20 Mar 2017
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 20 MARCHBrussels Daily
Preparation of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 20-21 March 2017
Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at today’s meeting of the Eurogroup. At the Eurogroup, ministers will take stock of the progress regarding the second review of the stability support programme for Greece. Ministers will also follow up on the implementation of Draft Budgetary Plans and the budgetary situation in the euro area as a whole. As part of the thematic discussions on jobs and growth, ministers will hold a discussion on pension sustainability in the euro area. Finally, ministers will report on national debt issuance plans to the Commission and to the Eurogroup. Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At tomorrow’s ECOFIN, the Commission will be represented by Vice-President Dombrovskis, Vice-President Katainen and Commissioner Moscovici. Ministers will discuss the way forward on the proposal for reduced VAT rates for e-books and other e-publications, part of the Commission’s VAT Action Plan. Views will also be exchanged on the proposal for a VAT ‘reverse charge’ mechanism. If adopted, this proposal would allow Member States to temporarily derogate from the VAT system currently in force across the EU, under strict conditions. As part of the European Semester the Council will discuss the country reports issued by the Commission in February, while ministers are expected to adopt a recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area for 2017. The outcome of the weekend’s G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden will also be discussed. Vice-President Katainen will make a presentation on the European Defence Fund and ministers will be brought up to date on the state of play of current legislative proposals in the field of financial services. A press conference with Vice-President Dombrovskis will follow the meeting.
Commissioner Malmström in Canada to discuss CETA preparations and EU trade agenda
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström is in Canada today for a two-day visit focused on the preparations for the upcoming entry into force of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, known as CETA, and the EU’s ambitious agenda for free and fair trade. The trip will kick off today in Toronto, where the Commissioner will visit EU-businesses who are preparing for the entry into force of CETA, including a Cypriot family-run fashion boutique and a Danish-run design showroom and shop. The Commissioner will also visit the construction site of the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit Project, which is the largest transit expansion in the history of Toronto, and is being delivered by a Canadian-European consortium. Later today, at a conference on “EU trade policy in a more protectionist world” at the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Commissioner will set out the EU’s trade agenda in a keynote speech. The Commissioner will also speak today at an event with senior EU and Canadian business leaders. On Tuesday, the Commissioner will be in Ottawa, where she will meet the Canadian Minister for International Trade François-Philippe Champagne. The same day, she will also deliver a keynote speech on “The EU’s Trade Policy: Effective, transparent, and based on values” at an event hosted by the think-tank Canada 2020. EbS photo and video will be available. Info and material (including video) about the visit is available here.