10 September 2021
Good morning, everybody. It is great to have the opportunity to be all here with you in person. Great to be here with my colleagues, with Christine, with Klaus and with Paolo as we review the discussion that we had in our Eurogroup meeting this morning. What I’m going to do in my comments is briefly inform you of what was on the agenda and then emerging from the agenda just emphasise some key points that were common themes from our ministers and our institutions in discussion this morning. Before I do so, I want to begin by genuinely thanking our colleague Andrej and all of his colleagues in the Slovenian government for the wonderful welcome they have afforded us and the efficiency of the meeting that is taking place. It’s something that we’re all looking forward to across the afternoon and looking forward to further good discussions tomorrow.
The agenda for the Eurogroup meeting today had a number of important agenda items on it. We firstly began with an update from Dr. Andrea Ammon, the director of the ECDC, who gave us her perspective on the progress to date of Covid-19, our shared efforts in combating this disease and critically our shared European efforts. Because it was due to the efforts and the immense work that was undertaken by the Commission, that member states were able to access the vaccine that they needed to help with their efforts to get their citizens vaccinated and safe. Without the efforts of the Commission, I’m absolutely certain that our vaccination efforts would not be where they are today.
This discussion on our health and the prospects of our health then led to a discussion on where our current economic prospects stand and our views regarding what the future can bring. We moved from this then to a discussion in relation to corporate solvency and the policy efforts that have been deployed at the Commission level and at member state level to deal with the development of corporate solvency during the crisis. From this then under AOB, we had an update on the recent decision from the Governing Council of the ECB to commence investigatory work in relation to the digital future of the euro. We had an important discussion there where we reaffirmed the independence of all who were involved in this work, but at the same time were able to have a good update of the work that is underway and allow views to be heard. And we’re going to continue with that work in the time ahead.
We then concluded with an update on the convergence prospects within the euro area, and that reaffirmed for all of us the importance of the Recovery and Resilience Fund. And again, we all acknowledged the central role the Commission is now playing in the rollout of the recovery fund and the difference that it can make.
After this, I am really privileged and looking forward to being able to sign a memorandum of understanding with our colleagues in the Commission and with the Governor of the Central Bank of Croatia regarding the minting of euro coins. This is a very practical step, but it is a really important political signal regarding the future of the euro area. I also had the opportunity yesterday to spend a really good day with our colleague, the finance minister of Croatia, where Minister Marić and I spent a day talking about the benefits of the euro and making the case for that and recognising the work that they are doing in their processes regarding potential accession and continuing to encourage them in that work. I also had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Plenković and other members of the Croatian government again to acknowledge the work that they are doing.
So there are three messages that have come forward from today, three really important messages that I wish to convey on behalf of the Eurogroup.
The first message is that our efforts have worked. Our efforts are working in feeding into developing growth prospects within the euro area that matter to the citizens of the European Union, their jobs and their income. The decisions that were made by the Central Bank of Europe, the decisions and all of the work that the Commission has done, combined with the coordination of the Eurogroup, those efforts have worked. They are making a difference in the revised prospects that are different institutions are now communicating.
Secondly, those efforts had a very important common theme. Due to the work that we all intensively undertook, particularly in the run-up to last summer, we put in place a set of safety nets. Those safety nets not only caught us when we were on the verge of falling at a difficult time, but are now playing a critical role in the rebound. The SURE programme of the Commission, the recovery fund, the continued work of our Central Bank and our efforts to coordinate our work within the euro area are playing a really important role now in helping us move to a point of recovery.
But thirdly, while we are at a point of recovery, we also acknowledge how much work needs to be done and the work that lies ahead. Within our discussion this morning, we reaffirmed yet again that we will continue to take a supportive stance in helping our economies to recover, but we’ll move from a more general approach to a more targeted approach.
We reaffirmed yet again the vital element of a complementary approach between fiscal and monetary policy, which we are all committed to. And again this morning, we all acknowledged the value of a common approach within the euro area when we are at this point of recovery, moving to a future that can make a difference to the economic health of our citizens as we continue with our efforts on our public health.
So a very positive meeting this morning, positive but also honest, acknowledging what we have done, acknowledging, however, how much more remains to be done and our commitment to doing that work. Thank you.