Economic and Financial Affairs Council configuration (Ecofin)
The Economic and Financial Affairs Council is responsible for EU policy in three main areas: economic policy, taxation issues and the regulation of financial services.
How does Ecofin work?
The Ecofin Council is made up of the economics and finance ministers from all member states. Relevant European Commissioners also participate in meetings.
There are also specific Ecofin sessions, attended by national budget ministers and the European Commissioner for financial programming and budget, to prepare the EU's annual budget.
Ecofin meetings generally take place once a month.
About economic and financial affairs policy
Eurogroup - an informal body bringing together euro area ministers to discuss euro-related matters
The Economic and Financial Affairs Council, commonly known as the Ecofin Council, is responsible for economic policy, taxation matters, financial markets and capital movements, and economic relations with countries outside the EU.
It also prepares the EU's annual budget and takes care of the legal and practical aspects of the single currency, the euro.
The Ecofin Council coordinates member states' economic policies, furthers the convergence of their economic performance and monitors their budgetary policies.
It also coordinates EU positions for international meetings, such as the G20, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is also responsible for the financial aspects of international negotiations on measures to tackle climate change.
Priorities of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council during the Slovak Presidency
During the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU (1 July - 31 December 2016), the Ecofin Council intends to advance the discussion on the further steps to be taken in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) following the Five presidents' report, published in June 2015. Particular attention will be paid to the debate on the strengthening of EMU's fiscal pillar.
In the area of taxation, the main priorities include the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion and the anti-tax avoidance package. The Presidency will also aim to define clear political guidelines from all member states as regards the 2016 action plan on VAT, and is ready for a constructive debate on the expected proposal on a common consolidated tax base for corporate income tax.
The Council will evaluate the functioning of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, with the aim of ensuring that its potential is fully used.
It will also look into the measures necessary to create the capital markets union. In particular, it will aim to reach a political agreement on proposals on the revision of the prospectus rules and on securitisation.
Measures for completion of the banking union are also high on the Council's agenda.
The Council will also seek European solutions in the fight against terrorist financing and will work to reach an agreement with the European Parliament on the EU budget for 2017.
Further improving the European Semester process, enhancing the implementation of the country-specific recommendations and simplifying the Stability and Growth Pact rules are also among Ecofin's priorities for the second half of 2016.