Tag Archives: Functioning of the European Union

National Fiscal Flexibility: EU Parliament Plans A Big Step Backwards

By John Weeks. He is an economist and Professor Emeritus at SOAS, University of London. John received his PhD in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1969. He is author of a new book entitled ‘Economics of the 1%: How mainstream economics serves the rich, obscures reality and distorts policy’ (Anthem).

I and many others have argued that the basic EU treaties have flexibility to accommodate most social democratic policies such as those in the 2017 Manifesto of the UK Labour Party. Our argument may soon suffer a decisive blow from the EU parliament.

In March 2012 twenty-five EU national governments signed the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG), the “fiscal pact”. By signing national governments “contracted” (the treaty term) to obey its detailed fiscal rules. The TSCG did not achieve unanimous approval, thus could not become part of the de facto EU constitution; i.e., contrary to the intention of the fiscally reactionary governments, it was not incorporated into the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

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