The Portuguese Minister of State for Finance, João Leão, made a positive assessment of ECOFIN’s work in the last six months. After chairing the final meeting of the 27 Member States’ Ministers for Finance and the Economy, João Leão recalled that Portugal chaired the Council of the European Union in a period “that was highly challenging for Europe and the world”, though “progress was made at various levels”.
João Leão, Portuguese Minister of State for Finance © European Union 2021
“ At the ECOFIN meeting in Lisbon last month, my colleagues and I held the same opinion: the lowest point of the economic slowdown had already passed and the recovery was already under way. That conviction is even stronger today. We have great pleasure in handing on this portfolio at a time when the economic recovery is already being felt and the economic prospects for the second half of the year are highly positive. ”
Portuguese Minister of State for Finance, João Leão
The Minister considered that, in recent days, after several months’ hard work, historic milestones for the European Union have been attained. Following the 27 Member States’ unanimous ratification, in record time, of the Own Resources Decision, the European Commission went to the markets for its first joint debt issuance. “Given that the operation was more than seven times oversubscribed, at a rate close to zero, this first issuance of 20 billion was a real success”, João Leão considered.
Last week the first Recovery Plans were also approved and 12 more should be approved by the end of the Portuguese Presidency. “We are now very close to delivering the plans to the real economy. We will soon be able to begin implementing the reforms and investments that will reform our continent and prepare the bases for a stronger and more resilient Union”, the Minister declared.
For João Leão, the decision to maintain the Escape Clause in 2022 was another important point in the Portuguese Presidency, a “sign of the unprecedented coordination among Member States to keep the recovery as the top priority”.