Business World

Thursday 22 February 2018

EU beefed up surveillance of member states' finances as economies floundered

PROPOSALS introduced since the crisis already give the EU significant oversight of member states' national budgets.

The Department of Finance's stability programme, which underpins the annual Budget, was published in April this year instead of the usual December as part of strengthened EU surveillance.

•Other member states will provide "peer review" of the Budget and can complain of danger of spill- overs into their economies.

•Planned laws will see tighter EU rules on deficits and new ones on public spending growth and debt.

•Government spending will not rise faster than growth in the economy, unless approved by the EU for particular reasons.

•Countries like Ireland, with national debts exceeding 60pc of GDP, will have to reduce it by running budget surpluses to a maximum of 4pc of GDP.

•Brussels will look to wider criteria, such as trade with the rest of the world, before approving national budgets.

•Countries that break the rules will have to lodge large sums with the EU (on which interest will be paid) but the money can be seized as a fine if the overshoot is not corrected.

•Commission decisions can be overturned only by a qualified majority of member states.

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