Working Papers

M. Amato, F. Saraceno: Squaring the circle – How to guarantee fiscal space and debt sustainability with a European Debt Agency

This paper contributes to the debate on European macroeconomic governance. What is at stake is creating fiscal space for eurozone countries, while ensuring the sustainability of large public debts. Whether fiscal space is created through the reform of fiscal rules, the creation of a central fiscal capacity, or a mix of the two, the question of public debt management, past and future, is paramount.  Here we discuss a proposal that aims at systematic debt management through an ad hoc European Debt Agency. This EDA would progressively absorb the Member States' debt, while keeping them accountable through pricing based on fundamental risk. We further show that (1) a Debt Agency could be designed so as not to imply debt mutualization or moral hazard and that (2) common debt management would allow the ECB to normalize monetary policy without creating instability in sovereign debt markets. An important argument of the paper is that any proposal that does not deal with the entirety of debt risks decreasing sustainability, and thus being counterproductive.

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