S. Micossi, F. Peirce – FLEXIBILITY CLAUSES IN THE STABILITY AND GROWTH PACT: NO NEED FOR REVISION
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”.