European Union: Macron and Draghi plead for budgetary leeway


PARIS (Reuters) – Emmanuel Macron and Mario Draghi plead in a joint opinion piece published by the Financial Times for a future reform of the European Union’s budgetary rules to provide more leeway for the investments necessary to adapt the economy. economy to climate change and greater European sovereignty.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the policies implemented to help businesses and households worsened the deterioration of the public accounts of European countries, many of which were already no longer respecting the authorized ceilings in terms of deficit and especially debt.

This health and economic crisis has also exposed the dependence of certain sectors on the rest of the world with the appearance of bottlenecks in supply chains.

“We need to reduce our level of debt, there is no doubt about it, but we cannot hope to achieve this by raising taxes or making unsustainable cuts in social spending, nor killing growth in the economy. egg by rebalancing public finances by a budgetary adjustment which would not be viable “, write Emmanuel Macron and Mario Draghi in this column, of which the other European leaders were informed before its publication according to the Elysee.

The French President and the President of the Italian Council rather advocate a strategy consisting “of controlling our recurrent public spending by carrying out intelligent structural reforms”.

“(…) in the same way that these (budgetary) rules did not restrict our response to the pandemic, they should not now prevent us from making all the necessary investments.”

During the presentation on December 9 of the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first half of 2022, Emmanuel Macron had already made a similar speech. Mario Draghi has also repeatedly defended a reform of European budgetary rules resulting from the Maastricht Treaty.

“We must have more leeway and be able to make the key expenses necessary for our future and our sovereignty,” the two leaders wrote in the Financial Times.

“Fiscal rules should favor the debt created to finance these investments, which undoubtedly contribute to the well-being of future generations and to long-term growth, since this public expenditure effectively contributes to long-term debt sustainability . “

(Report Tassilo Hummel and Sudip Kar-Gupta, French version Bertrand Boucey, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)

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