Luxembourg, 5 October 2021
Good afternoon. We had a continuation this morning of the discussion on energy prices. This confirms the importance of the work that will be done in the coming days. We will have next week the Communication from the Commission providing a tool kit and common measures. The European Council will also address the issue.
We also discussed the state of play on recovery plans.
So far, we have endorsed 22 of the 25 plans we have received. Our latest positive assessments concern the plans for Romania, Finland, and – earlier this morning – Estonia.
The Council has given the final green light to 18 of these plans, and today also to that of Malta. For the remaining plans, discussions are continuing.
In the meantime, money is flowing. Member States have already received €51.5 billion in pre-financing. In the next few weeks, the process of requests for disbursements connected to achieving targets and milestones will begin.
On the Semester, the rollout of the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the pandemic have of course affected this year’s European Semester. Today we discussed the lessons learnt and began to discuss what the European Semester will look like in 2022 and beyond. 2022 will be a transition year.
Our aim is to return gradually to a more regular cycle of economic policy coordination in the EU as of next year. The European Semester will remain our reference framework, but we need to adapt it to new challenges and ensure the right synergies with the Recovery and Resilience Facility and avoid overlapping with the duplication of reporting and overburdening our administration.
The Commission will set out next month exactly how we will do this.
As you know, the Commission launched a public debate on our economic governance framework in February last year, but we had to put this on hold.
The time has now come to resume this discussion, as announced by President von der Leyen in her State of the Union address.
Today I informed ministers that the Commission plans to adopt on 19 October a Communication that will assess the impact of the crisis and its implications for the economic governance review.
A wide-ranging and inclusive engagement with all stakeholders is necessary, with the objective of achieving consensus on the way forward well in time for 2023.
We also had an exchange of views today on the report on the SURE mechanism, which has been unanimously described as a European success story.
Member States have saved more than €8 billion in interest repayments, thanks to the more favourable borrowing conditions offered by the EU. A very good example of solidarity.
A final point on the Washington meetings next week – the G20 Finance Ministers and the IMF annual meetings.
It will be an opportunity to discuss the state of the global economy, with a recovery underway and lingering uncertainty. My main message ahead of these meetings is that international coordination on the economic and health response continues to be crucial.
International taxation will also be high on our agenda next week. The aim is to be able to endorse an agreement in the OECD Inclusive Framework, which all parties are working hard to conclude by this Friday.
Finally, the question of how to step up support for low-income countries will also be key. We decided on the suspension of debt servicing, as you know – a common framework on how to address debt in low-income countries. The new important initiative now is the Special Drawing Rights and scaling up the IMF trust to tackle poverty. These meetings will be essential to boost these initiatives.