HIGHLIGHTS-Comments by European Union finance ministers

BRUSSELS, July 13 (BestGrowthStock) – The following are comments by
European Union finance ministers and other officials meeting in
Brussels on Tuesday.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO

“Slovakia is a very responsible member of our common
European Union. I expect that Slovakia will very shortly sign
the formal agreement on the European Financial Stabilisation
Facility to implement the commitment made by the previous
government.”

BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS

On stress tests:

“It’s going to be coordinated in all member states, as well
as indiviudually at the banks’ initiative, and the national
banking supervisors will oversee that with CEBS, publishing the
consolidated version of the results.

“After that there will be broken-down publishing in member
states, particularly in those that host particularly large group
headquarters. We want this to be as broadly based as possible,
involving the institutions with sovereign debt exposure.

“We want this to give as much credibiility to our banking
institutions as possible as a result of this exercise.

“and also at stake will be an undertaking to take all
necessary measures were they to require further consolidation of
certain banking institutions, capital ratios and so on.

“Transparency is the most important thing.

“We have taken an agreement in Council about all the need to
devote to transparency and such a process and now we have asked
the EFC (economic and financial affairs committee) only to
organise the details of the publication, but there is no problem
about the choice, we want to go for the most important
transparency in the publication on the different issues. And I
have listened to the Tier 1, I have listened to the exposure to
the sovereign debt issue — we want to go to publication with
the maximum transparency and we have asked the EFC to organise
that. And so it’s only a problem of coordination, to be sure
that we are publishing at the same moment … all the figures.

“We are going through a very transparent process without too
much discussion… it’s only technical work in the EFC.”

On supervisory authorities:

“We’ve had contacts with parliament… and we took to Ecofin
a new draft mandate which is based on a new set of texts for
Ecofin to look at.

“I’m very pleased that we now have this basis for further
discussion, and I hope the final discussions, with parliament.
The aim is for final adoption… to take place as early as
September.

“We need to start with supervision from January 1, 2011 with
the new institutions. We have a new mandate to discuss tthis
with parliament and we will start tomorrow.

“There’ll be a task force meeting and eurogroup meeting on
September 6, and an Ecofin on September 7, that will meet on the
same ideas.”

EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN

On stress tests:

“We are confident that the tests being carried out will give
a clear and accurate picture of the resilience of the European
banking system.”

“Of course the (European) Commission will not prejudge the
results of the upcoming tests but we are confident that overall
the European banking system is strong and resilient.
Nevertheless in case any elements of vulnerability are
identified, systems are in place to deal with them swiftly and
properly.”

“If the tests show any residual pocket of vulnerability
which cannot be addressed via normal market financing, then the
member states should have the necessary financial backstops in
place. In other words, national funds for recapitalisation or
national guarantees for recapitalisation purposes. I can say on
the side of the Commission that we can take decisions quickly if
necessary to preserve financial stability as we have done in the
past.”

GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE

On budget stability measures:

“In a first step, we want to decide by October upon those
reform measures that we can quickly implement … to sustainably
strenghten the European Stability and Growth Pact more, so the
things that we can do without changing the treaty. There are
proposals by the commission, Germany and other countries.”

BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER GEORGE OSBORNE

“We made considerable progress on the issue of
supervision… The Council now has a mandate which it will take
to the parliament. Of course we are still in discussion with the
parliament about a final agreement here..

“But the key UK requirement is that, yes, we create these
agencies and that they are up and running by January (2011)
and… because it’s in the UK’s interest, as owner of a great
deal of europe’s financial services, that there are cross-border
arrangements.

“Despite the wishes of some that the banking authorities
should be moved to Frankfurt, it will remain established in
London.”

ITALIAN ECONOMY MINISTER GIULIO TREMONTI

“The European Central Bank’s strategic role has changed, it
is no longer just guardian of the euro.”

AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER JOSEF PROELL

“There are still fundamental questions to clarify, the
discussion is not over yet, there are certainly different
positions but in my view it should be possible with good will
and it is necessary … The crisis has been going on for a long
time now and we have been discussing for a long time and with
great intensity the issue of financial supervision and the time
for a decision has come in my opinion.

“We will await the results of the bank stress tests with
patience — the central bank has clear parameters and standards,
I do not expect that there will be any turbulence, but rather
that it can be shown the European banking system is robust and
can also resist future crises.”

GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE

“I think the presidency can pick up the negotiations again
today in the trilogue with a new mandate. There are fewer points
of contention now. I am actually confident that if we don’t
reach an agreement with the parliament today, then we will reach
one over the course of the summer by September.”

On sanctions:

“We brought our own proposals (into the discussion), so
there is a quite a lot of overlap with most of the proposals of
the (EU) commission … The basic line is clear: these sanctions
should provide such incentives and prevention so that they do
not have to be imposed. They need to be strengthened and you can
do quite a bit within the framework of the current treaty. On
other questions — on incentives that are not to do with
financial payments — we will check if a change or an addition
to the treaties is necessary.”

CYPRIOT FINANCE MINISTER CHARILAOS STAVRAKIS

“We have full confidence in the ECB that stress tests are
appropriate. We remain optimistic that they will be a sign of
strength for the European banking system when the results come
out. Even if there are a few banks which in theory fail this
test.

It is important to show investors that the European banking
system at large remains strong.”

SLOVAK FINANCE MINISTER IVAN MIKLOS

“There is a session of the government tomorrow. Yesterday we
had a long discussion on that (signing the EFSF agreement), and
hopefully we will decide tomorrow.”

EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN

“It is fully in the self interest of each and every bank for
there to be full disclosure of the results of the stress tests,
that is the best way of restoring confidence to the banking
sector.

“Of course in parallel member states need to have national
financial backstops in place in case there are pockets of
vulnerability in the banking sector. However, I am confident
that overall the European banking sector will show resilience in
these stress tests.”

HIGHLIGHTS-Comments by European Union finance ministers