During a meeting in Rome on July 31, Michel Sapin and Pier Carlo Padoan had a thorough exchange of views on the priorities of the Italian presidency of the European Union. Michel Sapin reiterated his support for those priorities and particularly welcomed the emphasis put on growth and investment in the wake of a still weak and uneven recovery. The two Ministers agreed that enhancing growth, both in the short and the long run, fighting unemployment and restoring in all Member States adequate financing conditions for the economy, especially for SMEs, are key objectives of the EU. This requires strong policy actions at national and EU level and coordination to fully exploit beneficial spillover effects.
Deepening EU integration; pursuing structural reforms; ensuring an adequate euro area fiscal stance; putting in place a suitable framework to foster public and private investments are part and parcel of a renewed EU comprehensive strategy for growth which has to kick off quickly through concrete proposals. The Ministers also underlined the importance of the EU’s existing fiscal framework that contains possibilities to balance fiscal discipline with the need to support growth, for example by taking into account structural reforms and investment or the impact of adverse economic circumstances.
They stressed that a new strategy for growth and investment should include the development of a friendlier regulatory framework for long-term investment; a system of high quality securitization; a robust framework for private placements; full mobilization of all EU instruments, including the development of financial instruments to stimulate private investment, also leveraging EU funds, the EIB and national development banks. Stronger investments will consolidate recovery and put the EU on a more robust path. The Ministers look forward to discussing these topics further at the informal ECOFIN meeting in Milan in September 2014.
The Ministers also agreed that pursuing the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union is key to further anchor confidence in the euro area, and hence to contribute to growth. They underline that completing the banking union is a key step to overcome financial fragmentation and allow for a more efficient allocation of funds. They also concur that work should be developed on the ways to further reinforce the integration of the EMU, through improved governance, increased solidarity and more efficient common economic tools.