Dáil Éireann - Volume 590 - 14 October, 2004
Written Answers - Stability and Growth Pact.
Mr. Gilmore Mr. Gilmore
64. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Finance his views on the need for reform of the Stability and Growth Pact; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24649/04]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
 Mr. Cowen: The Stability and Growth Pact is an important framework that underpins sound macroeconomic policies within the EU’s economic and monetary union, and thereby promotes economic growth and job creation. Equally, however, the need for improvements in the workings of the Stability and Growth Pact has been recognised for some considerable time. In response to this need, the European Commission presented a formal communication on 3 September 2004, outlining its proposals for strengthening economic governance and clarifying the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.
The Commission’s proposals are quite wide ranging and detailed, and the process of discussion and debate is in its early stages. However, some of the key proposals accord well with Ireland’s economic priorities. Ireland has long argued, for example, that countries with very low debt levels and with clear investment needs should not be unduly constrained from making the necessary resources available. The Commission proposals represent a welcome move in this direction. I look forward to engaging in a constructive debate with my EU colleagues on this point, and on other proposals for enhancing the Stability and Growth Pact, in the months ahead.
At the informal meeting of the eurogroup and the ECOFIN council on 10 and 11 September 2004, Ministers issued a statement agreeing that the Commission communication provides a good basis for discussion. The statement reiterated that the 3% deficit and 60% debt criteria in the treaty were of paramount importance and that any changes to the pact’s regulations should be minimised, if necessary at all. The statement also emphasised that Ministers are not looking for a watering down of the pact, but rather for a strengthening, clarification and better implementation.
Dáil Éireann 590 Written Answers Stability and Growth Pact.