Press Release - Improving the European Semester Process
08.10.2012, 13:59 (CET)
The European Union’s Economy and Finance Ministers will discuss the way forward on a number of ongoing financial and economic issues as they meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday, October 9, 2012. The ECOFIN Council will examine ways of improving the European Semester process and exchange views on Financial Transaction Tax, as well as finalising European interventions in upcoming international meetings.

On the basis of a Presidency note, ministers will discuss ways to improve the forthcoming European Semester, which aims at improving the ex-ante coordination of economic policies within the EU and to embed EU policy guidance into national policy-making.

European Semester: The way forward

There is general consensus in the EU that the overall outcome of the 2012 European Semester was satisfactory. The integrated approach to surveillance has translated into more concrete, focused and coherent policy advice. The enhanced EU economic governance framework has also generally implied that the process carries more weight than in the past. At the same time though, some weaknesses have been identified, such as major time constraints.

Cyprus’ Minister of Finance, Vassos Shiarly, says:

“The Cyprus Presidency considers the smooth operation of the European Semester as a very important step towards the improvement of Economic Governance in the EU. Our aim is to have an honest and open discussion on the issue so that we can effectively deal with the challenges faced by Member States and European Commission last year, especially on time constraints. ”

Financial Transaction Tax: state of play

During the ECOFIN Council,, the ministers will be updated on developments on the issue of Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), in particular regarding the enhanced cooperation procedure, following June’s ECOFIN. 

The conclusion of June’s ECOFIN Council meeting was that there was no general consensus on the proposed Directive aimed at introducing an EU-wide financial transaction tax (FTT), and that other avenues should be explored. These include the enhanced cooperation procedure, which would allow a group of interested countries to proceed amongst themselves, making use of the EU institutions, by the end of 2012.

“This is a very important European issue and the Cyprus Presidency will invite the Member States which indicated their willingness to participate in enhanced cooperation on FTT and the European Commission to signal a possible timeline for their actions,” Mr. Shiarly added.

Financial Sector Agenda and International Fora

Regarding financial sector issues, the Presidency will inform ministers on the state of play of political trialogue between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission for the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV), on the handling of Commission’s Banking Union Proposals and on the state of play on other dossiers such as Deposit Guarantee Scheme and Bank resolution and Recovery.

Furthermore, ministers will exchange views on the preparation of forthcoming international meetings such as G-20 Finance Ministers and Governors on November 4-5 2012 and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual meetings October 12-14 2012.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
MinisterĀ“s Communications Officer
George Sklavos

Ministry of Finance

Telephone: +357 22601268


08.10.2012 - 08.10.2012