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ECOFIN: 9 October 2007

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council will be held on 9 October in Luxembourg. The items on the agenda are as follows:

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

Ministers will discuss Commission recommendations to abrogate the Excessive Deficit Procedure of the United Kingdom and discuss new recommendations for the Czech Republic to take further action in order to bring the Excessive Deficit to an end.

Public Finances in the EMU

Ministers will be invited to agree conclusions, following their discussion in July on the Commission’s annual Public Finances Report and accompanying proposals aimed at improving the effectiveness of the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact by effectively applying the revised Stability and Growth Pact.

The UK Government support a prudent interpretation of the Stability and Growth Pact, taking into account the economic cycle, the long-term sustainability of the public finances, and the important role of public investment.

Quality of Public Finances

Ministers will be invited to adopt conclusions on the role that the modernisation of public administration can play in enhancing competitiveness, delivering better services, achieving better value for money and ensuring the control of government expenditure. The UK welcomes the sharing of experiences between member states on this issue.

Developments on the Economic and Financial Situation

Following on from discussions at the informal ECOFIN in September, Ministers will discuss the current economic situation and disturbances in global financial markets, including the possible policy responses to the issues raised. The UK strongly supports the proposed work of the Financial Stability Forum on these issues and is committed to pursuing an effective, considered global response to these global financial market issues.

Better Regulation

Ministers will be invited to agree on conclusions on better regulation and its role in improving EU competitiveness. The UK supports the positive efforts of the Commission and welcomes the progress made both at member states and EU level towards reducing administrative burdens in the EU.


Ministers will be invited to agree conclusions on the economic aspects of flexicurity, welcoming recent work by the Commission on developing an approach towards shared principles to develop labour market flexibility alongside support by social systems. The UK believes that fiscal sustainability is critical in the face of Europe’s changing demographics.

Dialogues with Third Countries

Ministers will hear an update from the Commission on its dialogues with third countries, including USA, Japan, China, India and Russia, with a focus on the economic, financial and regulatory aspects of those discussions.

Financial Services—Clearing and Settlement

Ministers will be invited to agree conclusions on Clearing and Settlement covering the ECB’s proposed target 2 securities project, the implementation and functioning of the code of conduct, progress on removal of the Giovannini barriers and the ESCB/CESR standards. These initiatives are intended to address deficiencies in the European clearing and settlement landscape—an area where the Council has long been pressing for change. The UK welcomes progress in addressing these deficiencies.

Financial Services—EU Arrangements for Financial Stability

Ministers will be invited to agree conclusions on the long-running discussion of how to take forward EU arrangements for financial stability. The UK strongly supports efforts to improve financial crisis management arrangements in Europe, and improvements to the financial stability arrangements in general, including ensuring all member states have robust national crisis management arrangements, and improvements to cross border communication and co-operation in financial crises.