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European Commission – Ecofin Council Ministers Discussed Progress On Climate Finance

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Remarks by Vice-President Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference

Brussels, 10 November 2015

Thank you Minister,

At today’s Ecofin Council, Ministers discussed progress on climate finance and deepening the EMU, with a particular emphasis on completing the banking union, among other subjects.

First, on climate finance, I welcome today’s confirmation of the EU’s strong commitment to remain in the lead in helping developing countries tackle climate change.

The EU’s climate finance contribution in 2014 was €14.5 billion, well above the 2013 figure of €9.5 billion, making the EU the world’s biggest provider of climate finance.

And the EU remains committed to contributing its fair share to the international commitment of mobilising USD 100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020.

Of course, it is essential that all other players also make an appropriate effort, notably emerging market economies, which should increase in line with their evolving capabilities.

Aid must be targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable countries. And there must be a strong involvement of the private sector. That requires the necessary enabling environments to be in place, notably a positive carbon price.

As you know, the COP21 climate talks in Paris begin in just three weeks’ time. There is political will around the globe that needs to be translated into effective decisions in Paris. 

Today, Ministers also discussed the future of the EMU.

Last month, the European Commission presented its package of short-term measures stemming from the 5 Presidents’ Report.

Today was the first discussion on this subject at political level since then.

Ministers welcomed the Commission’s ongoing work to make the European Semester more transparent and less complex, while not weakening the Stability and Growth Pact.

We also discussed ways to further improve economic governance, including with the creation of a new European Fiscal Board and national Competitiveness Boards.

We also looked at possibilities for a stronger, united voice of the Euro Area at global level, notably in the IMF.

The Commission looks forward to working together with the Council Presidency and the European Parliament to continue this conversation in the coming weeks. There are still a number of elements to be discussed.

Today’s debate also demonstrated the need for a substantial discussion on the more fundamental reforms ahead of us envisaged in Stage 2 of the 5 Presidents’ report.

However the Euro area moves forward, it must do so in an open and transparent way; in a way that does not create barriers for those Member States not in the Euro area, in a way that respects the integrity of the single market.

At the end of the day, a successful EMU is in the interest of all Member States.

A major part of our work on EMU deepening is to complete the Banking Union.

In the ECOFIN meeting today, the Commission reiterated again the importance of implementing the agreed legislation.

And we recalled the urgency of agreeing now on bridge financing to make the Single Resolution Mechanism fully credible.

The sooner Member States can commit available credit lines to the Fund, the quicker Elke Koenig and her team at the Single Resolution Board can act.

I am pleased we saw good progress on this today so we can be on track to establish bridge financing by the end of the year.

Going forward, we need to put together the different pieces to complete banking union. In this respect, the Commission will present legislative proposals in the coming weeks on moving towards a European Deposit Insurance Scheme and will set out how to further reduce banking sector risks.

Together with Banking Union, more integrated capital markets are crucial to complete EMU.

I welcome the Council’s Conclusions adopted today, supporting our Action Plan on Capital Markets Union.

I would like to thank the Luxembourg Presidency for its commitment in advancing this important file.

We also discussed the refugee crisis in the context of the Stability and Growth Pact.

The Commission is fully committed to applying the Stability and Growth Pact.

This also includes the flexibility that has been included in the Pact to react to unusual events outside the control of the Member States concerned and which have a major impact on public finances.

The Commission will assess this on a case-by-case basis, on the fiscal situation, and in the Member States that submitted such a request.

The Commission will use an incremental approach. We will look at the sudden increases in refugee crisis-related financing compared to the previous year.

Thank you.

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[photo credits: “ShipTracks MODIS 2005may11” by Liam Gumley, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=5488 en:NASA Earth Observatory. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ShipTracks_MODIS_2005may11.jpg#/media/File:ShipTracks_MODIS_2005may11.jpg]

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