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Remarks by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 19 mei 2020.

I will start by welcoming that today EU Member States have adopted our proposal to create a safety net for workers and companies. With up to 100 billion euros, SURE will support the jobs and incomes of workers and self-employed during this crisis.

Today, we have also discussed a new pan-European guarantee fund to be set up by the European Investment Bank. The fund should provide up to 200 billion euros in financing for companies, focusing on SMEs, across Europe. Some issues are still to be worked out, and we hope for quick agreement.

These are part of our immediate crisis response measures together with the ESM's Pandemic Crisis Support. Altogether these measures are worth €540 billion.

Clearly, Europe will need much more when we shift to the recovery phase.

Next week we will present the European Union's recovery plan, with the EU budget at its heart. We will include a strong and frontloaded Recovery Instrument funded through a larger headroom.

In that context, I welcome the proposal made by Germany and France which puts the MFF centre stage. It also reflects the sheer scale of the challenge that our economies face.

We had a first good discussion with ministers on our new action plan to tackle money laundering, which we put forward earlier this month.

Protecting the stability and integrity of our financial system is vital. Our proposed six-point Action Plan tackles all aspects of money laundering to create a comprehensive system that will stop criminals in their tracks.

We have robust EU rules in place - but these must be applied consistently and efficiently, both in the public and private sector.

We need to strengthen our rules - creating a single EU rulebook - and tackle remaining weaknesses. We also need to update the way we screen non-EU countries, with an updated methodology.

We had a first discussion today on ways to boost supervision at the EU level. The string of scandals we have experienced in the last years highlighted that our rules are not being consistently applied by national supervisors. This has to change.

We have different options on the table. We may propose a new EU agency, or add to the responsibilities of the European Banking Authority - this will also depend on the feedback to our public consultation. But as I have said before, if the EBA is to become the EU supervisor, its governance and track record have to improve.

Today the Council adopted conclusions on the European Semester 2020 country reports including in-depth reviews and the implementation of the 2019 country-specific recommendations.

These reports pre-date the crisis - but still, they show that structural challenges and vulnerabilities will need to be addressed in order to recover.

Tomorrow, we will present our Spring European Semester Package, which has been tailored to provide Member States with guidance on how to emerge from this crisis.

We will need a coordinated and comprehensive response so that the Union can recover.

We will also need reforms and high-quality investments to strengthen our economic resilience and to facilitate the transition to a sustainable, digitalised and carbon neutral economy.

Thank you.

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