On 13 and 14 March 2023 Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes participated in the Eurogroup and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) in Brussels.
The Eurogroup's discussions focused on the macroeconomic outlook for the euro area, including inflation developments in the member states. Ministers then exchanged views on the euro-area-specific elements of the fiscal policy guidelines for the period up to 2024, which the European Commission has addressed to Member States for the preparation of their national stability programmes. In its guidelines, the Commission invites Member States to focus on strengthening the sustainability of public finances and on sustainable and inclusive growth through a gradual consolidation of public finances. The Eurogroup adopted a declaration on this subject. The Eurogroup concluded with an exchange of views on the main policy objectives of a digital euro.
At the Ecofin Council, the 27 ministers agreed on conclusions on the reform of the EU's economic governance framework (Economic Governance Review). These conclusions set out key principles to guide the European Commission in preparing its legislative proposals. Yuriko Backes commented: "These conclusions are the result of intense discussions over the last few weeks and demonstrate the spirit of compromise of the Member States. While the text adopted today represents a fair compromise, further clarifications are needed. The European budgetary framework should take into account the specificities of Member States and continue to promote sound fiscal policies."
This was followed by an exchange of views on international affairs in preparation for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington in April 2023. The Swedish Presidency and the European Commission also briefed the ministers on the main outcomes of the G20 meeting held on 22-25 February 2023 in Bengaluru, India.
On the occasion of the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the flagship instrument of the NextGenerationEU recovery plan, ministers held an exchange of views on the RRF's contribution to the EU's energy transition and energy independence. They also adopted an amending Council implementing decision on the update of the recovery and resilience plan submitted by Finland.
Ministers also discussed the economic and financial consequences of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. In this context, they were briefed on the findings of the reports published by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) on the possible effects of the Market Correction Mechanism (MCM) on the financial and energy markets and on security of supply.
In the margins of the meetings, Yuriko Backes had a bilateral meeting with the new Cypriot Minister of Finance, Makis Keravnos.
Press release by the Ministry of Finance