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EU: Informal Economic and Financial Affairs Council

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 8 May 2007

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Gordon Brown) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Informal Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) took place in Berlin on 20 and 21 April 2007. The informal council discussed various aspects of sustainable public finances, efforts to combat VAT fraud and issues relating to financial markets.

The main discussion focused on approaches to optimising public finances to enable member states to meet the challenges posed by globalisation and demographic change, including building social bridges and human capital to improve employability and strengthen social inclusion, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure, and securing stable public revenues. Ministers shared national experiences and ideas for addressing these issues.

The informal council also discussed measures for combating VAT fraud, the spring meetings of the Bretton Woods institutions, hedge funds and the current state of financial markets. Following up on the previous informal council meeting in Helsinki, the informal council was informed about ongoing work on precautionary arrangements to secure the stability of financial markets.

The UK was represented by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls.