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Within 24 hours of landing in Brussels, US chief economist Janet Yellen had successfully blocked the EU’s plans for a digital levy and told national governments how to run their economies.
But EU officials praised their American visitor only exuberantly.
“We could say that we have moved from a winter of discontent to a summer of cooperation in relation to our relations with the US,” said Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni on Monday evening in front of journalists.
The former chairman of the Federal Reserve is in town to meet with commissioners and EU finance ministers – and to protest against a planned digital levy.
The European Commission confirmed on Monday that it would bow to US demands to put its plans on hold until the fall. Washington argues strongly against the plans, warning that the tax would unfairly attack US tech giants and undermine a global tax treaty approved by G20 finance ministers over the weekend.
But despite the embarrassing U-turn on a flagship proposal, senior officials raved about Yellen’s visit.
After years of tumultuous relations with the Donald The Trump administration, Gentiloni, said it “symbolized a new transatlantic period”.
Klaus Regling, chairman of the EU bailout fund, praised Yellen’s support for multilateralism – a significant change from the previous administration – and her reference to the “common challenges” facing the EU and the US
“It reminded me of the last time that [a] The US Treasury Secretary attended a Eurogroup meeting. That was almost 10 years ago in September 2011 when Tim Geithner came to Warsaw, ”he said.
Meanwhile, Yellen used her guest appearance at the meeting of EU finance ministers on Monday to give them economic advice.
After prepared statements, the US Treasury Secretary warned the EU to put the money in their Economy see you next year. She said member countries should “seriously consider additional fiscal measures to ensure a robust domestic and global recovery” in the face of ongoing uncertainty about economic recovery.
Yellen also got involved in the debate about the future of the EU budget deficit rules by calling for “sufficient flexibility” within the framework of the so-called Stability and Growth Pact.
“The fiscal framework should support a future economy and not lead to pro-cyclical economic outcomes,” she said in the notes.
But while this council – which is more in line with the position of countries like Greece and Italy than the other camp of Germany, the Netherlands and others – could have stepped on its feet, the ministers have glossed over possible friction.
“The spirit in which Foreign Minister Yellen stressed this point was a spirit in which all members of the Eurogroup would agree, namely that our efforts with this pandemic are far from over,” said Eurogroup President and Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe .