Reirs chairs Council meeting on EU financial policy

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Latvia will work toward the implementation of the EU’s massive €315 billion investment plan for Europe during its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finance Minister Jānis Reirs told the media after the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting in Brussels Tuesday.

Investment planning and economic governance are the two pillars of the program, Reirs said. The decisive element in the coming months will be improvement of the investment climate and the removal of obstacles to a unified common market. Latvia’s finance minister went on the stress that creating the European Strategic Investment Fund would be a prerequisite for further growth in the EU.

Flanked by EC Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis (himself a former Latvian FM), Reirs said the end results of the work could be expected by sometime during the summer.

The ECOFIN meeting of finance and economics ministers from EU member-states also discussed offering financial aid to Ukraine and ways of strengthening the fight against terrorism in light of the recent spree of terror in France. The ministers also talked about preparations for the G20 summit of finance ministers and central bank heads scheduled to take place in Istanbul February 9-10.

The ECOFIN meeting also took on the issue of Greece’s worrying election results, with extreme leftist political party SYRIZA taking over the government Monday. Despite EC Commissar Valdis Dombrovskis’ remarks praising Greece’s progress in its economic recovery and promises of continued EU support, many experts believe the country’s foreign debt obligations at 175% of GDP are unsustainable and close to catastrophic collapse.

As Finance Minister of the presiding state over the EU Council, Reirs will serve as the president of ECOFIN for the next half-year.


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