01/19/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/20/2021 02:26
Good evening everyone
The pandemic has brought out many of Europe's strengths, which have helped us to weather the storm.
Our unique single market, our open economic system, our ability to coordinate quickly among 27 countries and agree on ways to tackle the crisis.
And an unprecedented recovery package: Next Generation EU.
Of course, it has brought us extreme challenges too.
So on one hand, we have the immediate crisis response to address these challenges.
On the other hand, we have a longer-term strategic objective: -to strengthen our common currency, the euro, which is the second widest used currency in the world.
Our determined crisis response has reassured markets and has ramped up investor confidence in both the EU and the euro. That is despite the fact that the pandemic is still raging.
It is also turning the EU into a major player in financial markets.
We have already seen very strong investor interest with our social bond issues under the EU SURE instrument to keep people in work.
We will build on this with Next Generation EU, when the Commission will borrow up to €750 billion on capital markets on behalf of EU countries.
Today, we are setting out more ways to power the EU's economic and financial engine, as part of a broader plan to strengthen our open strategic autonomy and resilience.
Firstly, let me explain how I see 'open strategic autonomy'.
It means staying open for global cooperation, business and trade, but defending our interests, rights and values against unlawful attacks.
Acting multilaterally wherever and whenever we can, but being able to act autonomously if we must.
The plan we are presenting today looks at this principle through the lens of macro-economics and finance.
At its core is a long-term strategy to promote the international role of the euro.
It is part of Europe's broader commitment to an open global economy, well-functioning international financial markets and the rules-based multilateral system.
It can make the global economy less dependent on a single currency, and less vulnerable to shocks. It can make it easier for EU companies to trade around the world.
We believe that a globally stronger euro is not only in our interest, but also in the interest of the global community.
Our plan builds on the 2018 strategy on the international role of the euro, which focused largely on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union.
Together with the Single Market, it is the bedrock that underpins the euro. Our progress in developing the Economic and Monetary Union has created a stable and efficient EU financial system and more developed capital markets.
This fuels investor confidence - and this work will continue, particularly with the Banking Union and Capital Markets Union.
Today, we are focusing on other ways to promote global use of the euro. For example:
EU financial markets should become a global hub for green finance. More than half of all global green bonds are already issued in euros. And 30% of investments made through Next Generation EU will be funded by green bonds. So the EU's leadership in green policies is paying off, also for the euro.
Paolo will further explain these and other initiatives.
The second strand of our plan looks at strengthening the EU's financial system and infrastructure.
Here, I would just highlight one area: managing risks linked to the departure of Europe's largest financial centre from the EU.
In particular, we need to rebalance the excessive exposures that EU market participants have with third-country clearing houses.
Lastly: we are taking a close look at how the EU applies its own restrictive measures, which are a critical part of upholding the EU's values and projecting influence around the world.
We have several proposals for how to ensure more uniform application of sanctions.
Then, looking outside the EU, when non-EU countries unlawfully impose sanctions on EU operators, we have to react strongly and decisively.
We will explore various options to do this.
Mairead will explain this and other elements in greater detail.
Ladies and gentlemen
The EU will always champion alliances with like-minded partners. This is our absolute preference. We are committed to multilateralism, openness and beneficial partnerships.
But given the more confrontational geo-political landscape, we have to be ready to protect ourselves against unfair and abusive practices imposed from elsewhere - and bolster our defences against them.
It will also help us to stand up for a rules-based global economic system and look after our friends and partners if needed.
Thank you - and now, I give the floor to Mairead.