Reform of the Stability and Growth Pact
The current Euro crisis is mainly rooted in the Member States excessive public debts. Consequently, settling the problem of debt should be at the heart of crisis management. To this end, the Commission published a reform package on 29 September. It encompasses amendments to the Stability and Growth Pact and, at the same time, a macroeconomic surveillance flanking the Pact. Thus the Commission wishes to ensure that, in future, the Stability and Growth Pact will be applied in a more efficient, sharper and more thorough manner.
Many aspects of the of the proposals made in the reform package are to be welcomed, since infringements of the Pact will, in future, be sanctioned more consistently. In parts, however, the Commission’s proposals do not go far enough. Thus, the “quasi-automatism” of sanction imposition is in danger of leading nowhere as the Council still plays a decisive role at the different procedure stages. Hence, the urgently needed “depoliticising” of the deficit procedure is not fully accomplished. Besides, the option favoured by the Commission, namely that deficit procedures are also applicable to debt levels of more than 60%, infringes the EU Treaties. Actions brought before the ECJ by a Member State affected due to contract infringement, are therefore likely to be successful.