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

Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at today’s meeting of the Eurogroup. At the Eurogroup, ministers will take stock of the progress regarding the second review of the stability support programme for Greece. Ministers will also follow up on the implementation of Draft Budgetary Plans and the budgetary situation in the euro area as a whole. As part of the thematic discussions on jobs and growth, ministers will hold a discussion on pension sustainability in the euro area. Finally, ministers will report on national debt issuance plans to the Commission and to the Eurogroup. Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At tomorrow’s ECOFIN, the Commission will be represented by Vice-President Dombrovskis, Vice-President Katainen and Commissioner Moscovici. Ministers will discuss the way forward on the proposal for reduced VAT rates for e-books and other e-publications, part of the Commission’s VAT Action Plan. Views will also be exchanged on the proposal for a VAT ‘reverse charge’ mechanism. If adopted, this proposal would allow Member States to temporarily derogate from the VAT system currently in force across the EU, under strict conditions. As part of the European Semester the Council will discuss the country reports issued by the Commission in February, while ministers are expected to adopt a recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area for 2017.  The outcome of the weekend’s G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden will also be discussed. Vice-President Katainen will make a presentation on the European Defence Fund and ministers will be brought up to date on the state of play of current legislative proposals in the field of financial services. A press conference with Vice-President Dombrovskis will follow the meeting.