Tuesday, 17 February 2004
Department of Finance
Question 132: To ask the Minister for Finance if he will make a statement on his attendance at and participation in the G7 meeting in the United States on 8 and 9 February 2004 in his capacity as President of ECOFIN. [4772/04]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 147 and 153 together.
In accordance with long standing arrangements, I attended particular sessions of the meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers and central bank governors at Boca Raton in Florida on 6 and 7 February in my capacity as President of the euro group — the informal grouping of ECOFIN Ministers from the eurozone member states. Those sessions dealt with the topic of surveillance in regard to the world economic situation.
Speaking for the euro group at the G7 meeting, I reviewed the outlook for the eurozone economy and outlined our overall macro-economic policy approach, as well as our efforts in relation to structural reform. Commenting on the global economic scene, I noted the dangers posed by the global imbalances, in particular, emphasising the need to have an orderly correction. Other Ministers reported welcome signs of economic upturn. Following the meeting a communiqué was issued by the US which holds the presidency of the G7 this year.
I reported on the G7 discussions at the euro group and ECOFIN meetings of 9 and 10 February. The euro group noted the outcome of the G7 meeting and the agreement on the statement which was issued following the meeting. They also noted that the G7 statement, which embodies the position agreed at the euro group on 19 January, was generally well received. It is too early to form a view on the effects of the meeting.