Statement by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis at the press conference for the informal Ecofin council meeting

As delivered 


Thank you, Nadia; honourable media representatives.

It is a great pleasure to be here in Santiago de Compostela. Thank you, Nadia, for inviting us and for hosting this very well organised event in this beautiful city.

I know one former member of the Commission who - after the end of the mandate - did the pilgrimage, so it is likely that we may come back.

Today's discussions at the informal Ecofin were focused on broader and more fundamental issues that affect the EU's economy.

Recent shocks, first the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia's relentless aggression against Ukraine, are increasing the risks of global economic and trade fragmentation.

These shocks and geopolitical shifts have also made us reflect on our longer-term approach.

This has led to a reassessment of how to:

  • maintain the EU's traditional openness, while shoring up our economic resilience;
  • how to maintain our standing in the world marketplace and stay competitive.

On the external side: de-risking through diversification is key, particularly when it comes to making sure of reliable supply chains. Energy and critical raw materials are just two examples.

Taking this approach would not only protect the EU's legitimate economic interests but also to guarantee the economic and financial stability in the region and beyond.

This is the context for the EU's economic security strategy.

It aims to maximise the benefits of openness, while minimising our strategic vulnerabilities by gaining a deeper and more precise understanding of the risks that we face – and then finding the right tools to address them.

However, to be competitive externally, we must also be solid internally.

Above all, it means maintaining our macroeconomic stability.

It also means creating an environment that allows EU companies to innovate, thrive and grow - and for people to take part and benefit from that growth.

This means responsible fiscal, economic and financial policies that minimise the vulnerability to future shocks: be it internal or external.

For the meantime, I would repeat that the focus now should be on maintaining prudent fiscal policies and channelling public expenditure to support the green and digital transitions.

This is something which we also discussed in the context of the interplay between monetary and fiscal policies: that the two policies should not contradict each other, but rather work in tandem.

Regarding the economic governance review: we welcome the ambition of the Spanish Presidency to reach an agreement by the end of the year. This may be challenging, but I know that the Spanish Presidency is committed to this timeframe.

Just today, we outlined the way do it - what was called the

‘Santiago Way', one could also maybe call it the ‘Fiscal Camino'!

We will continue to support the Spanish Presidency's efforts.

But we also need to look at our regulation.

We need smooth-functioning, open, competitive and flexible labour and capital markets to ensure that resources are used as productively as possible.

Streamlining regulations to keep them fit for purpose – and to keep red tape at a minimum – is something which will help us to achieve this goal.

As President von der Leyen recently announced, next month the Commission will present legislative proposals towards reducing reporting obligations at European level by 25%.

An independent board will also conduct a competitiveness check for every new piece of legislation.

Deepening the EU's single market will help to strengthen our open strategic autonomy and economic security.

Further developing the Capital Markets Union and completing the Banking Union will be essential. Both are needed to underpin Europe's overall competitiveness and resilience.

I will conclude here – and once again, thank you for welcoming us.