Veronica Guerrieri, 12 April 2022

In January 2023, the suspension of the EU's Stability and Growth Pact will expire. That means painful fiscal adjustments in countries struggling with the impact of Covid-19. A new proposal has a two-part solution to this problem.

Lars Feld, Wolf Heinrich Reuter, 31 March 2022

Debt ratios of EMU member states, which were already high in some cases, have increased significantly during the pandemic. This column argues that the current review of the European fiscal framework should not only discuss the design of the framework, but also how to strengthen enforcement and increase compliance with the fiscal rules. Increasing the political costs of non-compliance – through a reduction of complexity of the framework, an increase in national ownership and transparency, as well as simplicity of assessment – could help achieve this. Adding more flexibility, exceptions, and discretionary judgement would be counterproductive.

Niels Thygesen, Roel Beetsma, Massimo Bordignon, Xavier Debrun, Mateusz Szczurek, Martin Larch, Matthias Busse, Mateja Gabrijelcic, Laszlo Jankovics, Janis Malzubris, 16 March 2022

One of the key challenges for the next decade is how to facilitate the green transition. Governments are expected to scale up public investment, buffer the costs of more severe weather-related shocks, and deploy other fiscal tools in a way that facilitates a smooth private sector transition, as well as handle the unavoidable distributive effects of a higher carbon price. This column discusses this year’s conference of the European Fiscal Board, at which a prominent line-up of speakers had an open and inspiring exchange on how the greening challenge could be addressed in the future of the EU fiscal framework. 

Philippe Martin, Lucrezia Reichlin, 01 March 2022

What are the economic imperatives and legal hurdles for reform? A new CEPR Policy Insight identifies the fault lines in the EU framework and suggests what can be done economically and legally to repair them.

Read more about this research and download the Policy Insight:
M. Maduro, P. Martin, JC Piris, J. Pisani-Ferry, L. Reichlin, A. Steinbach, B. Weder di Mauro, Revisiting the EU framework: Economic necessities and legal options, CEPR Policy Insight No 114.

Xavier Debrun, Wolf Heinrich Reuter, 24 January 2022

The European fiscal governance framework has grown into an arcane machinery. Yet, experts’ convergence on the need for a more effective and simpler system falls on political deaf ears. Greater reliance on national fiscal frameworks could significantly strengthen European fiscal governance while passing political hurdles. The authors of this column see value in further strengthening national ownership of fiscal responsibility while keeping central safeguards against risky fiscal behaviour.

Barbara Baarsma, Roel Beetsma, 18 January 2022

An important vulnerability of the EU economy is high public debt levels. This column proposes revisions to the EU fiscal rules to stimulate debt reduction, which would create budgetary room for stabilisation and growth-promoting spending and also support growth convergence among member states. Climate investment should not interfere with the fiscal rules but be financed through an EU fund, in line with the idea of subsidiarity. It should co-exist with uniform pricing of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Leonardo D'Amico, Francesco Giavazzi, Veronica Guerrieri, Guido Lorenzoni, Charles-Henri Weymuller, 15 January 2022

In January 2023, the escape clause triggered to suspend the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact will expire, possibly forcing painful fiscal adjustments in countries that are already struggling with the impact of the pandemic. In this second column in a two-part series, the authors focus on the debt management aspect of their proposal to strengthen the European fiscal framework. They argue for moving a portion of national debts under the umbrella of a European Debt Management Agency, with the aim of reducing debt costs for the whole Union and helping the operations of the ECB in debt markets.

Luis Garicano, 14 January 2022

The EU’s current fiscal framework has failed to fully deliver on both its goals: ensuring long-term discipline and facilitating a countercyclical fiscal stance. This column argues that the political difficulties of agreeing on a comprehensive Stability and Growth Pact reform can be side-stepped by allowing the Pact to remain in place while attracting countries into a parallel system. The author proposes the establishment of a new European Climate Investment Facility to provide grants and loans to fight climate change until 2050, when the Union must reach net zero emissions, and an independent European Fiscal Agency to assess the good standing of member states to access this new facility.

Miguel Poiares Maduro, Philippe Martin, Jean-Claude Piris, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Lucrezia Reichlin, Armin Steinbach, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 16 December 2021

The stability and adequacy of the European monetary and fiscal frameworks are increasingly challenged by enduring changes in the economic environment. This column summarises the findings of a group of economists and lawyers specialised in EU matters who undertook a comprehensive assessment of the economic requirements and legal conditions of a well-functioning macroeconomic policy system for the EU and the euro area. They propose reforms of economic framework in line with economic necessities along three dimensions (coordination of fiscal and monetary policies, fiscal rules, and fiscal capacity at EU level) and assess their legal feasibility. They conclude that meaningful reforms that would bring legal clarity and improve economic performance are feasible within the confines of existing primary law.

Niels Thygesen, Roel Beetsma, Massimo Bordignon, Xavier Debrun, Mateusz Szczurek, Martin Larch, Matthias Busse, Mateja Gabrijelcic, Laszlo Jankovics, Janis Malzubris, 10 November 2021

The policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic underscored two interlinked issues in the EU fiscal surveillance framework: the failure or difficulty on the part of some member states to build fiscal buffers in good times, followed by the tendency to find new often improvised forms of flexibility in the implementation of the EU fiscal rules or through new elements of risk sharing when times turn bad. The latest European Fiscal Board annual report proposes a reform to the EU fiscal framework based on (1) a medium-term debt anchor; (2) an expenditure rule as the main policy instrument; and (3) a single escape clause applied on the basis of independent analysis.

Jean Pisani-Ferry, 21 September 2021

Questions over the way that Europe is constructed economically have never been more important or urgent. Jean Pisani-Ferry of Sciences Po tells Tim Phillips what issues the CEPR research policy network dedicated to Europe’s Economic Architecture will be focusing on, and how it can influence discussions among policymakers.

Zsolt Darvas, Philippe Martin, Xavier Ragot, 12 September 2018

Proposals for reforming the euro area back on the agenda. An overhaul of the European fiscal rules should be on high on this agenda, because the current fiscal framework has not worked well. This column proposes substituting the numerous and complex present rules with a new, simple rule focused on limiting annual growth rate of expenditures.

Events

CEPR Policy Research