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Austrian Finance Ministry: Finance Minister Löger welcomes his Bulgarian and Estonian counterparts

Working discussions in afternoon and evening focus on the trio EU Council Presidency to be rounded off by Austria in the second half of the year

Vienna (OTS) - Today, Thursday, Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger welcomed his counterparts from Bulgaria and Estonia in Vienna. Both have taken up the invitation from the Austrian Finance Minister to hold more in-depth discussions regarding the Austrian EU Council Presidency on the periphery of the Vienna Opera Ball.

At a bilateral meeting held in the afternoon with the current President of the ECOFIN Council and Bulgarian Finance Minister, Vladislav

Goranov, Löger reported that topics were discussed at this early stage which, it is hoped, will be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible within the framework of the trio Council Presidency; his aim is to ensure a smooth transition of the Presidency from Bulgaria to Austria: "Our ambition is to create the framework during our Council Presidency enabling further development of the EU on the most important issues. This means, for instance, deepening EMU, negotiations on the multi-annual financial framework, and also Brexit."

In addition, the discussion between Löger and Goranov also focused on targeted measures to strengthen the Internal Market. "The European Union has the possibilities at its disposal for preparing the ground for transparent tax competition and taking a determined stand in the fight against aggressive unfair tax avoidance and tax fraud," stated Löger. Specifically, the Austrian Finance Minister wishes to create a collective assessment basis for corporation tax and bring attention to the issue of tax treatment of the digital economy, as well as devise proposals for combating carousel VAT fraud.

Following on from this, a meeting with Toomas Tõniste, Estonia's Finance Minister, is then on the agenda. This meeting too will be dominated by the issue of preparing for Austria's EU Council Presidency, upcoming in the second half of the year.

Jointly with Estonia and Bulgaria, which currently holds the EU Council Presidency, Austria forms the so-called "trio" Council Presidency. In a joint 18-month program, the trio has in particular set itself the objective of achieving progress in discussions on further development of Economic and Monetary Union. In this connection, according to Löger, one specific objective is to complete the banking union. "Here, initially, relevant risk-reducing measures, in particular with regard to inherited liabilities, so-called non-performing loans, are to be instituted, in order to create the preconditions of collective deposit protection," concludes Löger.