Economic and fiscal policy coordination
Economic and Monetary Policy
ALERT MECHANISM REPORT
Proposal for regulation on the Structural Reform Support Programme [807 KB]
- Annex [36 KB]
- Accompanying Staff working document [431 KB]
The Commission is also publishing the European social partners' views:
ETUC and European cross-industry employers
The Alert Mechanism Report identifies countries that may experience imbalances, such as declining competitiveness or asset bubbles, which could prove harmful to individual Member States or the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union if not corrected.
These diagnoses are discussed among EU governments. Following that, an in-depth review is carried out for each of these Member States to analyse if an imbalance exists and to examine its origin, nature and severity.
To prevent economic problems from getting worse and affecting other EU members, EU governments have agreed on a wide range of rules to ensure the quality and appropriateness of their economic policies.
The Stability and Growth Pact
To keep national fiscal policies on track, EU Member States set budgetary targets, known as Medium-Term Objectives (MTO) calibrated to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances and the national debt burden.
Medium-term objectives presented by Member States (MS) in their:
In April, all EU Member States present to the Commission the budgetary measures that they intend to implement in order to fulfil their commitments. Those that use the euro as their currency do this through ‘Stability Programmes,’ while the rest submit ‘Convergence Programmes.’
This coordination and monitoring is even more demanding for euro area Member States: they present draft budgetary plans for the following year to the Commission and to their partners in the euro area. In case these budgetary policies are unrealistic and/or pose serious threats, they can be asked to submit a revised draft budgetary plan.
Draft budgetary plans submitted by euro area Member States every autumn
Reliable data are essential for sound economic policy decisions and to win the confidence of international partners, investors, companies and market participants. EU rules ensure that governments collect reliable statistics by setting high standards of methodology, quality, transparency and independence.
The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance
The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG or the ‘fiscal compact’), signed by the vast majority of EU Member States, enshrines the goal of balancing the national budgets. It limits the size of the deficit that any government can run per year to 0.5% of GDP and calls for the establishment of automatic policies to correct significant deviations.
The Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP)
The EU’s system of economic rules is further strengthened by provisions to ensure that they are enforced and that governments take effective action to correct economic problems.
The Excessive Deficit Procedure
Member States which run excessive budget deficits of more than 3% of GDP, or which fail to reduce their excessive debts (above 60% of GDP) at a sufficient pace, follow a particular set of rules known as the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP).
Under the EDP, Member States commit to targets to bring their excessive deficits or debts back to safe levels. They also face the possibility of warnings and ultimately sanctions, such as fines that can reach 0.2% of their GDP, if they persistently fail to take adequate action to address their deficits or debts. Regional subsidies from the EU’s ‘cohesion fund’ may also be withheld.
Recommendations to national governments can be made by the EU whenever they are warranted by the circumstances.
The Excessive Imbalance Procedure
Under the Excessive Imbalance Procedure of the EU’s Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure, Member States with excessive imbalances have to submit corrective action plans with a clear roadmap and deadlines.
Euro area Member States can also be fined 0.1% of GDP for failing to address serious macroeconomic imbalances, such as extreme, persistent trade deficits or surpluses, if these are determined to be harmful and a threat to other Member States. The decision to fine a Member State is proposed by the Commission and can only be blocked if a large majority of governments oppose the measure.
Implementation of the EU’s economic governance framework is organised in an annual cycle, which is divided into two parts, known as the European Semester and the National Semester.