The EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will hold its first meeting of 2024 today.
ECOFIN is comprised of the economy and finance ministers of all 27 EU member states. The Council meets monthly and discusses key policy areas including economic coordination, monitoring of budgetary policies and public finances, currency concerns and EU economic relations with other countries.
Today the council will discuss the economic impact of Russia’s ongoing war. Since Russia’s invasion ECOFIN has adopted twelve packages of ‘restrictive measures’ against Russian individuals and the Russian economy. These measures have weakened Russia’s trade flows and damaged GDP. Further tightening measures are likely as the conflict continues.
Although the EU talks of standing united in its ‘unwavering’ support for Ukraine and adopted an USD 19.7 billion support package in 2023, cracks in its unity are beginning to show; last week German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called out the majority of EU countries, stating they were not sending sufficient levels of military aid to Ukraine. Today’s meeting is overshadowed by growing frustration over the increasing likelihood of a long war. The continuance of aid and relevance of sanctions will become more difficult for EU countries to defend if progress remains absent.
Rory is an Analyst that writes for the Daily Brief..