A number of initiatives are being implemented at EU level to boost growth. The cumulative impact of all these measures will be positive in terms of supporting economic activity in the EU at this difficult juncture. For instance, Heads of State or Government in the EU agreed on a compact for growth and jobs in June last year. This involves action by both member states themselves and at EU level to boost growth, investment and employment.
Measures to be implemented at national level include the full implementation of the country-specific recommendations from the European semester for those member states included in the process, including the pursuit of differentiated and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation, the restoration of normal lending to the economy and the promotion of competitiveness. At EU level, policies to promote growth include a renewed emphasis on deepening the Single Market and reducing the regulatory burden. In addition, an important measure is the mobilisation of funding to boost European growth. Funds will be made available inter alia via EU Structural Funds and European Investment Bank lending. Considerable progress has been made at euro area level to put the single currency on a more solid footing. For instance, the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism and the ECB's announcement of outright monetary transactions have helped restore confidence, while the enhanced system of governance will have a positive impact on economic activity.
I now turn to my role as President of the ECOFIN council. As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland has just completed its Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The theme for the Irish Presidency was stability, jobs and growth. In my role as President of the ECOFIN Council for the Irish Presidency I have overseen a number of actions aimed at improving the European economic environment.
Significant progress was made on the financial services agenda including agreement in Council or with the Parliament on a range of dossiers. Significant progress was made on the banking union agenda with agreement on the single supervisory mechanism and the capital requirements directive, and political agreement at ECOFIN on banking recovery and resolution. There was also significant achievement in other aspects of financial sector regulation including political agreement in the Council on the markets in financial instruments directive and regulation, the market abuse regulation and the transparency directive and agreement on the mortgage credit directive. Agreement was also secured on an amending budget for the European Union. This was a key element in the overall delivery of a political agreement on the multi-annual financial framework between Council and Parliament. There was major progress in the area of taxation with a particular focus on addressing transparency and fraud. The EU economic governance process, the European semester, was successfully managed and agreement achieved on the remaining legislative element of the economic governance process, the two pack.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
In addition to six formal Councils, a very successful informal ECOFIN was held in Dublin which had a focus on growth and SME funding. At the informal ECOFIN Ministers discussed financing options for long-term economic growth on the basis of the Commission's Green Paper on long-term financing which was presented by Commissioner Michel Barnier. A Presidency issues note was also used to guide ministerial discussion on the topic of non-bank financing for growth and jobs. This has led to further work at European level with a report expected in late 2013. There was also an expert-led discussion between Ministers at lunch on the topic of future growth in Europe.
In February the European Council agreed a budgetary package for the period from 2014 to 2020 for policies focusing on competitiveness, jobs and growth across a broad range of sectors. Recently the Irish Presidency reached political agreement with the European Parliament and the European Commission on a new multi-annual financial framework which unlocks €960 billion in investment across the entire European Union.