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Mr. Nathaniel G Arnold, Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, Mr. Hamid R Davoodi, Andresa Lagerborg, Mr. Waikei R Lam, Mr. Paulo A Medas, Ms. Julia Otten, Louise Rabier, Christiane Roehler, Asghar Shahmoradi, Mariano Spector, Mr. Sebastian Weber, and Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer
The EU’s fiscal framework needs reform. While existing fiscal rules have had some impact in constraining deficits, they did not prevent deficits and debt ratios that have threatened the stability of the monetary union in the past and that continue to create vulnerabilities today. The framework also has a poor track record at managing trade-offs between containing fiscal risks and stabilizing output. Finally, the framework does not provide sufficient tools for EU-wide stabilization. This was most visible during the decade following the euro area sovereign debt crisis, when structurally low real interest rates stretched the policy tools of the European Central Bank (ECB), leading to a persistent undershooting of its inflation target. This paper proposes a new framework based on risk-based EU-level fiscal rules, strengthened national institutions, and a central fiscal capacity. First, risk-based EU-level fiscal rules would link the speed and ambition of fiscal consolidation to the level and horizon of fiscal risks, as identified by debt sustainability analysis (DSA) using a common methodology developed by a new and independent European Fiscal Council (EFC). The 3 percent deficit and 60 percent debt reference values would remain. Second, all member countries would be required to enact medium-term fiscal frameworks consistent with the EU-level rules—that is, to ensure convergence over the medium-term to an overall fiscal balance anchor by setting expenditure ceilings. Independent national fiscal councils (NFCs) would have a much stronger role to strengthen checks and balances at the national level (including undertaking or endorsing macroeconomic projections and performing DSAs to assess fiscal risks). The European Commission (EC) would continue to play its key surveil¬lance role as articulated in the Maastricht Treaty and the EFC would be the center of a peer network of fiscal councils. Third, building on the recent experience with the NextGenerationEU (NGEU), an EU fiscal capacity (FCEU) would improve euro area macroeconomic stabilization and allow the provision of common EU public goods—a task that has become more urgent given the green transition and common security concerns. Central to the proposal is a mutually reinforcing relationship between EU rules and national-level imple¬mentation. Strengthening implementation requires both better national ownership of the rules and their application and greater congruence of national-level frameworks with EU-level rules. The former can only be achieved by rules that convincingly balance the needs of members with the avoidance of negative externali¬ties across members. This argues for a risk-based approach—the first pillar of our proposal. The latter requires a stronger role for significantly upgraded national level frameworks—the second pillar of our proposal.
Khalid ElFayoumi, Ms. Izabela Karpowicz, Ms. Jenny Lee, Ms. Marina Marinkov, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Jorge Salas, Andreas Tudyka, and Ms. Andrea Schaechter
Many European economies have faced pressure from rental housing affordability that has widened social and economic divergence. While significant country and regional differences exist, this departmental paper finds that in many advanced European economies a large and rising share of low-income renters, the young, and those living in cities is overburdened. In several locations, middle-income groups also increasingly face rental affordability issues.
Elizabeth Gavin
This note outlines the interest of Revenue Administrations (RAs) and National Statistical Offices (NSOs) in the quality of data at their disposal, and how collaboration between these organizations can contribute to improving data quality. The similarities between the data collection and processing steps in revenue administration and in the production of economic statistics underlie meaningful information and data sharing. Mutually beneficial collaboration between RAs and NSOs can be achieved, particularly in efforts to improve the coverage of registers and to update register information; classify economic activity; and analyze joint data to address data shortcomings. Since there are differences in concepts and definitions used in revenue administration and official statistics, dialogue is necessary to ensure the effective use of data from the partner organization. Collaboration can improve the quality of data available to both institutions: for RAs, this can assist in realizing improved taxpayer compliance and revenue mobilization, and for NSOs, tax-administrative data sources may enable expanded coverage of the economy in official statistics and reduce timeframes required for publishing economic time series and national accounts. Together, these outcomes can enhance the policy formulation, planning, and service delivery capability of governments. To that end, this note delineates concrete steps to engender sustainable and meaningful interchange of information and data between the RA and NSO.