In the FT, Henry Foy reports about critical comments by Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The chair of the Eurogroup has argued that the Euro area needs an independent fiscal oversight body to disperse fears of “politicised” European Commission decisions when it comes to evaluating national budgets.
Naturally, lack of trust in the Commission is widespread. But now it seems to have reached the higher echelons of EU institutions themselves.
In the meantime, Tony Barber writes (also in the FT) that “The eurozone’s fiscally lax nations are at it again”.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Swiss “Debt Brake,” the Study Center Gerzensee organized a conference on fiscal institutions, joint with the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, the Federal Finance Administration and the Universities of Lucerne and St. Gallen. The program can be viewed here (PDF).
A few tidbits: Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (President of the Swiss Confederation) emphasized the importance of “rigor and flexibility” as well as democratic legitimacy for the success of the Swiss debt brake rule.
Against the background of his experience at the Congressional Budget Office, Barry Anderson (National Governors Association) stressed the importance of the personality of the head of an independent fiscal institution: What is needed, in his view, is a low key technician who avoids the limelight.
Guido Tabellini (Bocconi University) argued that a successful budgetary framework needs to be consistent with the political system. Rules on the local level can be stricter and simpler because of transfers on the national level and national enforcement possibilities. Enforcement requires public support and thus, understanding by voters.
Similarly, Joakim Sonnegård (Swedish Fiscal Policy Council) argued in favor of self-enforcing mechanisms and institutionalized memory of bad times.