The EFTA economic and finance ministers and ECOFIN ministers met at their annual EFTA-ECOFIN meeting to discuss economic, financial and political items of common interest. In the context of the moderate economic recovery in Europe, ministers focused their discussion on the appropriate policy strategy to strengthen the economic growth and employment, with an emphasis on boosting the subdued investments across the continent.
“The EU and EFTA countries are close in many respects, as they participate in a common European market and share important values and challenges. Therefore, this opportunity to exchange views on economic issues in Europe and the way forward is important,” said Siv Jensen, Norway’s Finance Minister and Head of the EFTA delegation to the meeting.
Whilst recognising the EFTA countries' investments are close to pre-crisis level, all Parties acknowledged the importance of policies aimed at boosting the investment levels in Europe. In this area, structural reforms to enhance productivity and remove investment barriers, sound financial regulation aimed at channelling savings into investment projects and completion of the single market were emphasized by ministers. The EU's Investment plan for Europe was seen as an important driver of such policy efforts.
“The EFTA countries agree that investment growth is needed to spur economic growth, employment and productivity, especially for the longer term. Measures supporting investment should be complemented by structural reforms that enhance productivity and reduce misallocation of resources. Well-integrated, well-functioning European markets must be a key part of our strategy,” said Siv Jensen.
The ministers also recognized the significant level of interdependence between the EU and EFTA economies. An economic downturn in one group of countries can have an immediate knock-on effect on other parts of Europe. The EU and EFTA therefore see each other as neighbours with the same important economic challenges and priorities. The Brexit only provides more impetus to that agenda.
Click here for an overview of investment and economic growth in the EFTA countries.
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