Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Finance

Official Engagements

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
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106. To ask the Minister for Finance to provide an update on his recent engagement with ECOFIN meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28222/24]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy will appreciate that I am answering this question on behalf of the former Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath.

On Thursday 20th June, Minister McGrath travelled to Luxembourg to represent Ireland at the June ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings.

The meetings started with the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) - Minister McGrath attended as the Irish Governor. The Board approved the 2023 ESM Annual Report, including the ESM’s financial statements, and discussed the main developments and key activities of the ESM over the past year.

Following the ESM meeting, Minister McGrath joined his euro area colleagues at Eurogroup on Thursday afternoon. Eurogroup started with a stock-take on the international role of the euro before a discussion on the regular IMF review of euro area policies. Moving into Eurogroup inclusive format, Minsters had a discussion on euro area competitiveness with a focus on the role of industrial policy and market integration.

On Friday morning, Minster McGrath attended a meeting of the Board of Governors of the European Investment Bank (EIB), where, amongst other things, the Board formally endorsed the EIB Group Strategic Roadmap.

This was followed by the ECOFIN working breakfast where Ministers considered the general economic outlook and received a debrief on discussions at Eurogroup the previous day.

The formal ECOFIN then began with an exchange of views on the economic and financial impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Ministers looked at new proposals for supporting Ukraine including the proposals from the G7 to make additional funds available by leveraging the extraordinary revenues stemming from the immobilisation of Russian sovereign assets.

This was followed by the European Commission presenting the 2024 European Semester Spring Package. The package includes country-specific recommendations, which provide guidance to Member States on their economic, social, employment, structural and macroeconomic policies, and an assessment of Member States’ macroeconomic imbalances. Importantly, the Commission confirmed Ireland's continued compliance with the debt and deficit criteria of the EU's fiscal rules.

The Commission also updated Ministers on the state of play of the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Under this item, the Council adopted of an implementing decision approving Ireland’s modified national recovery and resilience plan (NRRP). The modified NRRP includes our new REPowerEU chapter which will make a valuable contribution to the green transition here in Ireland.

Ministers then had a further discussion of the ‘VAT in the digital age’ package (referred to as ‘ViDA’), which looks at updating VAT frameworks to account for the increased digitalisation of our economies.

It was a full and productive two days that gives a good snapshot of the wide variety of issues that go through the ECOFIN Council formation, along with the variety of different meetings which take place around the main ECOFIN meeting.


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