Free Trial

MNI EXCLUSIVE: EU May Mull Debt Brake Suspension: Source

(MNI) London
By David Thomas and Silvia Marchetti
     BRUSSELS/ROME (MNI) - The European Union could consider temporarily
suspending debt brakes built into its Stability and Growth Pact as member states
cope with the coronavirus, a source familiar with talks within the Eurogroup of
finance ministers told MNI, although adding that some countries may resist such
a move.
     "Let's see what the EG conference call brings. I would not exclude an SGP
suspension if things continue deteriorating, but I'm not sure if some countries
will want to go that far already now," the source said, speaking ahead of a
Eurogroup teleconference set for Wednesday.
     Another European Union official was cautious.
     "Maybe they will say that they stand ready to coordinate and act," the
official said, "We should not mix up the real needs of the economy with what the
markets want."
     In Italy, which has been hardest hit by the virus in Europe, officials told
MNI separately that Rome would push for a significant European fiscal stimulus,
with higher spending and lower taxes. Italy would favour the suspension of one
or more elements of the SGP and the EU's Fiscal Compact, with more time
potentially granted for convergence and more leeway on deficits, government
sources said.
     Italian Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri on Sunday announced EUR3.6
billion in emergency aid to sectors affected by the epidemic. Officials said the
Italian government wanted a bigger response to come as part of an EU-wide fiscal
     "EUR3.6 billion now in extra deficit spending is reasonable if the virus
crisis gives us the opportunity to re-discuss EU fiscal rules for everyone. It
won't be just Italy affected if we head towards a recession," said a source at
Gualtieri's left-of-centre Democratic Party.
     The Democrats' coalition partners, the 5-Star Movement, want Italy to allow
its budget deficit to rise to 3.1% of gross domestic product, more than the
SGP's 3% maximum and up from the 2.2% currently pacted. The opposition League
has called for an additional EUR20 billion in deficit spending.
     Italy also wants the EU to consider its dependence on global supply chains,
Italian officials told MNI.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2223; email:
[TOPICS: MFIBU$,M$E$$$,M$I$$$,M$X$$$,MC$$$$,MT$$$$,MX$$$$,M$$EC$,MFX$$$,MGX$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-586-2223 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-586-2223 |

To read the full story



MNI is the leading provider

of intelligence and analysis on the Global Fixed Income, Foreign Exchange and Energy markets. We use an innovative combination of real-time analysis, deep fundamental research and journalism to provide unique and actionable insights for traders and investors. Our "All signal, no noise" approach drives an intelligence service that is succinct and timely, which is highly regarded by our time constrained client base.

Our Head Office is in London with offices in Chicago, Washington and Beijing, as well as an on the ground presence in other major financial centres across the world.