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15 March 2011

ECOFIN council conclusions: Economic governance and short selling debated

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The ECOFIN Council agreed a general approach on a package of legislative proposals aimed at strengthening economic governance in the EU – and more specifically in the euro area – as part of the EU's response to the challenges highlighted by recent turmoil in sovereign debt markets.


The agreement will enable the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament, with the aim of reaching an overall agreement in June, thus respecting the timetable set by the European Council.
Recognising that existing EU instruments did not generate a satisfactory decline in public debt levels and catered insufficiently for macroeconomic imbalances, the proposals are aimed at enhancing budgetary discipline in the member states and broadening the surveillance of their economic policies. They implement the recommendations of a task force, chaired by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, which concluded that the EU's monetary union will not be able to function properly in the long term without increased economic policy coordination.
Four of the proposals deal with reform of the EU's Stability and Growth Pact. They are aimed at enhancing the surveillance of fiscal policies, introducing provisions on national fiscal frameworks, and applying enforcement measures for non-compliant member states more consistently and at an earlier stage. The other two proposals target macroeconomic imbalances within the EU.

The Council was briefed by the presidency on ongoing work on a draft regulation on short selling and credit default swaps.
It asked the Permanent Representatives Committee to rapidly resolve the remaining outstanding issues so as to establish a general approach that will enable the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament.
The draft regulation is aimed at harmonising rules for short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps. It introduces common EU transparency requirements and harmonises the powers that national regulators may use in exceptional situations where there is a serious threat to financial stability.


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