Eurogroup and Economic and Financial Affairs Council meetings, 7 and 8 November 2019

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will represent the Commission at this week’s Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings. Today’s Eurogroup will begin with a discussion on the candidacy of Isabel Schnabel for the ECB’s Executive Board, followed by an exchange of views on innovation and research as a means to boost productivity and competitiveness in the euro area. The European Commission will present the Autumn Economic Forecast, published earlier today. In the inclusive format, Ministers will discuss the reform of the European Stability Mechanism treaty, focusing on the legal framework for the common backstop and precautionary instruments. The Chair of the High Level Working Group on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) will present the progress made in the discussions on a roadmap for political negotiations and further work planned until December. As a follow-up to the Eurogroup agreement on the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness (BICC) term sheet in October, the Eurogroup Working Group President will present a state of play of technical work. Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. Friday’s events will kick off with a meeting between EU Finance Ministers and their EFTA counterparts from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, in the presence of Vice-President Dombrovskis. This will be followed by the first joint meeting of EU Finance and Education Ministers where a policy debate will be held on the importance of effective and high-quality education and training to achieve a strong economic base for Europe. Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Tibor Navracsics will also take part in this meeting and in the press conference that follows with the Finnish Presidency. In the afternoon, Finance Ministers will gather to discuss the current state of play on the negotiations towards international corporate tax reform and should agree on the latest update to the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Agreement will be sought on Commission proposals to improve excise duty rules for alcohol products in the EU, as well as an update to general excise duty rules to cut red tape for businesses dealing with excisable goods. The Council should also agree on a series of measures to simplify and harmonise VAT rules, notably for VAT exemptions for SMEs, as well as new measures to crack down on VAT fraud in the e-commerce sector. The Presidency will inform Ministers about a draft joint statement of the Council and the Commission on stablecoins which should be agreed at the December ECOFIN. Ministers will be invited to adopt conclusions on the financing aspect of climate change ahead of COP25 which takes place in Madrid from 2-13 December. Following their earlier discussions, Ministers are expected to adopt a recommendation to the European Council on the nomination of Ms Schnabel to the ECB’s executive board. The Presidency and the Commission will brief the Council on recent G20 and IMF Finance Minister meetings. Finally, the Council is expected to adopt conclusions on European official statistics in the context of the EU’s economic governance framework. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the meeting.