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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Press Releases

08.04.2006

Grasser: The internal market must be completed

Informal meeting of EU Economics and Finance Ministers in Vienna ended today

 

“We want to set a course towards a more competitive Europe, towards more investment in Europe and towards secure jobs. There was broad agreement on this on the part of the ministers. We want to see things get done. One thing is certain: the internal market must be completed. That means less fragmentation, greater deregulation, more liberalisation and fewer — but more efficient — regulations”, Federal Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser, President of the Ecofin Council, said at the press conference during the informal meeting of Economics and Finance Ministers in Vienna, which ended today. It had also been made clear that protectionism only exacerbated Europe’s problems, Grasser continued. “Continuing protectionism is one of the reasons for the current levels of unemployment in our countries”, he declared.

Another key topic of the ministers’ discussions was labour market liberalisation to increase adaptability and flexibility, while at the same time making allowance for social security. “We must build bridges for people, to give them security in a globalised, fast-moving economy. We must protect people rather than individual jobs”, Grasser said, making reference to a paper on this subject prepared by the Swedish and UK Finance Ministers, Pär Nuder and Gordon Brown. “This also means securing jobs in Europe, not by legislating, but as a voluntary commitment and major concern of those with political and economic responsibility”, Grasser stressed. The priority issues identified at today’s working session will be on the agenda in the coming weeks and will be followed up under the Finnish Presidency, he announced.

An important item on the agenda of the working session according to Grasser had been the presentation of best-practice examples by the CEOs of three major companies - Cesar Alierta (Spanish Telefonica), Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé), Bernd Pischetsrieder (VW). In this connection, the following problems among others were discussed: excessive authorisation regulations for vehicles compared with the USA, the need to introduce the country of origin principle in taxation matters and harmonisation of the bases of assessment.

Aid policy was also discussed by the ministers today. “Aid should not be such as to encourage cashing-in effects. Aid on both the national and the EU level should be geared to underpinning and integrating the clear and important technology and innovation goals”, Grasser stressed.

 

Contact:

Federal Ministry of Finance
Manfred Lepuschitz
Spokesperson
Tel.: 0043/1/514 33-1188
Fax: 0043/1/512 62 00
mailto: manfred.lepuschitz@bmf.gv.at
www.bmf.gv.at

 

 

Date: 09.04.2006