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 Maltese Presidency
The priorities of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council during the Maltese presidency focus on strengthening economic growth, job creation and investment. To attain these goals, the Council will continue working on legislation relating to the capital markets union, the banking union and taxation, and the future of the Economic and Monetary Union.
In the area of economic governance, the Council will aim to achieve a political agreement on the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) Regulation and will continue the discussion on the future architecture of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in line with the 2015 Five Presidents' Report on the future of EMU.
The Council will also continue the work on the capital markets union. In particular, the presidency aims to finalise discussions on the proposal for transparent and simple securitisation. It also aims to reach a political agreement with the European Parliament on the legislative proposals relating to the European venture capital fund and the European social entrepreneurship fund.
The Council also intends to make progress on the amendments to the banking union legislation, in particular regarding the capital requirements for banks, the bank recovery and resolution rules and the Single Resolution Mechanism. It also aims to advance technical discussions on the proposal for the European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS).
In the area of taxation, the Maltese presidency will carry forward the work on the proposals issued by the European Commission in the autumn of 2016. These include the amendments for the anti-tax avoidance directive, an initiative on dispute resolution mechanisms, the common consolidated tax base and the e-commerce-related proposals.
The Council will also work on concluding the negotiations on the proposal amending the 4th anti-money laundering directive, which sets out additional measures to combat the financing of terrorism and ensure increased transparency of financial transactions.
The Maltese presidency will also seek a political agreement with the European Parliament on the updated European fund for strategic investments (EFSI) and the EIB external lending mandate.
The Maltese presidency will work to ensure that the discharge procedures for the 2015 budget, the implementation of the 2017 budget and the preparatory work for the 2018 budget are all steered as smoothly as possible. It will also follow up on the report of the High Level Group on Own Resources.