Flexibility clauses in the Stability and Growth Pact: No need for revision

Author (Person) ,
Series Title
Series Details No. 319, 24 July 2014
Publication Date 24/07/2014
Content Type


This Policy Brief offers an in-depth review of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and looks at whether the margins of flexibility within existing rules are sufficient in the current climate of low growth, or whether there is a need to broaden them. The issue is especially relevant as the changing economic environment is raising fresh questions about whether the EU’s current common economic policies are able to manage dismal growth and low inflation. The fragile state of confidence in financial markets and the unresolved but inevitable questions of moral hazard linked to lax fiscal policies mean that no large-scale fiscal expansion to support the recovery of economic activity is feasible. The discussion may therefore only concern the scope within the SGP to accommodate an unexpected drop in economic activity and to provide room for the implementation of structural reforms. Here, we analyse the flexibility clauses of the Stability and Growth Pact under three headings; namely “exceptional circumstances”, “structural reforms and other relevant factors”, and the “investment clause”.

Recommendation: Our main conclusion is that the SGP contains sufficient flexibility to accommodate an unexpected drop in economic activity and has the margins needed to finance structural reforms during the transition to the new regime. We therefore see no need to change the existing rules of the SGP. We believe that the ongoing debate about a fresh growth strategy for the eurozone and the European Union would greatly benefit from removing from the Council table ill-formulated and unnecessary demands for greater flexibility in the SGP.

Source Link http://aei.pitt.edu/52897/
Subject Categories
Countries / Regions