COUNCIL OFBrussels, 27 January 2012
THE EUROPEAN UNION
PE 17 ECOFIN 70 FIN 47 FISC 13 JUR 32 -
General Secretariat of the Council
Subject: Summary record of the meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), held in Brussels on 23 and 24 January 2012
The meeting was chaired by Ms Bowles (ALDE, UK), Ms McCarthy (S&D, UK) and Mr Zalba
5. Election of the 4th Vice-Chair
Mr Scicluna (S&D, MT) was elected as 4th Vice-Chair by acclamation.
Ms Bowles, Ms McCarthy, Mr Stolojan and Mr Scicluna were re-elected while Mr Zalba Bidegain
was elected for the first time, replacing former committee member Mr García-Margallo y Marfil
(EPP, ES) who was recently appointed Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Prior to the elections, Ms Goulard (ALDE, FR) and Mr Langen (EPP, DE) expressed the view that
the Chair of the Committee should be a national of one of the members of the euro area.
6. Contribution to the Annual Growth Survey 2012
ECON/7/08055 2011/2319 (INI)
Rapporteur: Mr Jean-Paul Gauzès(EPP)
Consideration of amendments
In his initial address Mr Gauzès (EPP, FR) underlined the existing broad agreement on the
compromise amendments. He explained that point 11 of his report regarding employment should be
dealt by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) since it was part of its remit. He
suggested focusing on a framework that would enhance the European Parliament's role in the
definition of future economic guidelines and policies in the European Union (EU).
In the subsequent exchange of views, Mr Bullmann (S&D, DE), on behalf of Ms Berès (S&D, FR),
reiterated Mr Gauzès' points regarding the European Parliament's (EP) involvement in economic
Mr Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE) supported the report despite its limited scope and called for all
those political groups in favour of a European architecture to adopt a common stance on the
European Semester and on economic governance aimed at balancing societal and economic
objectives and consolidating them in European legislation.
Vote in ECON: 24 January 2012. Vote in plenary: February 2012.
7. Exchange of views with Margrethe Vestager, President of the Council (ECOFIN)
(Danish Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior)
In her introductory speech, Ms Vestager outlined the four Danish Presidency key priorities: the
implementation of economic governance reforms, i.e. the `six pack' and the European Semester; the
strengthening of financial regulations; enhanced co-operation on tax matters; and ensuring a
coherent European Union position in G20 negotiations.
In the subsequent exchange of views, Ms Vestager told Mr Gauzès (EPP, FR) that the work ahead
would require efficiency and pragmatism in order to reconcile and ensure coherence between the
latest economic governance reforms and the envisaged new international treaty. She pointed out to
Mr Bullmann (S&D, DE) that fiscal consolidation had to be accompanied by growth and job
creation. She explained to Ms Goulard (ALDE, FR) that it was important to maintain political
dialogue between the different European institutions to ensure a common focus and language
regarding the goals ahead.
Ms Vestager acknowledged to Ms Lulling (EPP, LU) and Mr Ludvigsson (S&D, SE) the need to
find compromises at a technical level on energy taxation in order to meet climate targets and change
patterns in energy consumption.
She answered Mr Schmidt (ALDE, SE) that the Danish Presidency was committed to making
progress on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) discussions despite the
variety of systems within the European Union. With regard to the Investor Compensation Scheme
Directive she acknowledged that there was not likely to be an agreement in the immediate future.
She told Mr Gualtieri (S&D, IT) that it would have been preferable to have embarked on
discussions on the fiscal compact and the golden rule with all 27 Member States, instead of an
intergovernmental process, and that Denmark's involvement in the fiscal compact would depend on
the rules in the new international treaty. She stressed that Denmark's constitution and euro opt out
had to be fully respected. She underlined the latest developments in negotiations to reduce the
inconsistencies between the draft treaty and European secondary legislation.
She also agreed with Mr Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL) and Mr Feio (EPP, PT) that all Member States
should have the right to participate in Euro Summit meetings.
She pointed out to Mr Klinz (ALDE, DE) that some differences between EU and US financial
systems could be reduced through the G20 dialogue to ensure a minimum level playing field, and
that the deepening of the internal market to stimulate growth was also high on the agenda of the
She answered Mr Feio that the Commission proposal on Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) needed to
ensure more accountability and less dependency and that the European Central Bank (ECB) should
8. Access to the activity of credit institutions and prudential supervision of credit
institutions and investment firms (amending Directive 2002/87/EC) and
Prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms - Part I
ECON/7/06631 2011/0203(COD) and ECON/7/07784 2011/0202(COD)
Rapporteur: Mr Othmar Karas (EPP)
Consideration of draft reports
In his opening remarks, Mr Karas (EPP, DE) highlighted the convergence between the Commission
proposal and the European Parliament views and drew attention to the support expressed by the
He mentioned two significant developments since the publication of the own initiative report: the
recapitalisation plan targeting 9% core tier 1 equity; and the decision by some Member States
(Austria and Sweden) to implement BASEL III by January 2013. He contrasted the European
approach with that of the US and called on the Commission to draw the attention of the Economic
and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) to existing competitive distortions.
He favoured maximum harmonisation combined with some flexibility to avoid internal distortions
in the European Union. He added that it was essential to encourage growth in the real economy and
looked forward to the Council's position, expected in March, to initiate discussions. He noted that
the increase in capital requirement to consolidate banks should be swift. He backed the
Commission's proposal on liquidity requirements, whilst recommending that the definition of liquid
instruments be improved. He suggested having binding liquidity ratios, but no early publication of
Finally as regards BASEL III and the European Banking Authority (EBA), Mr Bullmann called for
more consistency, reliability and clarity in the definition of core tier 1 capital requirements adding
that managers should base their decisions on long term perspectives in the interest of investors and
Ms Bowles (ALDE, UK) suggested widening the role of supervisors and establishing a
differentiated set of rules for Member States with independent central banks. She expressed doubts
about a "one size fits all" approach. She rejected the idea that European legislation should depend
on developments in theUS. She recommended extending the EBA's binding mediation powers and
the ESRB's intervention scope to target asset bubbles. She proposed alignment with the European
Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).
Ms Ford (ECR, UK) agreed with measures to foster the real economy and SMEs. She thought it was
important to look at minority interests though recommended, unlike Mr Karas, less flexibility. She
was against the Commission's extended use of delegated acts. She favoured a single rule book but
not total harmonisation.
Mr Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE) expressed strong support for a binding leverage ratio to cap risk.
He advocated the separation of banking activities, the coverage of systemically important
institutions and enhanced supervisory control. He supported a certain degree of harmonisation in
conjunction with some flexibility. He explained that more strict and binding rules could have short-
term adverse consequences such as reducing returns, but in the long run it would increase trust,
security, certainty and predictability.
Ms Wortmann-Kool (EPP, NL) thought it was important to give more certainty to the markets and
*** Voting time ***
9. Contribution to the Annual Growth Survey 2012
ECON/7/08055 2011/2319 (INI)
Rapporteur: Mr Jean-Paul Gauzès (EPP)
Adoption of draft report
The draft report was approved, with 35 votes in favour, 3 against and 4 abstentions.
*** End of vote ***
10. Administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties
Rapporteur: Mr David Casa (EPP)
Consideration of draft report
In his initial remarks, Mr Mitchell (EPP, IE), on behalf of Mr Casa (EPP, MT), supported the
Commission proposal but suggested simplifying the text. He referred to the need to improve the
exchange of information in order to reduce fraud, bureaucracy and business administration related
costs. He suggested reducing the review period from 5 to 3 years.
Mr Bullmann (S&D, DE), Mr Schmidt (ALDE, SE), Mr Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE) and Mr Fox
(ECR, UK) backed the Commission proposal and Mr Casa's report, in particular the attempts to
foster modernisation and fight tax evasion. Mr Schmidt thought it was essential to move make
progress and promote European cooperation, questioning whether it was feasible to conceive a
common VAT authority. Mr Lamberts agreed and proposed a recital. He also suggested clarifying
what was meant by 'fiscal union', removing language which would undermine cooperation and
Amendment of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 as regards certain provisions
relating to risk sharing instruments for Member States experiencing or threatened with
serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability
Rapporteur for the opinion: Mr Rolandas Paksas (EFD)
Consideration of draft opinion
In his initial address, Mr Paksas (EFD, LT) supported the Commission proposal. He recommended
extending the proposal to all Member States and broadening its scope to finance major European
In the ensuing debate, Mr Gauzès (EPP, FR), on behalf of Mr Karis (EPP, LT) promised to send
his group's remarks in writing.
Ms Fereira (S&D, PT) asked the Commission to clarify the current state of play and to explain the
consequences of extending the risk sharing facility to all Member States and broadening its scope.
Mr Kamal (ECR, UK) questioned the nature of the proposal asking if it was about 'risk sharing' or
Mr Skylakakis (ALDE, EL) called for the proposal's quick implementation in order to encourage
private investment and to send a positive signal to markets. He also recommended extending the
duration of the risk sharing facility and its flexibility.
Mr Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE) advocated greater transparency and conditionality in the use of
structural funds. He also suggested verifying the consistency of the risk sharing facility with
The Commission representative pointed out that the proposal was intended to link public