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Basic Redress or Incremental Adjustment? On Recent Debates about the Reform of the Stability and Growth Pact

Waltraud Schelkle

In a substantive paper, Buti et al. (2003) discuss various criticisms of the European Stability and Growth Pact and propose a number of amendments. The bottom line of their review is that reform requires internal adjustment only, keeping the norm of relying on rule-based fiscal consolidation and automatic stabilisation. By contrast, I argue that their proposals imply not merely internal adjustment but a basic redress of the Pact's thrust. If implemented they would turn the existing disciplinarian device confined to national budget consolidation into an insurance arrangement for collective stabilisation. This insurance perspective suggests to go further down that route to make coordination sustainable.

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