European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici (L) shakes hands as he talks with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (R) during the Eurogroup meeting at the EU headquarters in Luxembourg on Thursday. John Thys/ AFP
EU finance ministers agreed on the broad outlines of a eurozone budget early on Friday, France’s finance minister said, a key reform pushed by Paris that was scaled back amid deep resistance by the Netherlands.
“We did tonight what we had set out to do: we’ve created a genuine eurozone budget,” Bruno Le Maire said after more than 12 hours of talks.
“For the first time, we have created an operational budget that will help eurozone countries to converge and become more competitive. It’s a breakthrough,” he told AFP.
“For the first time, we will start thinking about the future as a coherent bloc and coordinating our economic policies,” he added.
The spokesman for the President of the Eurogroup Mario Centeno in a tweet welcomed the deal reached by the ministers adding the details would be announced at a press conference later on Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron had championed the hard won budget, seen by many as one of the missing links in the single currency almost a decade after the debt crisis.
But his original ambition has been toned down by opponents led by the Netherlands that fear a transfer of wealth to crisis-prone countries such as Italy, Greece or Spain.
The ministers agreement is officially not called a budget—which would be too politically sensitive in richer countries—but something called the Budgetary Instrument for Competitiveness and Convergence, a fund with limited firepower to be used to back reforms.
The cumbersome renaming came at the demand of the Dutch, who have only accepted the instrument on condition that it remains a modest affair.
A French source said the exact amount of the budget would be finalised at a later date, but that all its other components were agreed by the ministers.
The agreement by ministers will be presented for formal approval to EU leaders at a summit next week in Brussels.
Underlining the breadth of strife in a transatlantic bloc hailed by its backers as the most successful military alliance in history, Trump demanded that Europe pay more for defence and also make concessions to US interests on trade.
BERLIN: Dutch central bank Governor Klaas Knot expects the eurozone economy to recover speed in the second half after a sluggish start to the year, but in an interview with Handelsblatt the noted hawk was distinctly dovish on long-term interest rates. Knot, one of the most prominent hawks on the European Central Bank’s rate-setting committee told the German paper
Malaysia will lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the European Union’s plan to phase out the use of palm oil in biofuels, a minister said on Tuesday.
Sheikh Mohammed and his accompanying delegation were received at the King Abdulaziz Air Base by the King Salman.
Rain was witnessed over Sieh Shuaib in Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali in Dubai. Light to moderate rain was witnessed over Al Dhaid in Sharjah and Dibba in Fujairah.
A gunman shot dead six people on Tuesday at a hospital waiting room in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava in an unexplained attack, authorities said. It was the worst shooting in the Czech Republic