. The SSM and the SRB are working on both the open issues and the legacy issues. They have given us some input for our legislative work and have told us on some of the challenges they are facing. One of which was dealing with NPLs and we were informed by Danièle Nouy on the recent SSM guidance on NPLs and the provisioning for building up of possible future NPLs. We commended both Ms. Nouy and Ms. König for their excellent work. We encouraged them and the Commission to work on the issues that there are before us and we will meet again in Spring”, said president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

The Eurogroup welcomed two new ministers, one is the Minister from the Netherlands, Wopke Hoekstra, who presented the economic priorities of the new government in the Netherlands, and we welcomed the acting German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier, with whom I had the pleasure to speak in Dutch which is quite remarkable because it does not happen that often.

As regards to Greece, the Ministers had a short debrief from the institutions on the recent mission to Athens. “This is of course in the context of the third review. Very positive signals, work ongoing but of course a lot of work still needs to be done, very much about implementation but everyone has a very strong will and commitment to get it done, preferably before the end of the year”.

In the second part, a number of ministers from non-euro countries participated, discussing two topics: one was the completion of the banking union and the other one was the fiscal policy.

“We introduced the connection between risk-sharing and risk-reduction. Both should be work on, in a particular order, and both are being worked on as we go along. We had an interesting debate. I think there was general agreement that it is useful to take stock of the exact work: where are we? what have been done, for example, when dealing with NPLs or other issues on risk reduction? And building up on the roadmap that we already have, to be more precise on what is then the next step, what more do we require in terms of risk reduction and how does that click into the next step on risk sharing. And that is the work that we will have to do: make more precision on how the process will continue from here on using that roadmap from 2016”, president of Eurogroup said.

“I want first to welcome the fact that we discussed the future of EMU in an inclusive format, of 27”, added Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. “Overall I think we had a very wide-ranging and constructive debate this evening, which will be useful in helping us to move forward in the coming weeks and months. Ahead of the euro summit next month. As you know, the Commission will flesh out its ideas on the future of EMU. We will deliver a package of proposals in early December. We are now at a critical moment in this debate. The crisis is clearly behind us. Growth is there. There is much less political uncertainty in the air than even six months ago. We have a window of opportunity. Our deep conviction is that we must seize this opportunity”, he added. 

Ministers have planned to elect a new Eurogroup President, at the Eurogroup on December 4th. Ministers wishing to put forward their candidacy will be invited to do so, later this month. “We will send a letter to the ministers outlining the exact procedures, and the dates, etc… so everyone knows in advance how it will take place. That will follow later. We did not spend any time on that today”, J. Dijsselbloem said…/IBNA