[Check Against Delivery]
Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
Speaking points of Vice-President Jyrki Katainen at the Eurogroup press conference
Luxembourg, 13 October 2014
I will make a few remarks on the work that lies ahead of us in the coming weeks.
The recovery in Europe is still underway. However, the data we have seen since the summer point to a recovery that is more fragile than was expected in the Spring.
That’s why we need an ambitious policy response, based on: credible fiscal policies, ambitious structural reforms, and using all available tools to boost investment in Europe.
Member States need to make choices about the composition of public finances that are supportive of investment for the future.
Of course, different countries have differing degrees of fiscal space – some are clearly more constrained than others.
But all Member States can and should prioritise investment within their public spending.
At the European level, the new Commission, once it takes office, will work swiftly to deliver on the ambitious investment plan announced by Jean-Claude Juncker.
We need to make available as much public investment as necessary, and as much private investment as possible, to support demand in the short term and improve supply in the longer term.
We will have a more precise picture of the economic outlook once the Commission presents its autumn forecast in the first week of November.
For euro area countries, our forecast will take into account the draft budgetary plans, which must be submitted by this Wednesday, 15 October.
The Commission will prepare its opinions on these draft budgetary plans according to the timeline foreseen in the legislation.
We all know that there has been a lot of speculation in the press about the content of the Commission’s opinions for certain countries so let me say this very clearly: this speculation is premature.
No decisions have been taken at this stage.
Let me also say very clearly that the Commission is committed to treating all Member States fairly and equally.
Our common economic governance framework is a sign of our responsibility to each other.
It is the Commission’s job to ensure that this framework is upheld and that all Member States are treated equally. It’s a question of fairness and of credibility.
So I’m looking forward to taking your questions this evening but please be aware that I will not prejudge the outcome of the assessment that we will carry out in the coming weeks.