Support to companies must not be withdrawn too fast, finance minister says

Brussels – Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj took part on Saturday in an informal session of the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council, focussing on efforts to ensure a balanced and inclusive post-pandemic recovery. He said that despite the recent improvement in the economic forecasts support should not be lifted too quickly.

The ministers agreed that guaranteeing recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic was a key priority of member states. Resilience will also need to be ensured along with the green and digital transition, they added.

It is important for the EU that an inclusive and balanced recovery process ensures resilience and at the same time encourages the green and digital transition, the Finance Ministry said after the meeting that was held live for the first time since Portugal holds the EU Council presidency.

“Despite the recent improvement of economic forecast for the EU, the differences in the impact of the epidemic on different groups of people, companies and sectors remain a challenge. This is why we need to form targeted measures that will improve the efficiency of recovery and inclusion, and encourage growth with investment,” Šircelj said.

He stressed support should not be withdrawn too quickly. It is also crucial that the national recovery and resilience plans are confirmed as soon as possible, he added.

The process will be demanding but the work will pay off, he said. “When the plans are confirmed, member states will have access to funds that will be able to help people and the economy,” he said.

The ministers also discussed green tax policy today, as the European Commission is to present the Fit for 55 package on 14 July, which is to include proposals on carbon levies and changes to the directive on energy tax, two main elements of the green tax policy.

The ministers agreed the goal should be reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 while taking into account both environmental and social aspects and circumstances of individual countries, and making sure that the new levies will not create additional administrative burdens or lower competitiveness.

On the first day of the informal meeting, the ministers and governors of central banks discussed strengthening the joint effects of fiscal and monetary policies, which they said helped mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic.