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Spain and Portugal: Symbolic sanctions for breaking deficit targets needed

Reacting to today’s European Commission decision to propose to Member States not to sanction Spain and Portugal for persistently breaching the deficit targets under the Stability and Growth Pact, the rules to co-ordinate fiscal policies in the EU, MEP Sylvie Goulard, ALDE spokesperson for economic affairs, said:

„Liberal and Democrat MEPs have always wanted the rules to apply to everyone equally. When we reformed the Stability and Growth Pact in 2011, we deliberately entrusted the Commission,as guardian of the Treaty, with greater powers to prevent excessive public spending and to avoid the horse-trading among EU Finance Ministers that opened the gates for the crisis we are still experiencing”.

„The Commission decision not to propose sanctions for Spain and Portugal out of fear of increasing euroscepticism in these countries does not take into account the fact that the decision will fuel euroscepticism in countries which follow the rules. We would have preferred a decision that had recommended a small but symbolic fine,sending a clear political message to governments that fiscal rules need to be taken seriously. Sound public finances are in the interest of the long term stability of the euro to deliver growth and jobs for our citizens and to avoid putting an excessive debt burden on future generations.

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