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Volume 557: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2013

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 22 January 2013. Ministers discussed the following items:

Current legislative proposals

The presidency updated Ministers on the single supervisory mechanism (SSM), capital requirements directive IV (CRD IV) and economic governance—“Two Pack”.

Presentation of the Presidency work programme

The presidency presented its ECOFIN work programme for the first half of 2013. Priorities include: economic governance and policy co-ordination; strengthening financial regulation and supervision; progressing work on economic and monetary integration; and representing the EU in the G20.

Follow-up to the European Council meeting on 13/14 December 2012

The presidency provided a summary on issues related to deepening economic and monetary union as detailed in the December European Council conclusions. These issues are reflected in the priorities of the current presidency’s work programme.

Annual Growth Survey

The Council discussed the annual growth survey which was published last November and signalled the start of the European semester 2013. Council conclusions will come back to a future ECOFIN.

Communication: Action Plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion

The Commission presented its action plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion. The plan follows the mandate of the March 2012 European Council which called for concrete ways to fight tax fraud and tax evasion.

Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)

The Council adopted a proposal for a Council decision authorising enhanced co-operation for an FTT. The UK will not participate in an enhanced co-operation FTT. The UK was one of a number of member states who raised concerns that the European Commission has not provided any analysis of the impacts an enhanced co-operation FTT would have on individual member states, both participants and non-participants. The UK tabled a minute statement stating that the UK could not support the proposal as it was not possible to take the view that the conditions set out in the treaty on the functioning of the European Union and the treaty on European Union are fulfilled. These conditions include the following: any such co-operation shall not undermine the internal market or economic, social and territorial cohesion; such co-operation shall not constitute a barrier to or discrimination in trade between member states, nor distort competition between them; and any enhanced co-operation shall respect the competences, rights and obligations of those member states which do not participate in it.