Last Thursday, a number of European Union finance ministers convened informally in Paris to assess the EU’s present economic and financial situation within the context of “the deterioration of major economic indicators,” and to address the measures to be adopted at the European level following the commitments made during the G20 summit held in Washington last month. The Ministers were joined by representatives from the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF, and Mr. Mario Draghi, President of the Financial Stability Forum (FSF).
During the meeting the Ministers addressed generally the challenges related to “identifying the risks and vulnerabilities of the financial system highlighted by the current crisis.” The Ministers agreed to adopt new measures to “bring an end to the damaging action of non-cooperative jurisdictions” which has been indentified as a source of instability within the current European financial system. The Ministers requested the assistance of the FSF in “identify[ing] the jurisdictions believed to be acting non-cooperatively in the financial sector.” After the FSF submits its findings to the Ministers, the European Commission intends to present a formal plan of action to address this problem. The Ministers also agreed to review all options that would permit the IMF to continue “to play a stabilizing role in the financial system,” in light of the sharp increase in the Fund’s lending activities as a result of the crisis. In addition, the Ministers reviewed and discussed the national recovery initiatives that were endorsed by the European Council in its meetings held on December 11 and 12 in Brussels.