History of the Eurogroup
The Eurogroup was created to meet the need for enhanced economic policy coordination among euro area member states.
The finance ministers of the euro area countries met informally for the first time on 4 June 1998 at the Chateau de Senningen in Luxembourg.
Since then, they have regularly met ahead of Council (Economic and Financial Affairs - ECOFIN) meetings to discuss matters relating to the specific responsibilities they share with regard to the single currency.
Protocol 14 of the Lisbon Treaty confirmed the informal nature of Eurogroup meetings. Formal decision-making on economic policy coordination takes place in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). For a number of issues specific to the euro area, the Lisbon Treaty introduced provisions for only euro area member states to vote in the Council.
Formalising the Presidency
Initially, the Eurogroup was chaired by the minister of the member state holding the Council Presidency.
If the Council Presidency was held by a member state outside the eurozone, then responsibility for chairing the Eurogroup would be given to the next euro area member state in line to hold the Council Presidency.
At the end of 2004, the ministers agreed to elect a President for a renewable two-year term.
This was formalised in Protocol 14 of the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, and set the term of office of the President at two and half years.
Last updated: 03/01/2013