The European Commission wants to revise the EU budget rules and thus adapt them to the experiences from the Corona crisis.

The EU authority therefore presented a discussion paper on Tuesday.

Above all, it raises the question of how the sharp rise in debts during the Corona crisis can be reduced without affecting growth.

It is also a question of how the necessary investments in climate protection and digitization, totaling 650 billion euros annually by 2030, can be reconciled with the budget discipline provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact.

Hendrik Kafsack

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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Resolving this contradiction is like "squaring the circle", said Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on Tuesday in Strasbourg.

Monetary Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni emphasized that there should be “no taboos” in the discussion.

Excessive debts would have to be tackled, but there must be no return to the austerity course of the euro crisis.

"Changed economic reality"

"We need a healthy and broad-based debate to ensure that the rules reflect the changed economic reality and arm us for the future," write Dombrovskis and Gentiloni in a guest article for the FAZ Debt remained stubbornly high in some countries, budgetary policies remained pro-cyclical, and adjustments were often achieved through cuts in public investment. "

So far, the Maastricht criteria of the Stability Pact stipulate that annual budget deficits do not exceed three percent of economic output and that debts do not exceed 60 percent. For the reform of the EU Stability Pact, there are currently two main options under discussion: to soften the 60 percent criterion in view of an average debt ratio of 92 percent, and to stop investing in the Green Deal, digitization or certain important industries on the Maastricht criteria to be taken into account. France and Italy, for example, are pressing for this.

The Commission has sympathy for both approaches.

However, it does not want to present concrete proposals until 2022, after the end of the consultations on the discussion paper.

The new requirements should come into force in 2023. Then the opening clause with which the Commission suspended the regular budget rules in the Corona crisis will expire.

It is unclear how the future coalition will position itself in Berlin.

The exploratory paper says that the pact has "demonstrated its flexibility".

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