ECOFIN: Programme of the six-month Polish Presidency in the second half of 2011

04 July 2011

For the second half of 2011, the ECOFIN Council has the following priorities: to implement effective measures that enhance economic growth; to put public finances in the EU on a stable footing; and to launch initiatives under the Europe 2020 Strategy that support employment and economic growth.

Economic governance – implementation of new measures

Improvement of a situation relating to the current sovereign debt crisis in many countries and enhancement of economic governance in the EU will be the main priorities of the Polish Presidency in the economic and financial areas. Stability of the euro area is of key importance for the whole EU, thus the Presidency will promote this issue despite the fact that Poland is not a member of the eurozone. The Presidency will be actively supporting measures aimed at ensuring long-term stability of public finances that strengthen fiscal discipline and macro-economic oversight, and will undertake the efforts to prepare the position concerning future available mechanisms of support. The Council will act to ensure consistent application of the Stability and Growth Pact, in particular it will assess progress made by Member States in reducing excessive deficits during the first year of the enforcement of the European Semester. These actions have great importance due to its effects and the need to strengthen the measures helping to avoid such crisis in the future.

Actions relating to the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism will also be continued to enable its entry into force in accordance with the timetable set by the European Council in December 2010.

The ECOFIN Council will be engaged in the process of managing the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy. It will aim effectively to implement medium- and long-term structural reforms with a view to increasing EU’s competitiveness, its economic potential, social cohesion and economic convergence.

Recognising that the European System of National and Regional Accounts is an important tool of EU administration, and is also used to analyse the coordination and convergence of the Member States’ economic policies, the Polish Presidency will work actively on the legislative proposals aimed at revising this system.

Financial services – enhancing the security of the European financial market

Recognising the importance of improving the stability of the financial sector in the EU, the Polish Presidency will support and promote the early adoption of proposals aimed at improving financial market regulation and oversight, and at developing crisis management rules, which would help to safeguard the sector against the negative effects of crises and help maintain financial market stability. Special emphasis will be placed on the implementation of measures to increase the integrity and transparency of the financial sector, reducing systemic risks and excessive risk-taking. In addition, the ECOFIN Council will monitor the operation of the new macro- and micro-prudential oversight framework, closely collaborating with the European Systemic Risk Board and the newly-established supervisory agencies.

2012 EU Budget – meeting our needs and challenges

The Polish Presidency will act to conduct efficiently the annual budget procedure in line with the new legislative provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, which grant equal rights to the European Parliament and the Council. The aim of the Presidency will be to ensure that the 2012 EU budget is adopted on time and that its size guarantees that the challenges facing Europe can be met.

Financial Regulation - new, effective budget rules

The Polish Presidency will aim to ensure the smooth continuation of work to amend the financial regulation, which lays down new budget rules to enable EU policies to be implemented effectively.

EU’s own resources - towards a modern system of financing

The Presidency will initiate work on a new system of EU budget revenues, based on a European Commission proposal, in order to establish a modern and fair system of financing EU activities in the new multiannual financial framework.

Protection of EU financial interests – implementation of effective solutions

The Presidency will support initiatives to protect the EU’s financial interests and to combat financial abuses or any other illegal activities affecting those interests. Continued emphasis will be put on the implementation of planned reforms of EU institutions responsible for executing tasks relating to proper control of budget revenues and expenditures.

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