Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

ECOFIN is expected to approve an increase of the lending ceiling for member states with financial difficulties

Adelina Marini, May 5, 2009

From 25 to 50 bn euro will be increased the lending ceiling for member states, experiencing financial difficulties because of the crisis. This is expected to be decided on the Council for economic and financial affairs (ECOFIN) today.

Beside this the financial ministers are expected to decide on the draft directive for the rates of excise duties on tobacco products. According to the draft, proposed by the Presidency, in order to ensure public health the draft requires an increase of the minimum rates on tobacco products. In addition, it is aimed at bringing the minimum rates for fine-cut tobacco gradually into line with those for cigarettes. The proposal is to take effect on the 1st of January 2014 with minimum rate of the excise duties of 90 euro per 1,000 cigarettes or proportionally - 60 % of the weighted average sales price. The proposed compromise provides transitional periods for member states that have not yet achieved, or only recently achieved, the current minimum rates.

Without any further discussions the ministers are also expected to approve the political agreement from the Spring Council in March on reducing the VAT rates. Again a specific derogation has been negotiated by the UK.

Beside that, the Commission will present its draft budget for 2010 which is focused on economic recovery. The budget also includes money for the Plan of the Commission for economic recovery, worth 5 bn euro.