Yesterday, the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs (Ecofin) Council met in Brussels to discuss, among other things, proposed “endorsed terms of reference” for the EU’s participation in a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors being held on March 14, 2009 in preparation for the G20 summit in London on April 2, 2009. The EU’s endorsed terms of reference include:

  • Closer international coordination of macroeconomic policies;
  • Global financial market regulation based on increased transparency and accountability;
  • Strengthened cooperation between financial authorities at international level;
  • Strengthening the International Monetary Fund;
  • The role of multilateral development banks in countering the effects of the financial and
  • Economic crisis, in particular for the poorest and most vulnerable populations.

Although the Ecofin Council agreed that it will “take stock of progress achieved in ensuring greater stability and better supervision and transparency of financial markets, and will consider further measures as necessary,” it seemed unwilling to endorse further stimulus plans. The Ecofin Council’s strategy appears to conflict with the agenda announced by Treasury Secretary Geithner earlier today, and will likely create tension at both the March 14 and April 2 meetings.