Preparation of the ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings, 20-21 February 2017

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at today’s meeting of the Eurogroup and tomorrow’s ECOFIN Council meeting. At the Eurogroup, ministers will hold a general discussion on the ease of doing business in the euro area. Based on the Commission’s Winter 2017 Economic Forecast published on 13 February, ministers will also exchange views on the economic situation and policy challenges for the euro area. Ministers will then assess progress made on the second review of the stability support programme for Greece. Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission in the press conference following the Eurogroup meeting. At tomorrow’s ECOFIN, ministers are expected to agree on new tax-avoidance measures, following the Commission’s proposal last October. The new rules would prevent multinational companies from avoiding tax by exploiting differences between tax systems in Member States and those in non-EU countries (so-called ‘hybrid mismatches’). Ministers will be updated on the state of play in the process towards the common EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. The Council will also discuss preparations for the upcoming meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Germany on 17 and 18 March 2017. A recommendation to the European Parliament on the discharge for the implementation of the EU’s general budget for 2015 and conclusions on the general budget for 2018 should also be adopted. Commissioner Oettinger will attend the meeting for these two points. Finally, the Commission will update the Council on the state of play of current legislative proposals in the field of financial services. The meeting will be followed by a press conference with Vice-President Dombrovskis.