Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Stockholm, 29 April 2023

Press conference with Ms Svantesson and Mr Dombrovskis.

Minister for Finance Elisabeth Svantesson and Governor of Sveriges Riksbank Erik Thedéen chaired the informal Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) meeting in Stockholm on 28–29 April. Ukraine’s Minister of Finance Sergii Marchenko and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland took part in discussions on the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Support to Ukraine is the single most important issue during the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. I was particularly moved hearing my Ukrainian colleague share his experiences and views on the future – Elisabeth Svantesson, Minister for Finance

The two-day meeting began on Friday with a working lunch, during which the ministers discussed how to best respond to the current pressing challenges due to high inflation, and how to shape fiscal policy to support the most vulnerable households and businesses.

At the same time, the central bank governors attended a working lunch hosted by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde and Mr Thedéen.

Marcus Wallenberg spoke at the first working session

The first working session of the meeting – Financing Europe’s future growth – was held on Friday, featuring Chair of SEB Marcus Wallenberg as a guest speaker. The discussion focused on the possibilities of young and innovative businesses to acquire funding and what politics can do support them.

“I find that there is broad consensus in the business sector and politics on the importance of ensuring that the next generation of businesses has access to capital that allows them to grow. These businesses will play an important role in Europe’s competitiveness, growth and transition to a greener and more digital future society,” says Ms Svantesson.

Long-term stabilisation policy and sustainable public finances

The second day began with a working session that focused on the role of fiscal policy in future stabilisation policy. Director of the think tank Bruegel Jeromin Zettelmeyer delivered the opening address.

“Economic forecasts are currently subject to a great deal of uncertainty, including interest rate trends. Naturally, it then becomes particularly difficult to establish a plan for the role of fiscal policy in the long-term. However, we must dare to look beyond this and ask what we want the EU to look like in 10 years and investigate the different ways to get there,” says Ms Svantesson.

Ukraine’s Minister for Finance and Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister took part in the final working session

The third and final working session concerned the coordination of economic support to Ukraine and its reconstruction. Ukraine’s Minister of Finance Sergii Marchenko and Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland took part to share their experiences and views on future cooperation. In addition, Director of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics Torbjörn Becker was a guest speaker.

“Today’s discussions primarily concerned long-term support to Ukraine and its reconstruction. It is crucial that we coordinate this work with international partners such as Canada,” says Ms Svantesson.

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Videos and images from the meeting: Informal Meeting of EU Economy and Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

Press release: Renewed commitment to the capital markets union

 


Swedish EU Presidency: Intensive efforts to enable frozen Russian assets to reach Ukraine

12 April 2023

During the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU, intensive efforts are being made to enable frozen Russian assets to be used in the reconstruction of Ukraine. The work is led by Director-General of the National Board of Trade Anders Ahnlid.

Ukraine’s need for reconstruction support is enormous. A unified EU is contributing in many ways and is exploring new solutions to help in the reconstruction of Ukraine. This is also one of the priorities of the Swedish Presidency.

Since February, a special working group has been focusing on how frozen Russian assets can be used in the reconstruction of Ukraine. Mr Ahnlid leads the working group, which was appointed on a Swedish initiative following a meeting of the European Council.

The working group focuses on getting a clearer picture of where Russian state-owned assets are located and their total value. About USD 300 billion of the Russian central bank’s assets are frozen in G7 countries.

EU assessing different methods

The objective is, as much as possible during the Swedish Presidency, to advance the solutions to using frozen Russian assets in the reconstruction of Ukraine. The working group has been tasked with assessing different methods from legal, economic and political perspectives.

We must help Ukraine while maintaining the rule of law that the EU is built on. This also applies in times of crisis and war – Anders Ahnlid, Director-General of the National Board of Trade

Various regulatory frameworks apply to different types of frozen assets. One regulatory framework governs private assets while another governs public assets. Private assets that have been frozen or seized can, for example, only be confiscated if an offence has been committed and the person in question has been convicted in court in accordance with the rule of law.

“We must therefore follow both EU law and international law – that is the challenge. At the same time, I would like to emphasise that we must be innovative and focus on solutions,” says Mr Ahnlid.

The working group is responsible for this work during the Swedish Presidency and will subsequently hand it over to Spain, which will take over the Presidency in the second half of the year.

“We have to meet high expectations and are doing everything we can to advance the issue as much as possible. However, it is a challenging and difficult task,” says Mr Ahnlid.

Meetings with the 27 member states

The work is primarily carried out through meetings with delegations of the 27 member states and in close cooperation with the ‘Freeze and Seize Task Force’, which is led by the European Commission.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

EU Working Group to look at using frozen Russian assets for reconstruction of Ukraine

Source: Intensive efforts to enable frozen Russian assets to reach Ukraine

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