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Cypriot Finance Minister in Brussels for ECOFIN meeting
2006-03-13 18:01:37

Nicosia, Mar 13 (CNA) - Cypriot Minister of Finance Michael Sarris left for Brussels on Monday to take part in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council ''ECOFIN'' that will be held on 14 March.

The Council is due to approve a contribution to the European Council meeting on 23 and 24 March on implementation of the strategy for growth and employment laid down at Lisbon in 2000, on the basis of a key issues paper prepared by the presidency and following discussion at the Council's meeting on 14 February.

The key issues paper follows on from an annual progress report by the Commission.

In a mid-term review last March, the European Council agreed changes to the Lisbon Strategy's governance provisions, with the aim of strengthening its contribution to growth and employment in the EU.

In addition, the meeting will prepare a number of dossiers to be referred to the spring European Council regarding the Lisbon reform strategy, the European Investment Bank's contribution to growth and employment measures, the ''better regulation'' initiative and social inclusion and social protection in areas such as pensions and healthcare.

It will also give its opinion on a number of updated stability and convergence programmes presented by the member states, including Cyprus' convergence programme.

Finance Ministers will deal with the excessive deficit procedures with regard to Germany and Italy. It is expected to proceed to the next step in the procedure for Germany, giving it notice to take measures to bring its deficit below 3% of GDP by 2007 at the latest, and to take note of a communication from the Commission on Italy's deficit, which concludes that no further action is necessary at this stage.

Ministers will also discuss issues related to energy markets.

The president of the Council will hold a press conference at the end of the meeting.

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