Yuriko Backes at the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings in Brussels
After Croatia’s accession in early 2023, the Eurogroup officially brought together twenty eurozone finance ministers for the first time. In this context, the ministers discussed the transition from the Croatian kuna to the euro.
Finance ministers then discussed the digital euro project before adopting a joint declaration outlining a set of principles for the possible creation of such a currency in the future. The Eurogroup also discussed the economic, budget and financial situation in the euro zone. The presentation of the results of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission to the Euro area under Article IV enriched these discussions. Finance ministers also continued their efforts to coordinate national measures to mitigate the impact of energy prices on households and businesses.
The meeting ended with a detailed discussion of the Eurozone-specific aspects of the reform of the European economic governance framework. In this regard, Yuriko Backes emphasized: “Sustainable fiscal policy requires action before trajectories become unsustainable. Our approach must be forward-looking.”
At the Ecofin Council held on January 17, EU finance ministers met for the first time under the Swedish presidency. The latter presented his priorities for the next six months, especially in the current economic context marked by uncertainty.
Later, after the 27 ministers were informed about the implementation of the support instrument for Ukraine (macro-financial assistance+) for 2023, they moved on to the now usual exchange of views on the economic and financial consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. It should be recalled that the Council approved financial assistance in the amount of 18 billion euros for 2023 to finance Ukraine’s urgent needs and the restoration of basic infrastructure.
The Council was also invited to approve the first modification of one of the twenty-seven National Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs). The allocation of European funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility was adjusted in June 2022 to better reflect the impact of the health crisis on growth in different Member States. The revised Luxembourg PRR worth €82.7 million, which was first given the green light by the European Commission, was also the first to be adopted by the Council. In this context, Yuriko Backes said: “Although the plan has been amended from time to time, the original ambitions are fully preserved. I am very glad that the council gave the green light.”
In the context of a breakfast organized before the Ecofin Council meeting, European finance ministers discussed the EU’s response to the US Deflation Act (Inflation Reduction Act).
Yuriko Backes also took advantage of her trip to Brussels to meet with the new finance ministers of Ireland and Latvia, Michael McGrath and Arvils Ašeradens.
Information was provided by the Ministry of Finance