Cernobbio (ANSA) – Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni is optimistic that an agreement on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) can be found by the end of the year. Also, the alternative (certainly not encouraging for Italy) would be a return to the past rules that have already demonstrated their limits. “We must find an agreement by the end of the year on fiscal rules, on the Stability and Growth Pact. I am satisfied that governments are working on the basis of the Commission’s proposal and I am optimistic, if you want out of necessity, that it will be possible to reach an agreement by the end of the year,” said European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni.
A lack of agreement on the Stability and Growth Pact with “a return to the previous situation would highlight the difficulties of the previous rules,” which, “despite having some certainly useful and positive elements, have failed to encourage growth or to reduce debt, so proposing them again would certainly not be ideal,” emphasized Gentiloni. Under the old EU spending rules, public deficits of the member states are not supposed to exceed 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), and debt levels should remain below 60 percent of GDP. According to these rules, states must annually repay 5 percent of the debt exceeding the 60 percent limit.
“We decided to suspend the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact on 17 March 2020, a few days after the beginning of the pandemic, we prolonged this, I would say quite easily, in 2021, with some discussion in 2022, and, with a lot of discussions in 2023, we will not prolong it,” Gentiloni clarified. The Commission’s new proposal, which the 27 member states are discussing, maintains the previous objective of limiting debt, but envisages specific debt-relief plans for each country. Based on some technical simulations from Brussels, the adjustment of the Italian accounts could result in a reduction of the structural deficit by 0.85 percent per year in case of a 4-year plan, and by an average of 0.45 percent in case of a 7-year plan. (2 September).
Controversy in Belgium over asylum, Brussels is worried about security
Brussels (AFP) – On Thursday, the Brussels region asked the Belgian government to reverse its decision to no longer house single men seeking asylum, a measure which it believes risks increasing the number of homeless people and threatens security in the European capital.
In a press release, the regional government drew a link between the asylum crisis in Belgium and the presence of “very large numbers of homeless people” on the streets of the capital, particularly around major railway stations.
“The Brussels government must note that for several years, the health, social and safety situation in a number of districts has been deteriorating as a result of factors over which it has little institutional control,” the press release says, citing “drug trafficking and the crime that goes with it, as well as the presence of large numbers of homeless people, asylum seekers or people without residence permits.”
In particular, affected areas include the districts around the railway stations Gare du Nord and Gare du Midi. (August 31)
Charles Michel insists on setting 2030 as date for EU-Enlargement
Brussels (EFE) – On Thursday, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, reiterated his call to set 2030 as a date for EU-Enlargement.
“Setting a date pushes the EU to prepare and gives the Western Balkans a concrete timetable to deliver on their part. No more excuses on either side,” Michel said in a meeting with media in Brussels, in which he defended his speech last Monday in Slovenia. There, Michel had advocated for an EU-Enlargement to include new states by 2030, a goal from which the European Commission has distanced itself, preferring, like European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, not to set dates.
However, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, supported the idea. “I think it is good to set a political objective, a horizon, to give political impetus to the process. And also for us, because, yes, we have to be prepared for an agreement that could affect ten more members of the European Union,” Borrell told a press conference at the end of the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers held in Toledo (Spain), although he did not give any specific date. (31 August)
This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.