ECB estimates suggest meeting current challenges will be impossible within fiscal rule space

In the recent issue of the ECB Economic Bulletin (issue 4/2024) there was an article – Longer-term challenges for fiscal policy in the euro area – which demonstrates why the common currency and its bevy of fiscal rules and restrictions is incapable of meeting the challenges that humanity and the natural world face in the coming years. The ECB article is very interesting because it pretty clearly articulates the important challenges facing the Member States and provides some rough estimates of what the fiscal implications will be if governments are to move quickly to deal with the threats posed. However, it is clear from the analysis and my own calculations that significant austerity will be required in areas of expenditure not related to these challenges. Given the current political environment in Europe, it is hard to see how such austerity can be imposed and maintained in areas that impact the daily lives of families. What is demonstrated is that the architecture of the EMU is ill-equipped to deal with the problems that Member States now face. The common currency and fiscal rules were never a good idea. But as the challenges mount it is obvious that Europe will have to change its monetary system approach in order to survive.

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