Remarks by Commissioner Gentiloni at the Eurogroup press conference

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Thank you. First of all thank you to the Slovenian Presidency and to Andrej Šireclj in particular for hosting us and giving us the opportunity after the summer break to begin our meetings with an optimistic tone. I think that, overall, looking to the economic outlook, a certain degree of optimism is justified.

It was good to have an introduction to our discussion from Dr Andrea Ammon of the ECDC. Her analysis confirmed that the EU’s vaccination campaign is  now a strong EU success. I am saying this because last winter we had a difficult start. Now, we can be proud of the fact that EU citizens have on average a high number of fully vaccinated people,  over 71% of adults, and also increasing use of tools such as the EU green certificate for travelling. This is an example for the entire world. We should be proud of it. Of course, the Delta variant now accounts for almost the entirety of cases in Europe.

We have thirteen countries seeing increasing case numbers and some seeing an increasing numbers of deaths. Thankfully, the number of deaths remains very low. We need to conclude these efforts and extend them at a global level. I am sure that this afternoon Kristalina Georgieva will call for this global effort, which is necessary to win the battle against the pandemic.

On the economy, we had a second quarter with even more positive figures than expected.

Of course there are also clouds on the horizon too.

I have already mentioned the epidemiological risks.

We must also remain very vigilant about supply bottlenecks and the evolution of inflation, which we consider temporary. Here, of course, Christine will give us the state of play.

In this context, it is crucial that we keep the macroeconomic policy mix supportive.

Of course, transforming this generalised support gradually into a more targeted and selective one, but without thinking that now is the time for restrictive policies. This would be quite dangerous.

We are not only looking for a rebound. We are looking for a sustained and sustainable growth rate in the EU. This is what we have to try to achieve, also with our Recovery and Resilience Facility. We have now approved 18 national plans. We will continue to work towards a successful conclusion of the remaining plans we have to approve.

Lastly, a few words on the health of the corporate sector, which we also discussed this morning. This point is also confirming what we have been saying. The strong economic reaction made it possible to avoid what many of us were expecting: a wave of bankruptcies and insolvencies. At the same time, the issue is not closed. The need for more selective support is still there for both companies and employees. We have to support employees in the enormous transformation that our economies will have in the next years.

Thank you.

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