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Main results of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council

EU News 67/2013

12 February 2013
Council of the European Union
3220th Council meeting
Economic and Financial Affairs
President Mr Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance of Ireland

The Council adopted conclusions under the 2013 European Semester on the basis of two reports submitted by the Commission: the annual growth survey and the alert mechanism report.

Regarding the annual growth survey, the Council agreed that the priorities identified in the 2012 survey remain valid for 2013. It considered that improving confidence, reviving economic growth, ensuring debt sustainability and improving competitiveness, whilst creating the conditions for sustainable growth and jobs in the longer term, are of particular importance at the current juncture.

As concerns the alert mechanism report, the Council acknowledged that many EU economies continue to face important challenges in correcting macroeconomic imbalances accumulated before the economic crisis. It welcomed implementation of structural reforms in the member states, leading to gains in competitiveness and a rebalancing in the EU and within the euro area.

In March, the European Council will provide guidance on the next steps in this year's European Semester process.

The Council also adopted conclusions on the Commission's 2012 fiscal sustainability report. The report assesses the sustainability of public finances in the member states on the basis of long-term budgetary projections, incorporating the implications of the financial, economic and fiscal crisis, as well as the impact of ageing populations. It is the first such report since 2009.

Furthermore, the Council adopted:

a recommendation to the European Parliament on the discharge to be given for implementation of the EU's general budget for 2011;

conclusions setting the Council's priorities for negotiation with the Parliament of the EU's budget for 2014.