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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Press Releases

07.04.2006

Grasser: EU to become an internal financial market with optimum conditions for companies and effective supervision

 

“We are in a phase of economic recovery. As today’s meeting has shown, the mood among finance minsters and central bank governors is good. However, we must seize the opportunity offered by this improvement in the economic climate to consolidate public finances and carry out structural reforms. That will strengthen the European Union economically and also make it a more competitive business and employment location. We want to send a clear signal today to the markets that the European Union is becoming an internal financial market. Important factors in this process are: optimum conditions for companies regarding financial restructuring and strong, effective surveillance”, Federal Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser, the current President of the Ecofin Council, stressed at the press conference following the first working session of the Informal Meeting of Economics and Finance Ministers which began today in Vienna. The discussions centred on a common consolidated corporate tax base, more efficient working methods in the Ecofin Council, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the economic situation, the stability of financial markets, coherent surveillance and crisis management.

"Following a wide-ranging discussion on the harmonisation of the corporate tax base, a clear majority in favour emerged. A common tax base would greatly simplify matters for companies, reduce costs to business and facilitate cross-border cooperation and corporate engagement in other countries. It would also greatly simplify life for SMEs”, Minister Grasser stressed. He announced that this theme, which had been discussed initially in principle today, would also be put on the agenda of the June Ecofin Council for more detailed discussion. Another topic concerned improved working methods in the Ecofin Council. “We reached consensus today that our work needs to have a more political and strategic orientation. Routine issues should be taken off the agenda. In future, only those areas demanding action will be discussed. In particular, we want to spotlight actions by Member States or corporations that can serve as a model”, Grasser stressed. “We want the Council to assume a stronger economic and financial leadership role than hitherto and to identify core areas of the structural reforms”.

Small and medium-sized enterprises were another important topic at the working lunch. “Over the coming weeks, we will debate this issue in depth and determine what action the finance ministers can take to improve the environment for SMEs”, Grasser said. The afternoon session was devoted to a discussion of the economic situation and the stability of the financial markets with the governors of the central banks. “The overall picture is positive: the global economy is growing robustly in 2006”, Grasser declared. He said the forecast for economic growth for the EU-25 was 2.2% and for the Eurozone 1.9%. Exports were also up, as was investment. According to the minister, this would ultimately lead to greater consumer confidence. On the subject of convergence of surveillance and crisis management, Grasser commented: “It is abundantly clear that financial services are becoming increasingly integrated and cross-border activities are also on the increase. For this reason, a national approach to supervision is no longer an adequate response, but more cross-border cooperation is needed.”

 

Contact:

Federal Ministry of Finance
Manfred Lepuschitz
Spokesperson
Tel.: 0043/1/514 33-1188
mailto: manfred.lepuschitz@bmf.gv.at
http://www.bmf.gv.at

 

 

Date: 08.04.2006