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European Commission has 'abdicated its role' as financial watchdog

brussels bureau

European Commission has 'abdicated its role' as financial watchdog


On November 28, the European Commission will present its analysis of the financial laws of the Eurozone countries. Italy, France and Belgium have all been threatened with infringement action.

But for some the Commission is taking too weak a stance against countries who are breaking EU rules.

“The Commission has practically abdicated its role as a watchdog. It has accepted almost everything the member states have presented”, said Daniel Gros, Director of the Centre for European Policy Studies.

Paris has asked for an extra two years to bring the budget deficit to below three percent.

The Commission will not take any decisions until early March, but the country could then face a multi-billion euro fine.

However, Gros believes the EC will be lenient on the French government.
“France will get probably get all the time it wants to have because the French president has one very simple argument: ‘If you don’t give me time with my budget then the Front National will win the next elections and you certainly don’t want that to happen!’”

Italy and Belgium may be be put on a disciplinary programme following the EC’s verdict in March. Both countries are weighed down by debt and are struggling with serious problems of growth.

“There will be no big changes in the fiscal stance because the countries are all going a little bit beyond what is permitted and the Commission allows them to do that”, Gros anticipated.

The union is reportedly also keeping a close eye on Spain, Portugal, Austria and Malta. All four countries risk violating the stability pact.

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brussels bureau