AMSTERDAM – When the euro was introduced in 1999, European countries agreed that fiscal discipline was essential for its stability. While the common currency has benefited all countries that have adopted it – not least as an anchor in the current economic crisis – the failure of euro-zone members to abide by their agreement risk could yet turn the euro into a disaster.
Indeed, too many members simply behave as if there were no Stability and Growth Pact. The state of Greek public finances, for example, is “a concern for the whole euro zone,” according to European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia. Greece’s fiscal deficit is expected to reach 12.7% of GDP this year, far exceeding the SGP’s 3%-of-GDP cap.