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Economic and Financial Affairs

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council, known as the ECOFIN Council, brings together the ministers for finance and the economy of the Member States. In addition to its monthly meetings, it also usually convenes twice a year (July and November) as the ECOFIN Budget Council, when Budget Ministers meet to discuss budgetary issues.

The ECOFIN Council covers a number of areas including:

  • economic policy coordination and surveillance within the context of the Stability and Growth Pact;
  • monitoring structural reforms introduced with the Lisbon Strategy;
  • Economic and Monetary Union and the euro (legal, practical and international aspects);
  • fiscal matters;
  • financial markets and regulation;
  • economic and financial relations with third countries;
  • the adoption of the European Union budget in co-decision with the European Parliament, based on proposals from the Commission.

The ECOFIN Council has legislative power, which it exercises on the proposal of the Commission which holds the sole right of initiative. The ECOFIN Council acts mainly by qualified majority, with the exception of fiscal matters which are decided by unanimity. It works mainly through the co-decision procedure with the European Parliament. For certain issues concerning the euro and EMU, only the Ministers of the Member States which belong to the eurozone vote.

The Eurogroup - composed of Finance Ministers from eurozone Member States, European Central Bank and European Commission representatives - meets for informal discussions the day before the ECOFIN Council. Since 1 January 2005, the Chair of the Eurogroup has been elected by its members, and is currently held by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker.

As an informal body, the Eurogroup has no decision-making powers. If a decision does need to be taken on a specific issue, the ECOFIN Council will deliberate the issue in line with current procedures.

 

Documents "Economic and Financial Affairs"

  • Updated: 25.06.2008
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