Informal video conference of economic and finance ministers, 16 February 2021

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad) i, gepubliceerd op dinsdag 16 februari 2021, 16:09.

Member states are working to turn the €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility into concrete action

Main results

Economic recovery in the EU

Ministers took stock of the current economic situation and outlook. They heard a presentation by the Commission on its 2021 winter forecast and a presentation by the European Central Bank on financial stability related issues.

They also focused on the implementation of the measures agreed last year as part of the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The presidency highlighted that the regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility is expected to enter into force on 19 February. Member states will then be able to start officially submitting their recovery and resilience plans to the Commission. Ministers discussed the ongoing preparation of the plans and their priorities, agreeing on the importance of mobilising all efforts in order to present comprehensive and ambitious plans as soon as possible.

It is of utmost importance to finalise the national recovery and resilience plans in an efficient and thorough manner, to allow for a positive assessment and rapid disbursement of much-needed funds.

João Leão, Portugal’s Minister for Finance

The Commission also gave an overview of its borrowing operations under SURE, the European instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency. The bonds have drawn a high level of interest among investors, resulting in favourable pricing terms.

The presidency informed ministers about the state of play regarding the ratification of the own resources decision, highlighting the importance of a speedy conclusion of the process.

The Commission outlined its thinking on the building blocks for the borrowing strategy for Next Generation EU. It is expected to present a communication on its borrowing and lending operations in April.

International cooperation

Ministers held an initial exchange of views on the financing and policy priorities for the recovery of low-income countries in the context of an EU Global Recovery Initiative.

The pandemic has raised the issue of how developing and low-income countries can finance their recovery, given that half of low-income countries are currently at high risk of or already in debt distress. Ministers discussed different ways in which the EU and its member states could work together to address these financing gaps for recovery at both global and country level. The discussion built on the conclusions on international debt relief, in particular for African countries, adopted by the Council in November 2020.

Ministers also prepared for the meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors due to be held on 26 February.

Other items

The presidency updated ministers on legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Ministers were also informed that the Council is expected to adopt after the video conference, by written procedure, conclusions on budget guidelines for 2022 and a recommendation that the European Parliament grant discharge to the Commission for the implementation of the EU’s 2019 budget.

Meeting information

  • Meeting n°VC-Ecofin-160221
  • Brussels
  • 16 February 2021

Preparatory documents

Outcome documents