Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, a member of the EU Parliament’s Economics Committee has challenged the influential European Fiscal Board (EFB) to include the option of “less Europe” whilst considering reform of the fiscal rules.
Speaking after an exchange in the Parliament today with the EFB, whose mandate includes making ‘suggestions for the future evolution of the Union fiscal framework’ MEP MacManus said:
“I welcome the European Fiscal Board joining the call for changes to the Fiscal Rules and its assertion that such changes should go beyond the superficial. They have focussed in on the ‘Debt Rule’ and rightly pointed out that any return to this rule, given how Covid19 has impacted the economy, would mean that “‘a one-size-fits-all’ prescription for debt reduction may no longer be tenable”. In other words reintroducing the old fiscal rules would lead to unprecedented austerity.”
“Today I challenged the Board and the EU more generally to put the option of ‘less Europe’ on the table. The fiscal rules were thrown overboard as soon as the extent of the Covid recession became known. Insisting on additional, deeper fiscal rules should not be the only option.
“Indeed, Sinn Féin believe it should be the very last option considered. The EU says it must not repeat the mistakes of the past. If they are serious, they must consider that strict, ‘one size fits all’ rules that can prevent investment and borrowing for investment might be part of the problem, not the solution.
“I am glad this debate is taking place but it must not be a narrow, Brussels-only debate with Brussels-only solutions on the table. Anything from replacing the rules with an Employment and Sustainable Development Pact to repealing the Stability and Growth Pact are all valid options and must be considered if the EU is not going to talk itself into a cycle of ever deeper rules that do not work for the people of Europe.”