January 23, 2022

Emmanuel Macron and Mario Draghi call for reform of the Maastricht rules

In a column published Thursday on the “Financial Times” site, the French and Italian leaders want to have “greater leeway” to “be able to carry out the key expenses necessary for our future and our sovereignty”.

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It is a call for a relaxation of fiscal rules in order to “launch the debate for a new model of economic governance”, according to the Elysee: Emmanuel Macron and Mario Draghi called on Thursday, December 23 the EU countries to reform the European budgetary rules defined by the Maastricht criteria, in order to allow more investment spending. “Just as these rules did not restrict our response to the pandemic, they should not now prevent us from making all the necessary investments”, claim the two French and Italian leaders in an article published on the website of Financial Times.

Emmanuel Macron had already announced on December 9 that he wanted to make the reform of the Maastricht criteria one of the priorities of the French presidency of the EU, considering that the issue of “for or against the 3%” deficit was “outdated”. His message, supported this time by his Italian counterpart, is addressed to the EU countries most attached to the rules of austerity, including those in northern Europe, which had expressed reluctance before the adoption of a exceptional post-pandemic stimulus budget. And also to the Germany of the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for the moment much more reserved on the subject.

Objective of this approach, according to the Elysée: “That the common objectives be defined for the summit next March, for concrete reforms in early 2023.” If the signatories want “go fast”, according to the French presidency, “the calendar remains open, knowing that the general exemption clause of the current budgetary rules must end at the end of 2022 and that the pandemic may hold some surprises”.

“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 through an unsustainable budgetary adjustment “, argue the two leaders in their forum. “We must have more room for maneuver and be able to carry out the key expenses necessary for our future and our sovereignty”, they defend.