Statement on the meeting between the German Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, and the Portuguese Minister of State and Finance, Vítor Gaspar

Abgelegt unter: Allgemein |

Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, and Vítor Gaspar, Portuguese Minister of State and Finance, met today to exchange information and views on Economic and Monetary Union, the Portuguese Financial Assistance Program and bilateral cooperation between Germany and Portugal.

The Ministers share the view that it is urgent to make progress towards deeper economic and monetary union. One problem is fragmentation of financial markets. Firms in the periphery are facing higher funding costs than firms in the core countries with the same credit risk and business prospects. Financial fragmentation is hampering the adjustment and contributing to the weak macroeconomic performance of the euro area. Ministers agree that it is in the interest of Europe as a whole to address this issue and to establish a banking union swiftly.

The Ministers exchanged views on the positive development of the Portuguese Adjustment program. The progresses achieved in public finance consolidation were reviewed and the efforts of the Portuguese authorities were commended. The gradual restoration of credibility has led to great improvements in the access to financial markets, as exemplified by the recent issuance of a 10-year bond in May. Portuguese debt is now trading at levels that were first breached in the Spring of 2010.

However, the reduction in borrowing costs of the sovereign debt has still not been fully transmitted to the rest of the economy. Portugal is thus one of the countries that will benefit from banking union and other ongoing initiatives to address the excessive cost of bank finance and improve firm?s access to credit, in particular for SMEs.

In this respect, the Ministers discussed possible ways by which Germany could provide support to Portugal, in particular to address financing and capitalization needs of Portuguese high potential SMEs. In the course of today?s meeting, the ministers agreed to closely cooperate in preparing technical as well as financial support together with the German development bank KfW. KfW will also provide further technical support to the setting up of the new Portuguese financial development institution, a vital instrument for investing in sustainable growth and job creation in Portugal.

The ministers agreed that tackling financial constraints and promoting growth is necessary to preserve the ability of European countries to sustain the provision of social goods and to fight unemployment, in particular youth unemployment. Job creation and youth employment are the key priorities for Europe as a whole.

Bundesministerium der Finanzen (BMF)
Wilhelmstraße 97
10117 Berlin

Telefon: 030 – 2242-0
Telefax: 030 – 2242-3260


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