As Minister for Finance, I have regular contact with members of the European Commission, including Commissioner Rehn. This level of interaction has increased during the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and my consequent role as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council. It should be noted that every economics and finance minister in the European Union is a member of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin). Each month the Ecofin Council meets to discuss economic policy coordination, economic surveillance, monitoring of Member States' budgetary policy and public finances, financial markets and capital movements, as well as other matters. In addition, the Eurogroup - which comprises ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro - usually meets the day before the Ecofin meeting to deal with issues relating to the Economic and Monetary Union. Commissioner Rehn is also in attendance at these meetings.
As Minister for Finance, I have regular contact with Commissioner Rehn mainly on the margins of these Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings. In the period from December 2012 to date (27 February 2013), Ecofin and Eurogroup meetings took place on the 3rd and 4th December 2012, 12th and 13th, the 21st and 22nd January 2013 and the 11th and 12th February 2013.
Arising from Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, I represented the EU alongside Commissioner Rehn and President Draghi at the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Moscow on 15 and 16 February. I had discussions with both the Commissioner and President Draghi in Moscow on both G20 and broader issues.
Commissioner Rehn also attended the Oireachtas Committee on Finance – Presidency Interparliamentary Committee which I opened last Monday, 25th February. I had a discussion with the Commissioner on a number of issues on the margins of the conference.