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

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 10 juli 2020.

Ladies and Gentlemen, lieber Olaf,

Ich freue mich auf die Zusammenarbeit in den nächsten sechs Monate während der Deutschen Ratspräsidentschaft der Europäischen Union. Sie können sich auf meine volle Unterstützung verlassen.

Europe's economic recovery is our top priority. We need to do all we can to protect Europeans from unemployment or loss of income. So we must quickly reach a solid, political agreement on the next multiannual financial framework and on our recovery package, Next Generation EU.

We also agree with the Presidency that we need to stay focused on longer-term challenges, such as the green and digital transitions. We also need to tackle inequalities so that our recovery can be inclusive. In the autumn, we want to move forward on the Banking and Capital Markets Unions, and on strengthening the international role of the euro. Looking forward, we need to ensure that Member States have secure tax revenues, by intensifying our fight against tax fraud and evasion. This is also important for ensuring all Member States can finance the recovery.

Let me start with the economy.

The effects of the pandemic were worse than expected in Europe, as was the length and stringency of the lockdown measures required. As you will have seen from the Forecasts we presented on Tuesday, we should see a rebound later this year. But there is much uncertainty and many risks. We need to be vigilant about both the differing pace of the recovery, and different overall economic development levels of our Member States.

This is why we need to keep supporting the economy, protect jobs and keep businesses afloat. Many countries indicated their interest in our safety net to safeguard jobs, SURE. The necessary national procedures to activate this instrument are now being finalised. The total loans requested look likely to come close to the financial envelope for this instrument.

On the Commission side, we have frontloaded all the technical work to launch the formal application process as soon as Member States sign off their guarantees. We count on their cooperation, and on fast procedures at the Council, so that the first loans can start reaching Member States after the summer.

Similarly, we see a lot of interest in the EIB's pan-European Guarantee Fund to support the hardest-hit companies - especially SMEs. Work is now well underway to make this Fund operational as soon as possible.

We would like to see quick progress on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which is part of our Next Generation EU package. The aim should be to have it operational as soon as legally possible, hopefully as of 1st January.

We invite Member States to start thinking about the reforms and investments for which they wish to seek support from the RRF. They can already informally apply in October.

Let me turn now to the Capital Markets Union.

Today, the High-Level Forum on CMU presented its report. My thanks to Thomas Wieser and his high-calibre team of experts for their work on preparing this excellent report.

We launched work on the CMU before the crisis. But the pandemic has injected real urgency into the CMU - because the strength of economic recovery will depend on well-functioning capital markets and access to market financing.

For instance, companies should be able to rely on equity financing, not just bank loans, to get through this storm. As the report points out, a fully-fledged CMU will also be vital for mobilising much-needed long-term investments in new technologies and infrastructure, to tackle climate change and to deliver Europe's Green Deal and Digital Agenda.

CMU is a long-term project - but there is a lot we can do in the short term that could really make a difference. In our CMU action plan which we intend to present in September, we will look at topics such as SME access to finance, market infrastructure, and measures to get savers in Europe to invest more through capital markets.

More immediately, I will present later this month a package of targeted amendments - or quick fixes - to capital markets rules to facilitate economic recovery.

Thank you.

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