Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
Brussels, 8 November 2022

Thank you minister, good afternoon everyone.

As the minister already said, we reached a general approach on the Banking Package that the Commission presented a little more than a year ago.

It is a major step towards implementing the international standards of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision – known as Basel III. This is important to finalise the post-crisis reforms of banking regulation.

We all share the same objective of making banks more resilient to future economic shocks by implementing Basel III faithfully.

At the same time, it is important that we take specific features of Europe’s banking sector into account to avoid a significant overall increase in capital requirements for EU banks.

This will maintain the sector’s competitiveness.

It will make sure that EU banks remain a reliable and sustainable source of finance for the EU economy.

The next step will now be to start negotiations with the European Parliament, aiming to reach agreement as soon as possible.

We are also looking forward to seeing our partner countries make progress on implementing the Basel III standards.

Let me turn now to the wider economy, where we have reached something of a turning point.

In the first half of the year, we saw surprisingly strong growth. By the second quarter, all euro area economies had recovered to their pre-COVID output volume.

But since then, the forces that have been driving this expansion have largely faded away.

The only bright spot comes from the EU labour markets, where figures for employment remain solid.

But in the meantime, the shocks caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine are taking the upper hand.

The outlook for economic growth now looks significantly weaker than in the Commission’s summer forecast, while inflation will stay higher for longer.

We will update our economic forecast later this week.

With several negative factors in play, and in a difficult geopolitical context, one thing remains clear: the EU urgently needs to accelerate its transition towards cleaner energy and away from fossil fuels – particularly from Russia.

Adding dedicated REPowerEU chapters into existing recovery and resilience plans will be an excellent way to finance measures to address high energy prices and energy poverty.

In effect, it will mean frontloading financial support so that we can respond better to the energy crisis.

The European Parliament is expected to endorse its position on REPowerEU at its plenary session tomorrow.

Trilogue negotiations could start shortly afterwards. This is very good news: we want REPowerEU in place as soon as possible so that people and businesses can start reaping the benefits.

Ministers also discussed the impact of the Commission’s proposed energy market measures on financial markets.

These measures have three objectives:

  • to ease the liquidity stress that some energy firms are experiencing when they hedge risks
  • to tackle price volatility on energy derivatives markets
  • to provide markets with an accurate and reliable price assessment of LNG imports into Europe.

The situation in energy markets is exceptional, so we need to act as quickly as possible.

Now, turning to Ukraine.

In line with the recent EU leaders’ call for the Commission to propose a more structural solution for assisting Ukraine, ministers agreed to move ahead with an assistance package of up to €18 billion of concessional loans for 2023.

We should aim for a first disbursement in January.

The Commission will present its proposal tomorrow. Our aim is to secure approval from the European Parliament and Council before the end of the year.

It needs to be decided quickly: 2023 is approaching fast and Ukraine’s financing needs are urgent.

As regards this year’s financing, we expect the next payment of €2.5 billion to reach Kyiv by the end of this month.

Thank you.

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