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ECOFIN and Informal ECOFIN

Volume 629: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2017

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 10 October. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

Early morning session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 9 October meeting of the Eurogroup, and Ministers will discuss the current economic situation. Ministers will also discuss the European Commission’s use of discretion in assessing member states’ compliance with the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

Current financial service legislative proposals

The Council presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Definitive VAT system

The Commission will present their proposals for a definitive VAT system and the creation of a ‘single EU VAT area’.

European semester 2017

The Council will exchange views on a report evaluating the 2017 European semester process and reflect on lessons learnt.

Preparation of the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF annual meetings between 12 and 15 October in Washington

Minsters will agree the EU’s G20 terms of reference and International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) statement, ahead of the annual meetings in Washington.

Climate finance for COP23

The Council will agree Council conclusions on climate finance in preparation for the COP23 UN climate change conference in November.

Digital taxation

The Commission will present its communication of 21 September on ‘a fair and efficient tax system in the EU for the digital single market’. As well as input from the presidency, the Commission will also provide a follow-up to the Tallinn digital summit that was held on 29 September.

Implementation of financial services legislation

Ministers will receive an update from the Commission on implementation of existing financial services legislation.

An informal meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Tallinn on 15-16 September 2017. The UK was represented by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond). EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Working lunch—deepening the economic and monetary union (EMU) and maximising the effectiveness of EU finances

Based on the European Commission reflection papers, Ministers discussed the interlinkages between future development of the economic and monetary union and the framework on EU finances.

Working session I

Ministers were joined by Central Bank Governors for the first Working Session. Two items were discussed.

(a) Deepening of the EMU: interaction of rules and institutions

Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed the implications of the deepening of the economic and monetary union for the EU’s economic and fiscal policy framework.

(b) Capital markets union: Technological Innovation and Financial Regulation (FinTech)

Ministers and Central Bank Governors then focused on the implications of intensified technological innovations to the functioning, development and stability of banking and capital markets. The discussion drew on analysis by Bruegel and included participation from the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, the Commission, and the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Working session II

a) Corporate taxation challenges of the digital economy

Following a presentation by the Estonian presidency, Ministers discussed how to modernise the corporate income tax rules in a way that would take in to account the new business modes using digital technology. Commissioner Dombrovskis and José Ángel Gurria (Secretary-General of the OECD) also contributed to the discussion to set out their respective positions.

b) Cost efficiency and sustainability of customs IT systems

Ministers discussed the governance reform of the customs union, particularly considering customs IT infrastructure that would assure the sustainable and cost efficient electronic systems worthy of a digital single market. This builds on previous discussions regarding the development of an EU customs IT strategy and looks to proposals for a centrally developed customs IT system to be rolled out across Europe from 2025.