European Union: Brussels: No agreement on debt rules

European Union: Brussels: No agreement on debt rules

Dealing with debt is not only a controversial topic for the German government – there is also still no consensus at the EU level. But an agreement before the end of the year is possible.

The EU countries’ struggle to reform common debt rules continues even after hours of nightly negotiations. We are almost there, said Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calviño in Brussels. “Yesterday evening it was not possible to complete all the consultations (…), but we hope to be able to complete them in the next few days.” If necessary, there should be an unscheduled meeting of finance ministers – probably before Christmas – so that a political agreement can be reached before the end of the year. Spain currently holds the EU Council Presidency.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner said they had discussed intensively. Technical work and legal examinations now need to be carried out. “On the basis of this, we will talk to each other again in the foreseeable future and take the next steps towards an agreement.”

Contrasting demands from France

The negotiations between the EU states are based on a proposal from the European Commission, which instead of providing uniform guidelines for debt reduction, provides individual paths for each country. The proposals are controversial in the capitals. For example, Germany and France, the EU’s largest economies, entered the negotiations with very different positions. Berlin insisted on uniform guidelines for debt and deficit reduction for highly indebted countries – a demand that Paris rejected for a long time.

Both sides said that the meeting brought them closer together. If there was a total of 90 percent agreement before the meeting, it is now at 92 percent, said Lindner. His French counterpart Bruno Le Maire said there was now 95 percent agreement.

Source: Stern

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