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Informal meeting of EU finance ministers in Vienna

Löger: Europe is working on rules and regulations for crypto assets to support the development of the sector

Good start at the informal ECOFIN Council under the Austrian Council Presidency. European Investment Bank (EIB) issues, key interest rates and crypto assets as agenda items on day one.

Austria’s Minister of Finance, Hartwig Löger, has put the topic of “Crypto” on top of the financial agenda during the Austrian Council Presidency. According to Löger, Europe currently lacks uniform rules for the handling and trading of crypto assets: “This market is currently largely unregulated, particularly in comparison with other sectors. To us, it is a question of clear rules of the game for companies, customers and consumers in order to make crypto assets usable as financial instruments, not of excessive regulation.”

“With a vision for Europe, we want to make the location more attractive for crypto assets and develop a European plan to position ourselves more strongly in this emerging segment”, says Löger. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) can be a valuable tool for European companies to gain access to funding. Funding via ICOs reached a volume of more than US$ 7 billion in March 2018. There was a dramatic decline to US$ 926 million in July. Growth-promoting regulation should tap this potential for European companies as a serious financing instrument and enable stable market development. At the same time, the investment universe will be expanded by high-quality ICOs, and consumers get access to alternative investment opportunities. Close coordination between legislators, regulators and industry is crucial for development of these promising markets.

“At our first working meeting, together with the governors of the central banks we discussed the possible effects of the expected rise in key interest rates in order to draw the right conclusions in terms of fiscal policy. It is important for all Member States to be prepared for the normalisation of interest rate policy announced by the European Central Bank (ECB), to implement the corresponding structural reforms, and to reorganise their public finances”, emphasises Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger.

The agenda for the second day of the meeting on September 8th focuses on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union and on the issue of fair taxation of the digital economy.