European ministers of economic and financial affairs met in Luxembourg on 21 June 2013 to discuss all-important topics of country-specific recommendations, excessive deficit procedures for Member States, value added tax measures and Latvia's intention to adopt euro.
The Council approved draft recommendations to 23 member states on economic policies under European Semester. It also adopted decisions on closing the excessive deficit procedures for Italy, Latvia, Hungary, Romania and Lithuania. In addition, the deadlines were extended by two years in case of Spain, France, Portugal and Slovenia to take further corrective action and lower the budget deficit under 3% of GDP. The council opened an excessive deficit procedure for Malta and stepped up the one for Belgium, claiming that the actions taken were insufficient in combating the deficit.
The Council also decided to extend the maturities of Ireland's and Portugal's loans by seven years to smoothen the transition from economic adjustment programmes to market financing. Finally, ministers confirmed that Latvia has fulfilled all the conditions necessary for adoption of the euro as its new currency from January 2014.
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