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The EU Commission today relaunched its consultation on the future of the EU's fiscal rules, setting out a list of 11 questions, which will frame discussions among finance ministers and leaders over the coming months. An EU official said that the aim was to build a "strong consensus" on reforms "well ahead" of 2023, when the current escape clause from the Stability and Growth Pact is set to expire.

The latest communication avoids making actual proposals in recognition of the large differences that exist between member states and even within the Commission itself on striking the right balance between encouraging growth and reducing debt. The Commission said it would also aim to give states fiscal policy guidance for 2023 in the first quarter of next year, with proposals for actual reform of the fiscal rules possibly coming in mid-2022.

The official said that the approach was a balanced and pragmatic one, saying Brussels wasn't looking to "kill off growth, but we want to make sure that debt is sustainable".