Eurogroup reaches agreement on euro zone budget – Jornal Econômico

European Finance Ministers arrived on Friday morning to agree on the main lines of a budget for the euro zone, the French representative said after a long night of talks in Luxembourg.

"For the first time, we have created an operating budget that will help the eurozone countries to converge and become more competitive. It's a breakthrough, "Bruno Le Maire said in statements to France-Presse news agency AFP. "For the first time, we will begin to think of the future as a coherent bloc and to coordinate our economic policies," added the French finance minister.

The Eurogroup president's spokesman hailed the agreement reached by ministers overnight in a Twitter social networking publication. "The Eurogroup meeting ended at 04:30 in the morning with an agreement," wrote Mario Centeno's spokesman.

Details of the agreement will be announced at a press conference at 08:15 (07:15 in Lisbon).

The ministerial agreement, reached after several hours, will be presented at the June summit in Brussels.

The creation of an own budgetary instrument for the euro zone was a project of the French President, Emmanuel Macron.

However, the final compromise considerably reduces initial ambitions, due to the skepticism of the Northern European countries led by the Netherlands.

Called "Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness", the budget for the euro area aims to encourage reforms to increase competitiveness in the 19 countries that have adopted the single currency.

In December 2018, the President of the Eurogroup, Mário Centeno, received a mandate from the heads of state and government of the euro zone to work on a proposal for a budgetary capacity of its own for competitiveness and convergence in the euro area.

The proposal should be presented at the euro summit, which is why the subject has been discussed in recent months among European finance ministers.

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