Agreements in the banking sector would make the European Economic and Monetary Union stronger, said Estonia’s Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste after the meeting of European Union finance ministers at the Ecofin Council of the European Union.
“If we want to strengthen the European Economic and Monetary Union in the future, it is necessary to complete negotiations on the Banking Union package, which progressed considerably during the second half of last year,” Finance Minister Toomas Tõniste said. “Among other things, the initiative for risk reduction in the banking sector and the common deposit insurance scheme should be implemented. I am glad that the Bulgarian Presidency has also given the banking risk reduction package and the common deposit insurance scheme an important place in its programme.”
This Monday and Tuesday, EU finance ministers met in Brussels at the Eurogroup and Ecofin Council and discussed deepening of the European Economic and Monetary Union on the basis on discussions in December at the Euro Summit of the heads of state and government of the eurozone.
On Monday, the Eurogroup, consisting of the finance ministers of the Eurozone, assessed the third review of Greece’s economic adjustment programme, on which the next disbursement of the bailout loan depends. Last year, the Greek economy grew by 1.6 per cent, and growth is strengthening due to domestic demand and investments; the primary budget surplus was larger than expected.
“I am glad that the Greek budget is in a better shape than envisaged in the adjustment programme. The programme has progressed well, and meets its purpose. Greece is faring better, and they are recovering from the crisis,” Tõniste said. “The disbursement of the next loan tranche can be done when Greece has implemented all prior actions of the programme. Most of this has already been done.”
“It is very good that Greece’s need for assistance has turned out to be much smaller than expected. Most probably we will manage with a total sum of loans that is a quarter less than estimated when the programme was drawn up,” Tõniste added.
On Monday, the Eurogroup also received an overview of the 2017 post-programme surveillance report on Portugal, relating to the financial assistance programme that ended in 2014. The recovery of the Portuguese economy is continuing with the help of the reforms implemented both during the programme and after it. The country’s rating has improved and the budget deficit is expected to be reduced.
The finance ministers discussed and endorsed the euro area recommendation on economic policy. The recommendation calls for an economic policy providing a favourable environment for sustainable and inclusive growth in 2018 and 2019. The recommendation also calls for improvements in the Single Market, especially in services, and for implementing relevant reforms at the national level.
Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Estonia
Press Release, 23 January 2018