Press Releases Remarks by Paschal Donohoe following the Eurogroup meeting of 11 March 2024

Remarks by Paschal Donohoe following the Eurogroup meeting of 11 March 2024

We have just concluded our March Eurogroup meeting. This was a particularly important meeting because it marked the conclusion of nearly a year of policy discussion on the future of European capital markets, that we undertook to include all 27 member states.

I am pleased to confirm that we agreed on an ambitious Eurogroup statement to outline our common priorities for the future development of the capital markets union in the years to come. This is, I believe, an important result that shows the strong commitment by all member states in the European Union to making swift progress on how we can deepen European capital markets.

We want the European Union to be a stronger leader in the world with regard to innovation and new industries, and to achieve this goal, we have to ensure that businesses have different ways of accessing the money they need, and we have to give them more opportunities to grow and to scale up in Europe and to better compete on the world stage. And to do this, we need to facilitate the creation of attractive investment opportunities for both institutional and individual investors across the European Union.

As I communicated in our meeting in Ghent last month, the statement identifies three different priority areas. What we refer to as the A, the B and the C of capital markets. The A of architecture is about reducing administrative barriers and also streamlining regulatory provisions. We want to build a regulatory system that better works for businesses, investors and savers. The B of businesses includes various steps to ensure that businesses, especially smaller businesses, have access to the money they need to grow within the European Union. And then the C of citizens means actions that we want to take to facilitate access to capital markets for retail investors.

I want to thank all those around the table for the very constructive debate over the past ten months, and in particular in the last number of weeks, and indeed the last day or two. We have achieved a very strong policy direction. But what we have also done is agree on the common ambition that we have on this vital opportunity, which we recognise goes to the heart of competitiveness in each and every one of our countries and in our union collectively.

I am often asked – I was asked indeed today – how this statement can differ from previous action plans. I make the point that this is a statement that comes from the ministers themselves. It is a political statement and has the weight of being agreed by all 27 finance ministers with the ambition that accompanies this. It provides a platform for action not just by the Commission but also by countries themselves. And it is the start now of a process of regular follow up and leadership, at political level, because all ministers today not only agreed on the statement but agreed on the urgency to act. I am committed to keeping the political focus on this high on the agenda. I know I can count on all my fellow ministers to do that.

The other part of the agenda today was our regular euro area meeting, and the main item on that was with regard to our guidance and fiscal policy.

In view of the upcoming budget preparations for 2025, we issued a short statement outlining our common views, which was published earlier on today. This builds on the recent statements on budget policy that the Eurogroup has issued.

As you know, this is now happening in the context of the revised economic governance framework, and we are committed to the consistent and swift implementation of that new framework once it’s in force. In that context, budget coordination in the euro area remains essential for our common strength and cohesion.

We acknowledge that the conditions are in place for an acceleration of growth in 2025, following a somewhat weak start to the year. Inflation is on a downward path, and that’s very good news for our businesses and our citizens.

Today, the Eurogroup agreed to a slightly contractionary fiscal stance overall in the euro area for 2025. We believe this is appropriate at the current juncture, given the economic outlook and the need to maintain budget sustainability, to support the ongoing disinflationary process and at all times continuing to remain agile.

So looking ahead, and in light of the work being done by Commissioner Gentiloni, we are working on our medium term fiscal structural plans. They will be submitted later in the year, and the Eurogroup will continue to engage with the Commission for further guidance and for close dialogue.

Visit the website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *