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Opening remarks of Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 21 januari 2020.

First of all, I would like to wish a lot of success and endurance to Zdravko and his team on taking over the Council's Presidency.

Croatia is the youngest EU Member State.

As we speak, ambitious reforms are taking place in the country to make it ready for a successful membership in the euro area.

I know from my personal experience that road to the euro can seem long and bumpy.

But it is definitely worth taking. Because your country, its economy, businesses and society will emerge stronger from this journey.

And of course, the European Commission and I personally, stand ready to support Croatia's efforts at all times.

European Green Deal

Now moving to tody's agenda points, I would single out the debate on the Commission's European Green Deal Investment Plan or Sustainable Europe Investment Plan.

As you know, this is our comprehensive funding plan to make the Green Deal a reality.

Why do we need it? To meet only the current 2030 climate and energy targets, it is estimated that we need an additional €260 billion of additional annual investment.

We plan to mobilise both public and private funds to generate at least €1 trillion in sustainable investments. That means using the EU budget, and also, using new rules and some regulatory incentives to spur green investments, both from Member States and private sectors.

Today we heard strong support and commitment from finance ministers to take ownership of the green transition. We share the view that each country has its own challenges and different starting points. The Commission will take these points into account in its work.

It is also clear that private capital will have to cover the biggest share of transition costs.

This is why one of my top priorities is to drive forward our sustainable finance agenda and bring private investors on board.

Co-legislators recently agreed on the classification - or taxonomy - for green investments. Once implemented, this will give the private sector the tool it needs to identify what is green. We will explore how this taxonomy can also be used the public sector.

And later this year, we will put forward a renewed sustainable finance strategy.

This will include requiring companies to increase disclosure of their sustainable activities.

It also establishes standards and labels for sustainable investment products. Green bond standard, green mortgages, EU label for green financial products; are just some examples.

Ministers also stressed the need for international cooperation in this field, because the EU is not the biggest polluter.

That's why we have already launched the International Platform for Sustainable Finance to work with other countries on greening the global financial system. And we are reaching out to more countries to join.

Digital Tax

Then, we now move to digital taxation.

We're heading for a crucial moment in terms of reform of the international corporate tax system.

We've seen some progress at the OECD on the first strand of reforms, the so-called Pillar 1. But, we need to make sure that these reforms are meaningful. When businesses are active in jurisdictions without a physical presence, this activity has to be captured effectively.

I'm concerned at the lack of parallel progress on minimum effective taxation measures, or Pillar 2. This is fundamental to ensuring that all businesses pay a fair share of tax.

So, today we called on EU finance ministers to speak with one voice internationally on this. The EU must be active in the design of the global solution to make sure it works for us, both in terms of fairness and competitiveness.

Anti-money Laundering (AML)

And finally, some words on Anti-money Laundering (AML). We committed to work on an efficient and ambitious supervisory architecture to tackle money laundering.

We also need to have an effective implementation of our own rules.

On January 10, EU countries should all have transposed the fifth AML Directive. These are vital rules to ensure the integrity of the Union financial system. But, I am concerned that a few Member States haven't yet transposed them.

There are no two ways about it: these rules must be implemented in full and in a timely way.

So, we must lose no time: I will propose to initiate infringement proceedings against those countries lagging behind, as early as in February.

Thank you.


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