Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union
EU finance ministers to discuss anti-money laundering and climate change mitigation

Ministry of Finance 4.12.2019 8.13
Press release
Archive Photo: EU

On Thursday 5 December, the finance ministers of EU member states will seek agreement on the coming years’ priorities in anti-money laundering, deepening of the capital markets union and climate change mitigation. The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) will be chaired by Finland’s Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä.

Watch the video: Minister Lintilä talks about the topics of the meeting (YouTube)

The Ecofin Council is expected to adopt conclusions on strategic priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The priorities for the coming years would be

  • further EU harmonisation of the legislation
  • enhanced supervision
  • more effective cooperation and information exchange between authorities
  • exploring the possibility of an independent EU supervisory body.

The prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing is one of the priorities of Finland’s Presidency.

The ministers are also expected to approve a joint statement of the Council and the European Commission on ‘stablecoin’ crypto-assets. Crypto-assets are virtual means of payment that circulate from one holder to another without any centralised accounting.

Enhanced access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the deepening of the EU's capital markets union. This is one of the priorities of Finland’s Presidency.

The aim is to enhance access to finance especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, and to encourage retail investors to invest in the capital market. This would also support digitalisation and sustainable development.

Continued promotion of sustainable finance

The finance ministers will discuss the future agenda for sustainable finance. The aim is to direct additional private capital towards investments that are sustainable in climate terms. A taxonomy for the classification of sustainable investments is currently being negotiated by the EU institutions.

At the meeting, the ministers will be invited to outline which actions member states regard as most important for further work. Promotion of this topic beyond the EU will also be discussed.

Sustainable finance: classification system for sustainability of investments (EU2019FI backgrounder)

Plan for climate action

Climate change will be highlighted more broadly when the ministers approve the Council’s work plan on climate action. Based on the work plan, possible topics of future discussion by ministers include sustainable finance, green budgeting, carbon pricing, green taxation and environmentally harmful subsidies.

“I consider it important that Finland is making a strong contribution to the work on climate action by the finance ministers, and that climate matters are to become an established part of the agenda of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, in line with the aims of our Presidency," says Minister Lintilä.

On Wednesday 4 December, Minister Lintilä will attend a meeting of the Eurogroup. Finland will not chair the meeting, as the Eurogroup has its own permanent president.

Ecofin Council agenda (Council webpage, to be updated after the meeting)

Eurogroup agenda (Council webpage, to be updated after the meeting)

Inquiries:

Susanna Ikonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +35 2955 30049, susanna.ikonen(at)vm.fi
Niina Nurkkala, Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance, tel. +358 50 347 2661
Presidency media service, tel. +358 2955 30269, press(at)vm.fi

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) is one of the configurations of the Council of the European Union. Ecofin makes decisions on EU legislative proposals within its remit, usually in cooperation with the European Parliament. It is also responsible for coordinating the economic policies of EU member states. Ecofin is composed of the member states’ economic and financial affairs ministers.

The Eurogroup is an informal body tasked with coordinating economic policies among the euro area member states and promoting economic growth. The Eurogroup consists of the economic and financial affairs ministers of the euro area member states. Although the Eurogroup has no legislative function, it does set out policy guidelines.

Economic Policy Financial markets Mika Lintilä