The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) is one of the configurations of the EU Council covering these main policy areas:
- economic policy coordination;
- economic surveillance;
- monitoring of member states' budgetary policy and public finances;
- the euro (legal, practical and international aspects);
- financial markets and capital movements;
- economic relations with the third countries;
- preparation and adoption of the budget of the European Union together with the European Parliament.
The ECOFIN is composed of EU Member States’ ministers of economy and finance. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the preparation and presentation of positions of the Republic of Lithuania in the ECOFIN Council.
The ECOFIN Council meets once a month usually in Brussels (Belgium) or Luxembourg (in June and October). The ministers of finance of EU Member States also meet every six months in the Presidency country (in April and September) for informal meetings. Twice a year the ECOFIN meetings are designed exceptionally for EU budget related issues.
Before the ECOFIN meetings, unofficial meetings of the Member States whose currency is the euro, i.e. the Eurogroup, usually take place to deal with the issues related to the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Mainly political issues unsettled at lower level committees and working groups are brought to the ministerial ECOFIN Council agenda.
The main preparatory bodies of the ECOFIN are the following:
- COREPER ─ Committee of Permanent Representatives (Ambassadors) to the EU ─ prepares the Council meetings, it is chaired by a representative of the Presidency.
- EFC ─ Economic and Financial Committee ─ also does the preparatory work and can provide opinions on assessment of the economic and financial situation, the coordination of economic and fiscal policies, financial market matters, exchange rate policies and relations with third countries and international institutions. Representatives from Member States’ ministries of finance and central banks participate in meetings of this Committee.
- EPC ─ Economic Policy Committee ─ provides advice to the ECOFIN Council on economic policy issues (globalisation, strengthening of the single market and promoting greater coherence between macroeconomic, structural and employment policies) and matters regarding the quality and sustainability of public finances.