The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) intends to increase fiscal prudence among the members of the European Monetary Union. This may be useful on grounds of political economy if national decision-making leads to inefficiently high public deficits. However, the SGP in its present form is not sufficiently stringent to prevent excessive deficits. Even worse, it is shown that its relevance is constantly eroded. To save the SGP sanctions have to be imposed if the nominal deficit criterion is violated. Relying on structurally adjusted deficits would make the SGP less transparent and reduce pressure on national governments to balance their budgets even further.
European Monetary Union Stability and Growth Pact Public Deficits