Ecofin talks

Borg Questions Ecofin Measures

Finance ministers from across the European Union gathered in Brussels on Tuesday to continue discussions as to how to deal with the staggering deficits plaguing a number of euro zone countries. Yet Finance Minister Anders Borg is critical of the newest suggestion coming out of the European Commission: that troubled countries bring deficits to three percent of their GDP by 2013.

Reuters reports that Borg called the goal “not very ambitious,” calling for more stringent deficit limits. “We need to strengthen our consolidation measures in the short term.”

Yet the sixteen countries that use the euro—not including Sweden—are afraid that the type of strict spending limits that Borg is calling for may stymie economic growth.

Earlier last week, Borg criticized a European Commission proposal that would require that EU countries’ national budgets be checked by the Commission before they are presented to the national parliaments.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg prime minister and chairman of the Ecofin talks, sought to diffuse such criticism on Monday night.

The goal is not for the EU Commission to meddle in individual countries’ financial affairs, Juncker said, but rather to “have a discussion about the broad outlines” of the national budgets.