Communication on the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 123
Publication Date 20/03/2020
Content Type


Communication published by the European Commission on 20 March 2020, seeking to activate the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). It was released in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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This initiative - which requires the support of the Council of the European Union - is part of the Commission's strategy for a quick response to the socio-economic effects of the sanitary crisis. Once endorsed, it allows Member States to undertake measures to deal adequately with the situation, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework.

The coronavirus pandemic was designated an 'unusual even outside the control of government'. The Commission believed that more far-reaching flexibility under the SGP is required to protect European citizens and businesses from the consequences of this crisis and to support the economic following the pandemic.

Ministers of Finance of the EU Member States expressed their agreement on 23 March with the assessment of the Commission as set out in this Communication.

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EurActiv, 20/03/2020: Commission proposes unprecedented suspension of EU’s fiscal rules
Forbes, 20/03/2020: As The Euro Zone Economy Creaks A Financial Heave Ho From Von Der Leyen
RTÉ News, 20/03/2020: EU to suspend budget rules as ECB relaxes regulations
Reuters, 21/03/2020: EU executive moves to formalise suspension of EU budget rules
Politico, 20/03/2020: EU triggers deficit rules ‘escape clause’ to boost public spending
Politico, 23/03/2020: EU ministers suspend deficit limits to fight coronavirus slump
The Independent, 23/03/2020: Coronavirus: EU agrees to lift spending limits on national budgets to fight Covid-19
The Irish Times, 23/03/2020: Coronavirus: Austerity era ends as EU suspends budget rules
EurActiv, 24/03/2020: EU countries warn of ‘severe economic downturn’, suspend Stability Pact

European Commission: Press Release, 20/03/2020: Coronavirus: Commission proposes to activate fiscal framework's general escape clause to respond to pandemic
European Commission: Questions and answers: Commission proposes activating fiscal framework's general escape clause to respond to coronavirus pandemic (20 March 2020)
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 23/03/2020: Statement of EU ministers of finance on the Stability and Growth Pact in light of the COVID-19 crisis

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