On 13 and 14 January Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes participated in the Eurogroup and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) in Brussels.
The Eurogroup discussions focused on the macroeconomic outlook in the euro zone in the light of the economic forecasts published by the European Commission. The Winter Economic Forecast shows moderate growth, reflecting the resilience of the euro area, which has started 2023 in a better situation than expected. The Commission has revised downwards its projections of inflation rates for 2023 and 2024. In the discussions, particular attention was paid to labour and energy markets.
In the course of the Ecofin Council, the 27 ministers continued their discussions on the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact (Economic Governance Review). Yuriko Backes pointed out: "Recent years have shown that crises can occur unexpectedly and that appropriate budgetary means are needed to counter them effectively. This is why our common budgetary framework will have to promote a proactive and prudent fiscal policy. The design of any new framework should be based on the principle of multilateralism, which has proved effective in the past."
The meeting allowed the ministers to take stock of the economic and financial consequences of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The effectiveness of the existing sanctions regime and the 10th sanctions package under preparation were at the centre of these discussions.
Ministers also adopted an amended implementing Council decision on the update of the recovery and resilience plan submitted by Germany and the EU mandate for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in India at the end of February.
At the Ecofin breakfast, Finance Ministers held an informal exchange of views on the Green Deal Industrial Plan presented by the European Commission on 1 February, which aims to strengthen the competitiveness of Europe's net-zero emissions industry and support the rapid transition to climate neutrality.
A lunch organised by the Dutch Presidency of the Benelux Union was an opportunity for the three Finance Ministers to take stock of their common priorities in European matters. Yuriko Backes also participated in the informal dinner for women Finance Ministers hosted by her Swedish counterpart, Elisabeth Svantesson, who holds the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for Economic and Financial Affairs in the first half of 2023.
Press release by the Ministry of Finance