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Volume 613: debated on Thursday 21 July 2016

I attended this meeting in my capacity as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 12 July 2016. EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Anti-money laundering

The Commission presented its proposals to amend parts of the fourth anti-money laundering directive (4AMLD), on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, followed by an exchange of views.

Communication on further measures to enhance transparency and the fight against tax evasion and avoidance

ECOFIN heard a presentation from the Commission on further measures to enhance transparency and the fight against tax evasion and avoidance. This was followed by an exchange of views.

Presentation of the work programme of the Slovak presidency

The presidency presented its work programme, this was followed by an exchange of views.

Implementation of the banking union

The Commission gave an update on the transposition of several dossiers linked to the banking union: the single resolution fund, the bank recovery and resolution directive and the deposit guarantee scheme directive.

European semester-country-specific recommendations

The Council adopted the 2016 country-specific recommendations as part of the European semester process.

Implementation of the stability and growth pact

The Council endorsed the draft decisions regarding the performance of Spain and Portugal under the excessive deficit procedure (EDP), based on recommendations by the Commission. The Council agreed with the Commission’s recommendation that Spain and Portugal have not taken effective action against their current targets. As these decisions cover euro area member states, the UK did not have a vote.

Third pillar of the investment plan for Europethematic discussions on investment barriers

The Commission presented on the third pillar investment plan, this was followed by an exchange of views.

Preparation of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Chengdu on 23-24 July 2016

The EU Terms of Reference (ToR) were presented to ECOFIN Finance Ministers for endorsement.

Convergence reports from the Commission and the European Central Bank

There was an exchange of views on the convergence reports which concluded that none of the seven EU member states who are obligated to join the euro fulfil the conditions for adopting the euro.

State of play on finalising the Basel Committees post-crisis banking reform agenda

Council conclusions were adopted on the Basel Committee’s post-crisis banking reform agenda.