The Minister for Finance and Financial Services Prof. Edward Scicluna attended the first non-virtual Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings since the COVID-19 outbreak, in Berlin on 11 and 12 September.
During the meetings, Finance Ministers of the European Union discussed the future of Europe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to best prepare Europe to deal with future challenges.
During his intervention, Minister Scicluna said: “This crisis has sharpened our thinking and focused our resources and capabilities in responding to the crisis. Looking back, we should be proud that as member states, together with the European Central Bank, we have all been doing a good economic policy job.
Now, we are facing a new phase with new challenges which requires more coordination, especially with respect to the utilization of the Recovery funds. We will get more if we coordinate more, especially on funding.”
Minister Scicluna continued: “We need to find a new balance when setting the deficit for 2021. The deficit is always a future burden which must be covered. On the other end, we need to act as long as the crisis remains with us.”
The ministers also held an exchange of views on the use of public resources to ensure a swift economic recovery. The ministers took stock of the economic situation and the policy response at a European and national level. They also discussed how to expedite the completion of the Banking Union, including the reform of the ESM Treaty.
On the side of the Eurogroup and the informal Ecofin meetings, Minister Scicluna also held a bilateral meeting with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, to exchange views on the policy response in both countries and to discuss the need for an EU co-ordinated policy regarding migration in the Mediterranean.