The European Union (EU) has agreed on new rules for budget deficits and national debt levels. These rules will be tailored to the individual situation of each EU country, taking into account the current economic climate. Additionally, clear minimum requirements for reducing debt ratios among highly indebted countries will be put in place.
The EU currently has a rule that states that a member state’s debt level must not exceed 60 percent of its economic output. The general government financing deficit must also be kept to a minimum of three percent of the respective gross domestic product (GDP). However, these requirements have been suspended due to the Corona crisis and the Russian attack on Ukraine. If a state violates the three percent deficit limit, they will face an annual fine of at least 0.5 percent of GDP.
The agreement was based on proposals from the EU Commission and has been welcomed by some as necessary steps towards strengthening fiscal discipline within the EU. However, critics argue that these reforms weaken the so-called Stability Pact and could lead to further financial instability in certain countries. The reforms will need to be confirmed by both the EU Council of Ministers and the plenary session of the European Parliament before becoming official. This is typically a formality process.