Federal Minister of Finance
The Finance Ministers of the 25 EU Member States are represented at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin Council), one of the oldest Council configurations. The Finance Ministers of Romania and Bulgaria are already actively participating as observers pending their countries’ accession to the EU. The Ecofin Council meets formally once a month, in either Brussels or Luxembourg, and informally once every six months in the country holding the Presidency. Before the Ecofin meetings, the Finance Ministers of the countries whose currency is the euro meet informally (Eurogroup) to discuss economic and budgetary policy issues relating to the common currency area and the external representation of the euro area.
The informal meeting of the Economics and Finance Ministers during the Austrian Presidency will take place in Vienna on 7 and 8 April 2006. It will be followed by a meeting with the Finance Ministers of the ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (“ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting") on 8 and 9 April.
Information from the Federal Ministry of Finance: http://eu2006.bmf.gv.at/en/
ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) provides a platform for an informal dialogue of 39 equal partners. These are currently the 25 EU Member States and the European Commission; the ASEAN Member Countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The general aim of the ASEM process, which began in 1996, is to strengthen political, economic and cultural relations between Europe and Asia.
Austria as Presidency will host the seventh ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Vienna. The Ministers will discuss the international economic situation, with particular emphasis on current challenges such as the situation on the oil markets and the continuing great global imbalances, and specific initiatives to deepen cooperation between Europe and Asia. Another key topic will be the structural changes resulting from the international division of labour and the economic challenges they pose to Europe and Asia. The aim of this discussion is to develop specific policy conclusions to ensure that globalisation is a success for all the partners in the long term. This topic is particularly relevant in view of the dynamic development in East Asia, South-East Asia and North Asia.
The ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting will be held on 8 and 9 April 2006. It will be preceded by a preparatory meeting of experts in Vienna at the end of January.