Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

EU to revisit budget rules by year's end, says Eurogroup chief

  • Dijsselbloem - Eurozone rules to be re-assessed before the end of 2014 (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The European Commission and government ministers will re-assess the bloc’s rules on deficit and debt limits by the end of 2014, the eurozone’s lead official has said.

But Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the monthly meeting of the eurozone’s 18 finance ministers, insisted that the terms be kept to for now.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"All the ministers stressed the importance to stick to the rules as they are now," he told a news conference in Luxembourg on Thursday (19 June). "At the end of the year... we will look at whether we can make them less complex."

The EU’s stability and growth pact requires governments to keep budget deficits below 3 percent and debt levels to 60 percent. It has also been stiffened in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis to make it easier for the commission to impose reforms and, ultimately sanctions, on reluctant governments.

But the effectiveness of the regime has been called into question this week.

Germany’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel appeared to distance himself from his country’s long-standing commitment to budgetary austerity on Monday, commenting that “no one wants higher debt, but we can only cut the deficit by slowly returning to economic growth.”

Critics say that the 3 percent deficit limit enshrines austerity and prevents governments from putting in place stimulus measures to ease the pain of economic recession and boost demand.

For his part, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has conditioned his support for Jean Claude Juncker’s bid for the European Commission presidency on whether the former Luxembourg premier backs his plans to give governments more scope to pursue public investment programmes.

Renzi has also made clear already that the issue will be raised during his country's six-month EU presidency which starts next month.

But Gabriel’s boss, finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, offered no signs that he would accept a re-opening of the pact’s main provisions.

"We don't need to change the rules, we have to stick to them," he said, adding that "the existing rules provide enough flexibility."

Meanwhile, an IMF report presented to ministers by the Fund’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, urged them to simplify the pact, which had, it said “become excessively complicated with multiple objectives and targets.”

“There is a worry that the framework discourages public investment,” it added.

Outgoing economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters that any moves to ease the implementation of the rules would be dependent on countries first pursuing reform programmes.

"We can first verify that structural reforms are really moving forward and then see if this would justify some extension in the correction deadline," he said.

Rehn, who was attending his last Eurogroup meeting before taking up a seat in the European Parliament, was one of the main architects of the revised pact.

Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short

EU summit leaders on Thursday will not reach any deal on migration, while Italy and the Visegrad Group countries confront each other on the Trust Fund for Africa. The debate on internal EU asylum relocation, however, remains off the table.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Pro-Kremlin trolls targeted Scottish referendum
  2. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  3. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  4. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  5. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  6. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  7. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  8. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  2. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  3. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  4. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  7. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  8. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  10. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  11. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  12. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe

Latest News

  1. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  2. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short
  3. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  4. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  5. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  6. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  7. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  8. Romania searching for EU respectability