Speech: Commissioner Moscovici's introductory remarks at the Eurogroup press conference - EU monitor

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Woensdag 1 april 2020
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Speech: Commissioner Moscovici's introductory remarks at the Eurogroup press conference

Met dank overgenomen van P. (Pierre) Moscovici i, gepubliceerd op donderdag 16 mei 2019.

Bonsoir. J'ai présenté à l'Eurogroupe aujourd'hui les prévisions économiques de printemps que la Commission a publiées la semaine passée. L'économie européenne continuerait de croître en 2019 et 2020 : plus particulièrement, la croissance resterait positive dans tous les États membres, ce qui signifie que tous les bruits de récession ne sont pas fondés. Nous continuons de recevoir de bonnes nouvelles sur le front de l'emploi, notamment une augmentation des salaires. Donc au total, nous avons une économie qui reste robuste.

Mais nous sommes face à une conjoncture mondiale moins favorable et à des incertitudes persistantes. Il y a notamment le risque concret d'une montée du protectionnisme au niveau international.

J'ai donc saisi l'occasion pour insister sur la nécessité de se tenir prêts à apporter davantage de soutien à l'économie, à utiliser les leviers que nous avons à disposition, s'il s'avère nécessaire, quand il fait un peu froid - ce qui n'est plus le cas maintenant - il ne faut pas hésiter à mettre un peu de chauffage. Il faudra dans tous les cas poursuivre des réformes pour augmenter la productivité et booster la croissance potentielle.

Il faudra aussi avancer sur la voie vers le complètement de l'union économique et monétaire, qui peut avoir un impact absolument majeur sur la confiance des investisseurs. Et dans ce contexte, il est particulièrement important que nous ayons un accord crédible et suffisamment ambitieux sur le paquet de réformes de l'UEM que le sommet de la zone euro devrait valider le mois prochain.

On that note, as Mario said, we took forward our discussion today on the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness, which is now known as the BICC - because we know that another acronym is the best way to bring us closer to citizens.

We have already discussed extensively the expenditure and governance aspects of this instrument. There is a consensus that it will support reforms and investments and that there will need to be an element of co-financing by the Member States that should be ensured.

There is also agreement that the governance of the instrument should involve strategic guidance by euro area Member States and that it should be fully embedded in the European Semester. Of course, we still have some work to flesh out the concrete application of these principles.

So our discussion today focused on the financing side of the Instrument and on governance issues related and linked to that. As decided by the Leaders in December, the Budgetary Instrument should be fully embedded in the EU i budget and there is broad agreement that at least part of the financing should be drawn from the envelope the Commission has proposed for the Reform Support Programme. There is an ongoing debate about the desirability of an intergovernmental agreement through which additional resources could be challenged into the instrument.

The cyclical situation today reminds us that we should not forget the cyclical properties of this instrument. The Commission is respectful of the December Summit conclusions,. At the same time, this does not mean that we should build an instrument that exacerbates pro-cyclicality. It is rather the opposite that we need: incorporating at least some stabilisation properties into this instrument to help all Member States deal with potential downturns. This would send a much-needed positive signal already today. In other words, the Commission does not renounce to its proposal on stabilisation.

In this perspective, the idea of adjusting the co-financing rate in the event of a cyclical downturn in one or several Member States is one I believe is worth exploring further. I very much hope that we find an agreement on this important subject.

The next Eurogroup is exactly four weeks from today and by that meeting we will need to pull all the different strands of this debate together, in time for the Euro Summit which will take place the following week. And I am confident that we will get there because I feelplenty of determination, not only on the part of the Commission, but also among the Member States. So let's now make a final push to reach an agreement on a useful instrument that can take us one step further towards a fairer and more resilient Economic and Monetary Union. It will be a first step but a welcomed one.

SPEECH/19/2592

 

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