This paper, by Jacek Rostowski, has been prepared for the international conference entitled “Europe after the enlargement”, to be hosted by the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in Warsaw on 8-9 April.
The arguments for fiscal as well as monetary rules in a monetary union aiming at low inflation, the main weaknesses in the Stability and Growth Pact, and proposals for its reform are reviewed. Our own proposal for reforming the SGP is put forward: a requirement for eurozone Member States to enact entrenched legislation which would forbid budgets that led to public debt exceeding a certain proportion of GDP. Countries which failed to enact such provisions or which rescinded them could not remain in the eurozone. This would solve the key “enforcibility problem” that the SGP faces, without centralizing fiscal power in the European Commission. However, effective reform proposals are unlikely to be politically acceptable, and the SGP is likely to continue to be a dead letter. This suggests that the EMU was implemented prematurely.