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Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

, Volume 149, Issue 2, pp 205–217 | Cite as

How to enforce fiscal discipline in EMU: A proposal

  • Jakob de Haan
  • Niels Gilbert
  • Jeroen Hessel
  • Silvie Verkaart
Open Access
Article
  • 41 Downloads

Summary

Based on Inman’s (1996) classification of successful fiscal policy rules, we argue that the Stability and Growth Pact suffers from two serious weaknesses: a politicized decision-making process and lack of effective instruments to enforce that Member States adjust their fiscal policies if needed. Although recent changes in the European Union’s governance of national fiscal policy are considered to be an improvement, we argue that they do not address these shortcomings sufficiently. More independent enforcement is needed, and our preferred long-term solution would be to delegate the enforcement of European budgetary rules to a fully independent Budgetary Authority. Once the enforcement by this authority is well established and government debt-to-GDP ratios have declined towards 60%, fiscal discipline could be strengthened even further by introducing well-designed Eurobonds as the capstone of EMU. We propose centrally issued Eurobonds for the full public debt under the condition that Member States will no longer be allowed to independently raise funds in the money or capital markets. The independent Budgetary Authority only distributes funds to Member States if they have sustainable fiscal policies as defined under the SGP or if they properly implement a strictly monitored adjustment program.

JEL-Classification

H6 

Keywords

debt debt brake fiscal rules European Economic Monetary Union 

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Copyright information

© Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jakob de Haan
    • 1
  • Niels Gilbert
  • Jeroen Hessel
  • Silvie Verkaart
  1. 1.De Nederlandsche BankAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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