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Volume 545: debated on Monday 14 May 2012

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council will be held in Brussels on 15 May 2012. The following items are on the agenda to be discussed:

Revised Capital Requirement Rules (CRD IV)

Following discussion at the 2 May ECOFIN the Council will discuss the presidency’s compromise on the Commission’s proposal to replace the Capital Requirements Directive (Directives 2006/48/EC and 2006/49/EC, as amended by Directives 2009/111/EC and 2010/76/EU), with a regulation on prudential requirements and a directive on the access to the activity of credit institutions and the prudential supervision of credit institutions and investment firms, together known as “CRD IV”. The presidency aim to reach a general agreement on CRD IV at this ECOFIN to form Council’s negotiating position with the European Parliament and European Commission in Trialogues. The UK continues to support the implementation of Basel III and for member states to have sufficient flexibility to protect financial stability in their jurisdiction.

Negotiating Mandate for Savings Taxation Agreement with Third Countries

The presidency will ask Ministers to adopt a mandate for the Commission to negotiate amended savings taxation agreements with five third countries: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. These agreements provide a framework for combating cross border tax evasion and the Government strongly support the proposed mandate.

2012 Ageing Report

Ministers will be asked to adopt conclusions on the 2012 Ageing Report which is due to be published later in May. The report updates the 50-year public finance projections presented in the 2009 Ageing Report and shows the impact of demographic change across the EU-27 and Norway up to 2060. The report shows the impacts on the UK. These are smaller than on many other European countries, and lower than that set out in the 2009 Ageing Report, reflecting policy changes made by the Government. The analysis is consistent with the demographic projections produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Fast Start Climate Finance

Ministers will be asked to adopt conclusions on fast start climate finance that endorse the fast start finance (FSF) report. The report is published annually and sets out information regarding how the EU and its member states are meeting their FSF commitment to provide €7.2 billion over the period 2010-12. The conclusions will also set out a formative EU position on climate finance from 2013 to 2020.

Draft General Budget for 2013

The Commission will present its draft 2013 EU budget, which was issued on 25 April. The Commission proposes a growth in payments (on 2012 levels) of 6.8% or €8.82 billion, which would take total spending to €137.92 billion.

Alongside other member states, the UK has already strongly objected to this proposed increase in EU spending and will be pushing for a more realistic budget for 2013 that recognise the economic reality facing Europe.

Annual EIB Governors Meeting

The annual meeting of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) board of governors will occur prior to the ECOFIN meeting.

Ministerial Dialogue with Candidate Countries

After the ECOFIN meeting the presidency will chair an informal meeting with Croatia and the five candidate countries (Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) to discuss economic policy.

ECOFIN Breakfast

Eurogroup will meet on 14 May. Ministers will be debriefed on the Eurogroup discussions before the formal ECOFIN starts and are likely to discuss the economic situation. Ministers may also discuss the election of the next President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) ahead of the EBRD annual general meeting on the 18 May.