News & Comments

We welcome short entries about relevant European or national developments for this News and Comments section. You are invited to use the contact form for this or to directly contact Thomas Beukers ( or Viorica Vita (

16 November 2015: Commission presents opinions on draft budgetary plans

November 16, 2015

The Commission has published its opinions on the national draft budgetary plans. All eurozone member states apart from Portugal (elections), Greece and Cyprus (both subject to a macroeconomic adjustment programme) had presented their draft budgetary plans in accordance with Regulation No 473/2013 (two-pack). The Commission urges Portugal to submit a draft budgetary plan as soon […]

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The Proposal on Unified Eurozone External Representation is no Panacea – by Chris Koedooder (UvA)

May 29, 2016

Chris Koedooder is a PhD Researcher at the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG), University of Amsterdam.   Late last year, the European Commission finally unveiled its proposal for a Council decision on unified representation of the Eurozone in the IMF. The proposal had been a long time in the making. It followed […]

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24 March: European Commission reacts to Greek letter on social Europe

March 24, 2017

Commission President Juncker issued a statement reacting to a letter Greek Prime Minister Tsipras on the occassion of the Social Summit. Read the reaction here.

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26 October 2015: Technical cooperation plan agreed between Commission and Greece

October 27, 2015

The European Commission and the Greek authorities have presented their plan for technical cooperation in support of structural reforms. The plan defines the general context of the cooperation, the guiding principles governing the technical cooperation, the areas to be covered by the technical support, specific principles regarding working methods, principles related to the envisaged financing of technical support, and […]

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7 July: Commission recommends Council decision establishing no effective action by Spain and Portugal

July 7, 2016

The European Commission has adopted two recommendations to the Council establishing that both Spain and Portugal have failed to take effective action in light of their respective Council recommendations of 21 June 2013. Should the Council take over the recommendation of July 7, the Commission will have to propose what consequences it should have in […]

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The Commission’s report on the Fiscal Compact and its expected (cautious) assessment – by Diane Fromage and Paul Dermine

May 12, 2017

Diane Fromage is an Assistant Professor at Maastricht University Faculty of Law, and co-author of the Report on France on this website; Paul Dermine is a PhD researcher at Maastricht University Faculty of Law. (This comment first appeared on eufinacco, Last February, the European Commission issued its report on the Member States’ compliance with […]

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21 October 2015: Commission presents concrete steps for EMU short term development

October 21, 2015

In a follow up to the Five President's Report of June 2015, the European Commission has today presented several new initiatives for the short term development of EMU, regarding such issues as external representation of the euro area at the IMF, a further streamlining of the European Semester, and improvement of the tools of economic […]

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18 July: Spain and Portugal try to avoid SGP fines

July 18, 2016

Both countries have submitted to the Commission their arguments for only imposing symbolic sanctions, after the Council had decided on12 July thar Spain and Portugal had failed to take effective action on the Council recommendations of June 2013. According to the SGP rules, both countries had a week to convince the Commission not to impose a […]

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31 May: Commission publishes reflection paper on the future of EMU

May 31, 2017

Read the reflection paper proposing options for future development here.

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12 October 2015: Commission invites Spain to submit a new Draft Budgetary Plan

October 13, 2015

As part of the so-called two-pack obligations, Member States of the euro area are required to submit annually to the Commission and to the Eurogroup a Draft Budgetary Plan presenting by 15 October the main aspects of the budgetary situation of the general government and its subsectors for the forthcoming year. Because of the general […]

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27 July: no fines for Spain and Portugal

July 28, 2016

The European Commission, making use of discretionary powers it has under the Six Pack of economic governance legislation, recommends not to impose fines (technically: to impose fines of zero euro) on Spain and Portugal because of the fiscal efforts both countries have made (although not meeting the targets) and the social challenges they are facing. The […]

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22 May: Commission presents European Semester Country Specific Recommendations

May 22, 2017

The European Commission on 22 May presented its recommendations for Country Specific Council Recommendations as part of the European Semester.

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Spain, Latvia and Finland present draft budgetary plans to European Commission

October 3, 2015

These three member states have presented their draft annual budgetary plans well before the deadline of 15 October set by the European governance legal framework (article 6(1) Regulation (EU) 473/2013).

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3 October: structured dialogue between Commission and EP on suspending funds for Spain and Portugal

October 3, 2016

Following the Council decision of 12 July 2016 that both Spain and Portugal had under the excessive deficit procedure failed to take effective action in response to Council recommendations under article 126(8) TFEU, on 3 October a structured dialogue took place between the Commission and EP on one of the consequences of this decision, namely suspension […]

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15 October 2015: euro area member states present draft budgetary plans

October 18, 2015

All euro area member states except for Greece and Cyprus (currently subject to a macroeconomic adjustment programme) have submitted their annual draft budgetary plans in accordance with article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) No. 473/2013. The Commission now has to adopt an opinion on the draft budgetary plans as soon as possible and in any event […]

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25 October: Commission asks clarification on euro area member state budgetary plans

October 25, 2016

The European Commission has asked several euro area member states for clarification on their draft budgetary plans for 2017, relating to issues such as reassurances on the behaviour of incoming governments, clarification on demands for flexibility, compliance risks with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). All member states apart from Greece presented their plans in accordance with article 6(1) […]

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16 January 2015: European Commission issues guidance on how it will apply the SGP to foster reform and investment

January 16, 2015

On 13 January 2015 the European Commission has presented guidance on how it plans to apply the existing Stability and Growth Pact rules to strengthen the link between structural reforms, investment and fiscal responsibility in support of jobs and growth. See the press release at:

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16 November: Commission finds risk of non-compliance with SGP in several 2017 draft budgets

November 16, 2016

In its assessment of the draft budgetary plans of the euro area Member States (non taking into account Greece which is not subject to the same procedure because of its financial assistance programme), the European Commission has found no cases of serious non-compliance with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). However, in […]

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Europeanizing the Eurozone – by Tomas Dumbrovsky

July 31, 2015

Tomas Dumbrovsky (J.S.D. Candidate at the Yale Law School, Assistant Professor at Charles University in Prague and author of the Reports on the Czech Republic and Slovakia) (This comment first appeared on I-CONnect: The way the Greek debt crisis was handled in the last weeks has been a public relations nightmare. The more or […]

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16 November: Commission invites countries with fiscal scope to invest

November 16, 2016

In the words of the European Commission: "From an economic perspective, the overall euro area stance should be differentiated depending on the situations of countries in terms of sustainability and stabilisation. A number of Member States in the south-east of the fiscal map still have significant consolidation needs.The south-west quadrate shows Member States, which have […]

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15 January: ECOFIN Council adopts conclusions on Annual Growth Strategy and Alert Mechanism Report

January 16, 2016

In its Conclusions on the Annual Growth Strategy, the Council agreed "on the broad policy priority outlined by the Commission on which national and EU level effrots should concentrate in 2016: Relaunching investment, pursuing structural reforms to modernise our economies, and responsible public finance". In its  Conclusions on the Alter Mechanism Report 2016, the Council […]

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17 January: Commission adopts updated opinion on Spanish and Lithuanian budgets

January 17, 2017

The Commission conclused that Spain, which is currently in the corrective arm, is broadly compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact in 2017; Lithuania, which is in the preventive arm, instead is deemed at risk of non-compliance pending the assessment of requested flexibility. Read the press release here.

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5 February: Commission presents opinion on Portuguese draft budgetary plans

February 5, 2016

On 5 February the European Commission has presented its opinion on the Portuguese draft budgetary plans for 2016, calling for extra measures, but not requiring Portugal to submit a new draft. Portugal, due to general elections in October 2015, had failed to comply with the obligation to submit its plans by 15 October (Regulation 473/2013), […]

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13 february: European Commission publishes winter forecast 2017

February 13, 2017

In its 2017 winter forecast, which is at the basis of its economic policy decisions in the European economic governance framework, the European Commission concludes that the European economic recovery is expected to continue this year and next: for the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all EU Member States are expected […]

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11 February: Eurogroup supports Commission view on Portuguese budget

February 11, 2016

In a statement following its 11 February meeting, the Eurogroup supports the Commission's view on the Portuguese draft budgetary plans for 2016. The full statement by the Eurogroup reads: "Today, the Eurogroup discussed the Draft Budgetary Plan (DBP) of Portugal, submitted on 22 January, on the basis of the Commission's Opinion, which was published on […]

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17 January: High Level Group on Own Resources publishes final report

January 17, 2017

The High Level Group on Own Resources, led by former Commissioner and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, and established in February 2014 to reflect on finding more transparent, simple, fair and democratically accountable ways to finance the EU, published its final report with suggestions on the future financing of the EU. Among the many recommendations […]

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26 November 2015: Commission presents proposal on the Structural Reform Support Programme

November 27, 2015

The European Commission has presented a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the establishment of the Structural Reform Support Programme for the period 2017-2020. Member States may benefit from support in addressing challenges as regards the design and implementation of institutional, structural and administrative reforms. The intention is to […]

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4 February: Statement on Third Post-Programme Surveillance mission to Portugal

February 4, 2016

Staff from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank (ECB), visited Portugal from 25 January to 2 February to conduct the third post-programme surveillance (PPS) mission. On 4 February the institutions issued a joint statement: "Economic and financial conditions in Portugal have remained broadly stable since the conclusion of the second post-programme […]

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22 February: European Commission presents report on Fiscal Compact implementation

February 22, 2017

Today, the European Commission has presented its report on the compliance by the relevant parties to the Treaty on the Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (the TSCG) with their obligation to implement the Balance Budget Rule in their national legal orders. The TSCG in article 8(1) invites the Commission to present this report assessing the compliance […]

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26 November 2015: Commission launches 2016 European Semester

November 27, 2015

The European Commission has launched the annual economic governance cycle of 2016 presenting the Annual Growth Survey. The Commission recommends building on the three main pillars for the EU's economic and social policy: re-launching investment, pursuing structural reforms, and responsible fiscal policies. The package presented reflects the new approach to the European Semester set out […]

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26 February: Commission publishes in-depth reviews in Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure

February 26, 2016

In its 2016 in-depth review, the Commission considered that 12 Member States are deemed to experience imbalances (out of the 18 countries identified for an in-depth review (IDR) in the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR) of 26 November 2015). Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy and Portugal remain in the excessive imbalances category without triggering the Excessive Imbalances […]

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22 February: European Commission warns Romania on excessive deficit

February 22, 2017

Today, the European Commission sent a letter to the Romanian Minister of Finance identifying a clear risk of non-compliance with the deficit criterion.

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26 November 2015: Commission kick starts Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure

November 26, 2015

The Commission has presented its Alert Mechanism Report 2016, the annual starting point of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure. Based on a scoreboard of indicators, the Alert Mechanism Report identifies countries for which a closer analysis (in-depth review) is deemed necessary. The outcome of these in-depth reviews forms the basis for further steps under the Macroeconomic […]

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19 April: European Court of Auditors critical of excessive deficit procedure implementation

April 19, 2016

In a report published on 19 April 2016, the European Court of Auditors is critical of the way the European Commission implements the excessive deficit procedure, and argues that the application lacks consistency and transparency and that the Commission does not adequately record its underlying assumptions or share its surveillance findings for the greater benefit […]

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7 April: ECOFIN discusses non-performing loans

April 7, 2017

Today's ECOFIN meeting discussed the future of EMU as well as the issue of non-performing loans. Read the press statement by Commission Vice President Dombrovskis here.

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24 November 2015: Commission proposes deposit insurance scheme for euro area

November 24, 2015

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation establishment a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) based on article 114 TFEU. The would be mandatory for euro area Member States and open to non-euro area Member States willing to join the banking union. See also the Commission's press release and these factsheets prepared by […]

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13 April: Fifth post-programme surveillance visit to Spain

April 18, 2016

A team from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank (ECB), carried out the fifth post-programme surveillance visit to Spain on 11-13 April 2016. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) participated in the meetings on aspects relating to its early warning system. The mission was limited in scope, and mainly focused […]

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4 April: European Commission discusses future of EMU

April 4, 2017

The college of European Commissioners in a seminar today discussed the reflection papers on the social dimension of Europe and on completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), following up on the White Paper on the Future of Europe the Commission presented on 1 March, and which marked the beginning of a process for the EU27 […]

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17 November 2015: Commission will allow budget flexibility for France after Paris attacks

November 17, 2015

After French Prime Minister Valls announced that increased security spending will prevent France from respecting its EU budget deficit target, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Moscovici commented that "The security of citizens is the absolute priority, and the commission will show full understanding." See for further reporting Reuters, EUObserver and The Guardian.

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18 May: Commission proposes to give Spain and Portugal more time to correct deficit

May 18, 2016

In its 2016 European Semester Country Specific Recommendations on 18 May 2016, the European Commission has proposed to give both Spain and Portugal an extra year to correct its excessive deficit under the excessive deficit procedure: "As regards Portugal and Spain, the Commission recommends to the Council to recommend a durable correction of the excessive […]

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