Brussels promises “maximum flexibility” to states

The European Commission proposes that spending related to the virus be excluded from the calculation of excessive deficits.

Through Leonor Hubaut

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (center) and Vice-Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovski presented the European Union’s economic response to the Covid-19 crisis on Friday in Brussels.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (center) and Vice-Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovski presented the European Union’s economic response to the Covid-19 crisis on Friday in Brussels. JOHN THYS / AFP

Spend as much as you like. This is not a message that we often hear in Brussels, whose reprimands are especially withheld from over-spending governments. But facing the coronavirus, the European Commission is ready to drop ballast and promises a “maximum flexibility “ in applying the deficit and state aid rules. “Member States should be encouraged to take all necessary measuresUrges Ursula von der Leyen.

The idea of ​​giving flexibility had been around for several days, but Thursday’s market shock and the prospect of a recession seem to have dispelled any hesitation. To the point of erasing the rigor of the Stability and Growth Pact, and allowing slippages in public deficits beyond the limit of 3% of GDP. The Commission proposes that all expenditure taken to combat the coronavirus be excluded from the calculation of excessive deficits. This possibility, provided for in the treaties in the event of “event

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