Philippe Martin, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Xavier Ragot, 26 May 2021

The temporary suspension of the European fiscal rules to enable member states to take emergency measures against the Covid crisis offers an opportunity for an ambitious reform of a now clearly outdated fiscal framework. This column, part of the Vox debate on euro area reform, argues that the reactivation of the rules, now foreseen in 2023, should be made contingent on a political agreement on reforming the fiscal framework, and proposes a comprehensive reform in which the new European fiscal framework would prioritise externalities arising from debt sustainability risks and demand spillovers. Fiscal targets should be differentiated depending on country vulnerabilities and implemented in a more decentralised way. 

Lars Feld, Christoph Schmidt, Isabel Schnabel, Volker Wieland, 12 September 2018

Simplicity and transparency are essential to strengthen the effectiveness of fiscal rules and to ensure sustainable public finances; thus the German Council of Economic Experts has criticised recent reforms of the European fiscal framework for exacerbating their complexity. This column proposes a redesign of the existing fiscal framework together with a drastic reduction in exception and escape clauses. The reformed framework employs a modified expenditure benchmark as an annual operational target. In addition, it implements the structural deficit rule as its medium-term target through a multi-purpose adjustment account, and a pre-specified debt ratio as its long-term limit achieved with a debt-correction factor.

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