1st Apr 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 join 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.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

EU leaders arriving at the Brussels summit criticised the budget proposal of EU Council president Charles Michel, as richer member states insisted holding onto their rebates, while poorer countries wanted to avoid deep cuts to their subsidies.

News in Brief

  1. Danish conservatives want Orban party kicked out of EPP
  2. Dutch finance minister repents on virus help
  3. France to house domestic violence victims in hotels
  4. Europe sends medical goods to Iran, despite US embargo
  5. Commission sets consultation on raising 2030 climate target
  6. 12-year old Belgian girl dies of coronavirus
  7. EU commission: no 'indefinite' emergency measures
  8. Denmark plans 'gradual' return to normal after Easter

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.


Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  2. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  3. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough
  4. Trying to think straight about coronavirus
  5. Berlin ready to airlift Greek island refugees
  6. Von der Leyen criticises Hungary, but fails to mention it
  7. Air pollution drops in Europe, but how long will it last?
  8. Human rights abusers don't stop for virus, MEPs tell EU

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us