Greek Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis broached the impact high energy costs were having on EU competitiveness during the meeting of the Ecofin Eurogroup in Brussels on Tuesday.
The Greek Minister warned that the energy crisis proved beyond any doubt the need for a “true” common policy on energy. “The economy demands it,” he pointed out.
Hatzidakis stressed the EU should implement two main actions to address the problem by adopting a common plan for energy networks based on the geographical distribution of production centers and initiating a unified economic plan for economies of scale to prevent EU member-states from undermining national plans of other countries in the bloc.
To achieve the latter, Hatzidakis proposed energy interconnection between Europe and eastern Mediterranean countries like Egypt and Israel, adding that apart from strengthening energy security and stability in the region this would also serve the EU’s geopolitical interests.
During discussions with representatives of the IMF regarding the course of the eurozone economy, Mr. Hatzidakis emphasized the need for the completion of the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union. He reiterated the commitment of the Greek government to continue on the path of fiscal responsibility, regardless of the new fiscal rules agreed upon last December.
The agenda included a presentation by the Belgian Presidency on its program for the 6 months in economic and fiscal matters. Additionally, there was a discussion on the economic and fiscal impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Furthermore, the ministers adopted conclusions regarding the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey (ASGS), the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR), and the recommendation for the economic policies of the Eurozone for the year 2024.