The Eurogroup meeting, which was Chaired by President of the Eurogroup, Minister Paschal Donohoe, was yesterday (Monday) briefed by Dr Mike Ryan (Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO) and Dr Bruce Aylward (Senior Advisor to the Director General, WHO) on the evolving global health situation. Their insight on how the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving while vaccines are being rolled-out informed a debate on the European policy response and the prospects for the gradual reopening of European economies.
The European Commission then presented the recently published Winter Economic Forecast. The latest data confirm that while a high level of uncertainty persists, economic growth is expected to resume in Spring. Euro Area Ministers discussed implications for the coordination of national economic and budgetary policies as the recovery takes hold. Ministers endorsed a staged approach to budgetary discussions at Eurogroup.
President of the Eurogroup and Minister for Finance for Ireland, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: ‘The expertise and experience of Dr Ryan and Dr Aylward provided the backdrop for an insightful and engaging discussion on the evolving social and economic challenges we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic at a national, European and global level. We now need to ensure that we work harder than ever to build on the unprecedented economic support measures already agreed to deliver the coordinated support, reforms and sustainable growth our citizens and economies need’.
Recent developments in the solvency of the corporate sector were also discussed on the basis of a note prepared by the Commission. The impact of Covid-19 on many businesses throughout Europe has been severe, and Governments have responded by providing unprecedented public support to these businesses in tandem with income supports to workers. The Eurogroup noted the need to continue to carefully monitor the solvency situation in the corporate sector, so as to protect jobs and to effectively target supports.
Ministers also considered the ongoing initiatives to underpin the international role of the euro. Eurogroup continues to carefully assess the potential opportunities and advantages but also the risks of an enhanced international role of the euro.
Note to Editor: Minister Donohoe was elected President of the Eurogroup in July 2020. Further information on the Eurogroup Work Programme can be found at:
Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme
Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director General, WHO:
The European Commission released its Winter Forecast on 11 February. The Winter 2021 Economic Forecast projects that the euro area economy will grow by 3.8% in both 2021 and 2022. The forecast projects that the EU economy will grow by 3.7% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022.
Deborah Sweeney, Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878
Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667