Yesterday the Danish Presidency had convened for an extra ECOFIN meeting striving to achieve an agreement on the new EU rules on capital requirements for banks during the Danish Presidency. The purpose of the new capital requirements rules is to strengthen the resilience of the European financial sector in light of the experiences from the financial crisis. The file is an important priority for the Danish presidency. The Council did not reach an agreement at the meeting but important progress was made and the Council agreed to return to the matter at the coming ECOFIN meeting on 15 May 2012 with the intent of reaching an agreement.
Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Margrethe Vestager, says:
”We took a big step towards an EU agreement on capital requirements for banks. It is my assessment that the time is right for an agreement based on the presidency’s compromise proposal but there is a need for a round of technical clarifications before we can close the case. There is a supporting qualified majority but we would like to widen this support even further. I hope that we can reach an agreement at the coming ECOFIN meeting 15 May. Requirements that help securing healthier banks is an important lesson form the crisis and we all have to take responsibility when it comes to reaching an agreement.”
At the ECOFIN meeting, the Danish Presidency and the Commission also reported on the G20 meeting and the IMF’s spring meeting that took place in Washington 19-22 April 2012 where the Danish Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior in her capacity as chairwoman of the ECOFIN represented the EU at the G20 meeting and the Nordic-Baltic Constituency at the IMF’s ministerial advisory committee (IMFC). Today’s discussion in the ECOFIN focused on the main result of the meetings in Washington which was the decision to increase IMF resources by more than 430 billion USD. The EU countries had already paved the way for the increase of IMF resources before it was decided in Washington. First, the euro area’s decision to strengthen its own loan facilities to members in trouble at the informal ECOFIN in Copenhagen 30-31 March 2012 and secondly, the euro area and other EU countries had already committed bilateral loans to the IMF.
Margrethe Vestager says:
”Increasing IMF resources by more than 430 billion USD means that the IMF is capable of playing a stronger role in safeguarding global economic and financial stability. Now we have on both a European and a global level created strong firewalls which can help prevent the spreading of the financial crisis. Hopefully we can now focus less on firefighting and more on securing healthier economic policies, which will prohibit new economic fires and promote growth and employment. I am pleased, that the decision to increase IMF resources was a joint decision by the IMF and the G20, as it is imperative that decision that affects all IMF member states also are made when all IMF members states are represented and not just the G20 countries."