EU Finance Ministers will decide on improving access of small businesses to finance

15 October 2013, Last updated at, 17:56 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

European Union Finance Ministers will meet on October 15 in Luxembourg to finalise the question on improving access of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to finance. They will also exchange views on strengthening of the economic policy coordination. These items are related to the preparation of the European Council at the end of October.

“I expect that we will take the final decision on measures to help the development of small and medium enterprises, thus promoting growth and jobs. The Lithuanian Presidency will also provide information on the progress in the financial services area. In addition, we will discuss the tasks that need to be finalized without delay, especially tasks related to the development of the Banking Union. Discussions in the G20 meeting last week showed that global economic recovery still lacks sustainability and we do not have time to postpone the decisions aimed at ensuring financial stability of Europe“, said chair the ECOFIN, Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius.

In preparation for the European Council meeting on October 24–25, the EU Finance Ministers will discuss economic policy areas and indicators for more effective functioning of EMU, as well as the way forward on fostering access of SME’s to finance proposed in the initiative by the European Commission and European Investment Bank. This question was discussed at the Informal ECOFIN meeting in Vilnius in September. The initiative aims to help SMEs by providing financial institutions (banks) with risk-sharing instruments, such as guarantees or securitisation schemes. The Ministers will finalise the discussion in Luxembourg and the ECOFIN Chair will inform the President of the European Council on the suggested way forward regarding the SMEs initiative.

Analysing lessons learned from 2013 European Semester the EU Finance Ministers will exchange views on how to improve this exercise further, including increasing the national ownership and enhancing the implementation of the Council recommendations for the Member States and the Euro area.

The Ministers will approve the Council’s conclusions on the financial aspects of climate change, which will be further discussed in the United Nations International Conference in Warsaw in November. ECOFIN ministers will also consider the outcomes of the G20 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting, as well as the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, which took place in Washington last week.

Ahead of the ECOFIN meeting, the Ministerial Dialogue with European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries will take place. The EU Finance Ministers and representatives of EFTA will discuss the European economic and financial developments, as well as implications of the recent financial services regulatory reforms in order to ensure financial stability of the whole Europe.

In the informal session the Ministers will discuss backstop arrangements for bank resolution funds, including in the context of upcoming asset quality review and stress test exercises to be undertaken next year.

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