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European Commission grants 'rule-breakers' three months to organise finances

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By Euronews
European Commission grants 'rule-breakers' three months to organise finances

<p>France, Italy and Belgium have been given three months leeway to organise their finances. </p> <p>As expected, the <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2014/11/27/european-commission-has-abdicated-its-role-as-financial-watchdog/">European Commission will wait until spring 2015</a> to announce whether or not their governments’ budgets are acceptable. </p> <p>France’s deficit currently exceeds the agreed limit, while Belgium and Italy are weighed down by debt.</p> <p>Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs spoke about the delayed decision:</p> <p>“Let me make one thing clear: the remaining time we have must not be wasted. Between now and March, things need to move forward. And let me be very clear: the Commission won’t hesitate to act accordingly”, he said.</p> <p>Whether or not this means the EC will impose penalties on the offending governments is unclear. </p> <p>Brussels has chosen, for the time being, to have faith in the ability of the three countries to bring their finances in line with the regulations. </p> <p>All three countries are being urged to conduct major reforms. </p> <p>However, some have criticised the Commission for taking what is perceived as a lenient stance towards rule-breakers.</p> <p>Germany is reportedly against the use of sanctions, fearing a breakdown in relations with close ally France.</p> <p>The verdict is due in March, leaving very little time for France, in particular, to sufficiently reduce its deficit. In theory, Paris faces being slapped with a fine of more than four billion euros.</p> <p>Valdis Dombrovski, EU Commission Vice-President for the Euro, hinted that it was too early to make a decision:</p> <p>“We are going to base our decisions on actual data, which we will see in next spring, and not on forecasts and estimates”, he said.</p> <p>But, our correspondent Rudolf Herbert feels nothing is going to change:</p> <p>“The Commission didn’t say what will happen to the debt sinners if their budgets are not regulated – and the deficit reduced – by March or April. </p> <p>“But we can assume that Brussels will not impose penalties. </p> <p>“The question remains, then: who will benefit from the stability and growth when for many years rule-breaking has been the norm?”</p>