JEL-Keywords: Fiscal Policy.
This paper's main points:
- The consolidation of public finances has improved in all 15
EU countries in the 1990s. This has been due to restrictive fiscal policy
stances and the improvement of the macroeconomic environment in recent
years with lower interest rates and higher growth.
- Although in most countries anticyclical behaviour is observable, this
does not seem to have caused the rising debt levels. Rather the high
interest burden and low growth were the principal causes for the rising
debt ratio in EU countries.
- The fiscal policy reactions in recent years have been consistent with
stable government finances and sustainable budgetary positions . The
high debt levels are of no significant concern for the sustainability
of EMU. A continuation of the fiscal policy stance of recent years would
imply a stabilisation of the debt ratio around 70% given Europes
low growth rates. However, the speed of policy adjustment is likely
to accelerate under the provisions of the Growth and Stability Pact.
- The sustainability of the debt position of highly indebted countries
like Italy would be significantly higher within EMU than outside.
- Growth is expected to improve in the single market through
the elimination of the exchange rate risk and lower interest rates.
This is an important contribution to the persistent consolidation of
public finance and will favour private investment and economies of scales
In conclusion: The countries ability and willingness to consolidate
public finances will be better within Monetary Union than outside.
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