Fri, 06 Aug 2021

BRUSSELS, June 18 (Xinhua) -- The economic affairs and finance ministers of the European Union (EU) member states met in "a mood of cautious optimism" here on Friday and they acknowledged that post-pandemic recovery was "well underway," according to Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission's executive vice president.

He said he had informed the participants in the Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) Council of the Commission's positive assessment of five of the 24 economic recovery plans submitted by the member states (those of Portugal, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Luxembourg).

Dombrovskis told a news conference following the ministers' meeting that he had also briefed them about the 20 billion euros (23.75 billion U.S. dollars) the Commission had raised via a ten-year bond as part of its plans to finance the 27-nation bloc's recovery from the coronavirus crisis. He said there was "global demand from a wide range of investors."

Turning to fiscal policy, which was also discussed during the meeting, the message to the member states was that they "should not prematurely withdraw fiscal support" and that these should become more differentiated as of next year when economic activity is expected to gradually return to normal.

He recalled the Council of the EU's recommendation that countries with high debt should pursue prudent policies, using the recovery fund to promote investment. On the other hand, member states with low sustainability risks should support their economies, including through the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Regarding tax issues, he said the ministers held a "constructive discussion" and will "continue working to find the right balance between the equal treatment of member states as regards the derogations and ways to restrict the proliferation of reduced rates ."

"There is broad support as regards the need to phase out the derogations contrary to the goals of the Green Deal, and to be more ambitious as regards the timeline for phasing out those derogations. We will support the Slovenian (EU Council) Presidency to finalize this work," he said.

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