Close-To-Balance Or in Surplus': A Policy-Maker's Guide to the Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact
Title: Close-To-Balance Or in Surplus': A Policy-Maker's Guide to the Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact
Citation: Journal of Common Market Studies, 2000, 38, 4, 563-592
Under the Stability and Growth Pact, countries are committed to achieve medium-term budget positions of 'close-to-balance or in surplus'. The rationale for this commitment is that such budgetary positions would allow for the full working of the built-in stabilizers without triggering the sanctions procedures of the Pact. This article sets out to show how quantifications of the medium-term (structural) requirement can accommodate the desired aim and suggests how fiscal measurement and forecasting errors as well as the budgetary effects of ageing may be allowed for. All in all, broadly balanced budgets in the medium term appear to be 'roughly right' for most euro-zone countries. Of course, as the cyclical behaviour of the euro-zone economy adapts to the new EMU environment, the medium-term targets will need to be addressed again.
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