Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this originally scheduled meeting of the Economics and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) became a videoconference.

The ministers spent the morning discussing a number of Council conclusions relating to financial policy. At the top of the agenda was a discussion of the Council’s conclusions on the Commission’s action plan on preventing money laundering and terrorism financing. The action plan set out in May 2020 contains measures to improve enforcement, supervision and coordination of EU anti-money laundering rules.

The Council then heard from the Commission on how the 2017 action plan on non-performing loans in the banking sector is being implemented and what some elements of its upcoming action plan on the issue will be.

There was also a presentation from the Presidency on two sets of Council conclusions on the European Semester: the European Court of Auditors’ Special Report on the European Semester 2020, and the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021. The European Semester is a cycle of coordinated EU economic policy which takes place during the first six months of each year. The upcoming cycle will be adapted to include the bloc’s coronavirus recovery strategy.

Also on the agenda was an exchange of views on Council conclusions on EU statistics, a presentation from the chair of the European Fiscal Board (EFB) Niels Thygesen on the organisation’s annual report, and a briefing on the discussions held at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting and the IMF/World Bank meeting, both of which took place in October.