Economic dialogue and exchange of views with Vladislav Goranov, ECOFIN President and Minister of Finance of Bulgaria

Thank you Mr Chairman.
A welcome to the Minister. Good luck for the Presidency.
The most recent assessment of the economic situation shows that the economic expansion in the EU as a whole and in the euro area continues, and has become increasingly broad-based across countries.
Given this economic improvement, it no longer makes sense to use the arguments of austerity to deny to working and middle classes as well as to pensioners, an improvement in their purchasing power while applauding the increased profitability of corporations.
In this regard, wage growth contributes to the economic recovery by supporting aggregate demand, reduces inequalities and ensures high standards of living in the area.
Is it not time then to push for an EU wide rise of say 5 per cent in the national minimum wage where this applies?
By taking place across the board, it would equalise competitive pressures. It would also be more effective in helping to reach inflation targets, than the monetary tools that the ECB has been deploying these past years.
Such a measure can only be adopted at Council level.
Would there be any appetite for it there, given the fact that at a European level, the horizon of parliamentary elections is fast approaching?
If those elections are to be a successful milestone for the European project, member states need to show that following years of austerity, they are committed fast to an improvement in the wellbeing of families and citizens across the EU…

– On a different note, in view of the end of the legislature and the Commission’s mandate, I would be curious to know, what your views are about how effective cohesion policy and EFSI, have been to really bring about convergence between the economies of the centre and those of the East and of the periphery?