The revision of the Stability Pact begins. Gentiloni: We will build consensus


BRUSSELS – The discussion at the Eurogroup on the revision of the Stability Pact began yesterday with the questions posed by the Commission on the need to guarantee the public investments necessary for the transition, on the fact of the sharp increase in state debt caused by the pandemic, which now must be reduced without hindering growth, and on the need to simplify the rules and indicators of economic “governance”. There is awareness of these problems, but there is still no consensus among all finance ministers on how to address and resolve them, and we will have to work in the coming months to build this consensus. In essence, this is what the European Commissioner for Economy said Paolo Gentiloni, during the press conference at the end of the Eurogroup meeting this evening in Brussels.

“On the revision of economic governance”, which the Commission recently relaunched, “the discussion at the Eurogroup focused – reported Gentiloni – in particular on some elements: first, the question of how to facilitate the massive investments we need to the next few years »for green and digital transitions. “For the green transition alone – warned the commissioner – 520 billion euros a year will be needed for the next decade”.

Second point, “how to achieve a gradual and credible reduction of the public debt / GDP ratio without stifling the recovery, and therefore how to find a balance between the need to reduce debt and the need to support the recovery and stable growth. And finally – Gentiloni pointed out – how to make our picture simpler “, something of which” several ministers around the table have underlined the importance “. To a question about the possibility of the 60% threshold for the debt / GDP ratio being questioned, which today the French Minister of Economy Brown Lemaire he defined as «a bit unrealistic», the commissioner replied: «I have not heard from the ministers, and of course from the Commission, proposals regarding a change in the EU Treaties, of the thresholds provided for by the treaties. Of course, there is a wide awareness that we have this high level of debt, and that we need to find ways to seriously reduce it, even if the debt costs less than 20 years ago due to low interest rates. “But we have to reduce it in a way that is conducive to growth, which is not easy at all. I would not say that there is a consensus around the table on how to do it, but there is a wide awareness of the fact that this is a problem to be addressed ».

To those who asked whether it can be said that among ministers today there is at least a consensus on the fact that growth is necessary to ensure healthy public finances, Gentiloni replied: “There is this awareness, but in a certain sense it is a ‘double discussion -face ‘: on the one hand we have very consolidated ideas and different national positions, perfectly understandable and legitimate, in a discussion that has been going on for over ten years. On the other hand, there are some new facts: the low cost of debt, the shock of the pandemic that has increased the level of debt in almost all Member States, and then the investments we need if we are to be serious in the discussions we are having on transition. This awareness is there ».

But, the Commissioner insisted, “on the solutions, on how to deal with this problem, we must work to build a consensus in the coming months: because of course there are still different ideas around the table. There are countries that stress the need to create fiscal space with robust policies to address future crises. We all know that the discussion is not over, that it is there; but it is interesting that we are taking note of the new situation in which we find ourselves. And from this point of view the discussion in the next session of the Eurogroup will be very useful », concluded Gentiloni.

(with source Askanews)


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