The EU's finance strategy was discussed at the meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) on Brussels.
As announced by the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, the French Minister of Finance Bruno Lemerre, in a joint press conference with the Executive Vice-President of the Commission for Economy, Valdis Dobrovskis, the joint strategy will move in three directions, the support for supporting companies exposed to rising fuel prices and promoting the EU's faster dependence on Russian gas.
Also at the meeting, the On the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) Regulation, with a debate on the final text of the regulation pending.
In particular, regarding the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Lemmer noted that all Finance Ministers expressed determination to implement the measures of the 4th package of sanctions without delay, while adding that the 27 decided to support the lifting of the status of the most favored within the World Trade Organization, so that the EU has the right to increase import taxes on Russian products.
Both Mr Lemerre and Mr Dobrowski emphasized that the 27 Foreign Ministers had agreed that, as the leaders had stated at the extraordinary meeting in Versailles, “all options are on the table” in terms of possible sanctions.
Explaining that the situation has led to large increases in energy and food prices, Mr. Lemmer referred in detail to the elements of the joint economic strategy to deal with the impact, on the basis of the Commission proposals:
& # 8211; Support to all households affected by rising fuel prices, which he said has happened in several countries, including France, he said.
& # 8211; Targeted support to companies most affected by rising gas prices, as they are exposed to international competition or the Russian market, or are particularly affected by the importance of fuel in their production. Mr Lemmer referred to tools prepared by the Commission, presented to Ministers by Competition Commissioner Margaret Vestager, and including loan support and low-interest loans.
& # 8211; Promoting Europe's energy independence through investment, diversification of energy sources and strengthening, among other things, renewables. the role of China, and added that the EU must be vigilant as in the face of uncertainty the power of the EU lies in unity.
For his part, Dobrovskis noted that the effects of EU sanctions on Russia's economy are significant, with the ruble collapsing and the country's creditworthiness moving almost to the level of bankruptcy, but also warned of the effects on its economies. Mr Dobrovskis reiterated the need for Member States to make use of existing tools, such as the € 200 billion low-interest loans still available through the Recovery and Sustainability Fund.
He said higher inflation, rising energy and food prices and market volatility were expected. a key step in tackling climate change, but also because Europe is becoming the first region in the world to adopt such a measure.
During the meeting, the Finance Ministers also noted in an effort to reach agreement on the Multinational Corporate Taxation Directive.