Thursday

28th May 2020

Dijsselbloem: Fiscal rules must be applied objectively

  • "If the commission's decisions are very hard to understand and very hard to predict and are not objective, it is a very big worry," Dijsselbloem said. (Photo: The European Union)

The European Commission should be "very prudent" and "objective" when monitoring national budget deficits, the president of the Eurogroup has said.

"I am very worried," Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who also serves as Dutch finance minister, told a hearing in the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee on Tuesday (14 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Dijsselbloem, who also currently chairs the EU finance ministers council, said finance ministers were "becoming a little concerned" by the commission's treatment of France and Spain, giving them more time to reduce their deficits.

He said it would be "a very big worry if the commission's decisions are very hard to understand and very hard to predict and are not objective … perhaps distinguishing between small and larger member states".

Last month, the commission decided to postpone until July a decision over whether to launch a procedure against Spain for excessive budget deficit. A legal paper from the Council of the EU, which represents member states, has questioned the legality of the decision.

Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker also recently said France was given until next year to reduce its deficit "because it is France".

He said fiscal rules should not be applied "blindly" because he knew France's "reflexes, its internal reactions, its multiple facets".

"I try to understand this kind of comments," Dijsselbloem told MEPs, adding that they raised raise "a lot of questions whether rules will be applied correctly".

"The commission has to understand that the pact is in their hands … that they are guardian of the pact," he said.

He said differences of treatment between countries would make it "more difficult to ask all of us to comply" to the rules.

He said it was a question of "confidence between us" as well as the confidence the "outside world" has towards the EU.

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

[Updated] The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

German court questions bond-buying and EU legal regime

The German Constitutional court ordered the European Central Bank to explain its 2015 bond-buying scheme that helped eurozone stay afloat - otherwise the German Bundesbank will not be allowed to take part.

Coronavirus

ECB promises (almost) whatever it takes

The eurozone's central bank has promised to buy up to €750bn of government and private bonds in new pandemic counter-measures.

Opinion

What does coronavirus 'Black Swan' mean for markets?

Falling demand and prices for oil and raw materials will revive the risk of deflation. The collapse in international trade and long-term rethinking of China's role as the major hub for the production of consumer goods and electronics is inevitable.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU Commission's €1.75trn recovery package - key points
  2. Why developing countries may be last to get the vaccine
  3. Budapest to EU: 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word'
  4. EU Commission's green recovery criticised as 'brown'
  5. Mix of loans and grants in Commission €750bn package
  6. EU recovery agreement deal may need 'personal' summit
  7. Little love, as Berlin bids 'auf Wiedersehen' to Trumpism
  8. Future of Europe Conference: Council urged to move now

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us