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EU aims for a common framework for the resolution of unhealthy banks

31-03-2012 12:59:00

Danish Minister for Economic Affairs Margrethe Vestager and the Swedish and Rumanian Finance Ministers, Anders Borg and Bogdan Dragoi, during the meeting in Copenhagen

Photo: Bjarke Ørsted

The Danish Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Margrethe Vestager, hosted the meeting, when EU finance and economy ministers and central bank governors gathered in Copenhagen this Friday and Saturday to discuss the EU strategy for solving the economic crisis, the resolution of failing banks and the EU multiannual budgetary framework.

On the first day of the meeting the ministers and central bank governors discussed the current economic and financial outlook. Ministers and governors agreed that the common strategy for solving the crisis should remain a top priority.

Margrethe Vestager says:

 “Even though the financial and economic outlook has stabilized somewhat, Europe is still facing massive economic challenges. Thus, it is crucial that we continue to implement our new stronger rules for economic governance: We must bring our public finances on track and undertake the necessary structural reforms in order to rebuild confidence, and eventually leave the crisis behind and proceed on a new stronger path of growth and employment. I expect, that  today’s broad consensus on our agreed crisis strategy will be translated into concrete initiatives, when member states in the near future will present their national plans for economic policy and reforms. This will be the basis of political agreement on country specific assessments and recommendations during the second half of the Danish Presidency.

The overall framework for solving the crisis was strengthened further when euro area member states reached agreement on an expansion of the euro area firewall on Friday morning. This is an important result for the financial stability of Europe.

On the first day of the meeting, ministers and governors also had a short discussion of taxes on the financial sector. Member States agreed that alternatives to the proposal of the Commission should be explored, while at the same time continuing as planned with technical discussions of the Commission proposal.

Margrethe Vestager says:

Most of us agree that banks must pay a fair share of the bill of the crisis, but there are many ways of taxing the banks. Some countries support a financial transaction tax, others don’t and would rather explore alternatives. Moving forward, I find it sensible to look at alternative models for taxing the banks.”

Ministers and governors also discussed the multiannual EU budget (the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020), including the level of expenditure, the allocation of funds to different policy areas as well as the revenue side. The sharing of country positions serves as an important input to the on-going negotiations that will lead to a final agreement on the budget.

On the second day of the meeting ministers and central bank governors discussed a common framework for the resolution of failing banks, which is a crucial element in ensuring a healthy banking sector. This discussion serves as an important contribution to the announced proposal of the Commission on a common framework.

The crisis has shown us how important it is that countries have an efficient and credible system which can step in when banks are failing. Some EU countries have already introduced resolution regimes, but it is important that we agree on a common EU framework in order to ensure a level playing field, create the right conditions for cross-border banking and ensure responsibility in the financial sector. At the same time, we must carefully consider the timing for such a framework, since financial markets are fragile.”, says Margrethe Vestager.

On the second day of the meeting ministers and governors agreed on a common EU position (‘Terms of Reference’) regarding the global economic challenges, which will be addressed at the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Washington on 19-20 April 2012.'

At the G20 meeting, the EU will be represented by Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Margrethe Vestager, in her capacity as ECOFIN President, and by the Commission.

Margrethe Vestager says:

The decision of the euro area member states to strengthen their firewall, as well as the commitment of some EU member states to provide bilateral loans to the IMF, is an important contribution to global agreement on an increase in the IMF firewall, which could prove crucial to the global financial stability.

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See photos from the meeting

Vestager and SchäublePhoto: Bjarke Ørsted

Watch videos from the meeting

Photo: Bjarke Ørsted