¿Se puede reformar el Pacto de Estabilidad?

La Comisión Europea propuso recientemente cambios importantes en la aplicación del Pacto de Estabilidad y Crecimiento (PEC). Ahora la Comisión y el ECOFIN (Consejo de Ministros de Economía y Hacienda de la zona del euro) están examinando las propuestas, además de otras presentadas por los Estados miembros. Se espera que se adopte una decisión durante la primera mitad de 2005, pero sigue sin saberse con claridad cómo se revisará el Pacto.

La necesidad de reforma es evidente: como en los últimos años el 75-80 por ciento de los déficit presupuestarios agregados en la zona del euro se deben a factores estructurales, desde 2002 se ha rebasado repetidas veces el límite máximo del 3 por ciento del PIB en los déficit presupuestarios nacionales, establecido por el Pacto. Estados miembros pequeños -en particular, Finlandia e Irlanda (además de España)- y los dos países que no forman parte de la zona del euro -Dinamarca y Suecia- han cumplido con el principio del equilibrio fiscal o han tenido pequeños superávit, si bien éstos se están reduciendo. En cambio, los miembros grandes de la Unión Europea, incluidos el Reino Unido, Francia y Alemania, no han podido -o no han querido- respetar las normas.

De hecho, en noviembre de 2003 Francia y Alemania se libraron por poco de las sanciones financieras por sus incumplimientos del Pacto. Aunque después el Tribunal Europeo de Justicia declaró inválida esa decisión, sigue habiendo un punto muerto. De modo que o la actuación fiscal o las normas del Pacto deben cambiar.

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