Minimum wage, tax havens, debates on the Sure fund and new energy loans. These are just some of the dossiers discussed today atEcofin from Luxembourg, the council of ministers of economy and finance of the EU countries. The most important result undoubtedly concerns the agreement on the RePowerEu energy strategy, the plan with which theEuropean Union aims to become independent of Russian gas. The 27 member countries have reached an agreement to insert a new chapter – entirely dedicated to energy – in the NRPs of the individual states, so as to finance the investments necessary to achieveenergy autonomy. At the end of the meeting, the vice president of the EU Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, he said that “Europe is paying a heavy price for its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.” And, above all, that one can no longer “exclude one contraction of the EU economy during the winter”.
The other files on the table
Today’s meeting in Luxembourg made it possible to continue the discussion on many other dossiers. First of all, the EU ministers gave the definitive go-ahead to the directive on minimum salary. The text was approved in September by European Parliament, but it needed the Ecofin green light to actually take effect. The text discussed today does not set a real minimum wage for all EU countries, nor does it oblige all Member States – such as Italy – to adopt the measure. Rather, the directive aims to strengthen the role of the collective bargaining, which will have to cover 80% of the workers. Today’s meeting of ministers also served to update the list of “Non-cooperative jurisdictions”namely i tax havens. The list was joined by Anguilla, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, leading to twelve the definitive number of territories that provide for a zero rate for all companies.
On today’s meeting, then, another question hovered: the hypothesis of reintroducing the Sure fund, the European support mechanism against unemployment created during the pandemic, including for the energy crisis. The proposal to introduce a common European instrument was made yesterday by EU commissioners Paolo Gentiloni e Thierry Breton. And today you have received the support of the French minister Bruno Le Mairewhich called for the approval of «a European solidarity facility, based on the Sure model, with the lowest possible rates ». Finance Minister of the Czech Republic, Zbynek Stanjura, confirmed that the issue has been discussed, even if there continue to be “divergent opinions”. He then thought about dampening the enthusiasm Magnus BrunnerAustrian minister, who branded the proposal for a common fund as “the individual opinion of two commissionersAnd certainly not “the general opinion of the European Commission”.
Today’s Ecofin was also given the go-ahead for Pnrr of the Netherlandswhich will arrive in the coffers of The Hague 4.7 billion euros in grants. Finance ministers then approved a regulation that strengthens the regulatory framework for banks operating in Europe. The new rules provide for a series of adjustments that “improve the resolvability of banks”, so that they remain “resilient and able to withstand shocks”.
Cover photo: EPA / OLIVIER HOSLET | Finance Minister of the Czech Republic, Zbynek Stanjura, and his German counterpart Christian Lindner
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