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Home BUSINESS‘Two-pack’ allows EC to check budget plan only: EC
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Tue, 20 Aug, 2013 12:37:43 AM
FTimes-STT Report, August 20

The ‘two-pack’ reform package implemented recently by the European Union Commission will not intervene into the budget allocation of any member state, assured the top authority of the commission.

Speaking at a programme on ‘Impact of Two-Pack reform package and surveillance on national budget’ in Helsinki on Monday, the top officials of the EU commission said that the national budgetary power would not go to Brussels as the reform package empowered the commission only to check some aspects of the budget plan of the member states.
The commission member also termed the pack as only reform, not any rule as the commission has no authority to take the member states to court in case of violation.
According to the ‘two-pack’ reform package, enforced on 30th May 2013, the member states should send the budget plan for the year 2014 to the EU commission for verification before October 15 this year.
Finnish Business Delegation, participated in the discussion.Photo - Lehtikuva.
The Economic Commission member Taneli Lahti said that the member countries have to publish their budget plans by October 15 so that the commission can make its comments by the end of November.
“If the budget plan of any member country seems to be outrageously conflicting to the common rules and provision, the commission has responsibility to ask for a new budget plan from the country,” said Taneli Lahti.  
Pointing out the monitoring role, Taneli Lahti said that the problem would occur only, if the ‘conflicting’ plan is not revised and done wrongly.
“EC has no authority to take the member states to the court. What it can do is taking action in the question of sanctions,” said Taneli Lahti , adding that that the issue would be raised, only if the country seemed to be reluctant to correct the wrong points conflicting to the common agreement.
The speakers at the discussion also said that the debt ratio of Finland already reached close to 60 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the limit of 60 per cent should not be crossed according to the European Central Bank rules.
If the debt crosses to 60 percent of GDP, the country will not get equal treatment by the EU, said the speakers, adding that the problem might be created for Finland, if the debt increases further.
Finance ministry representative participated in the discussion.Photo - Lehtikuva.
Earlier, the EC implemented the reform package, the so-called 'Two-Pack', to increase transparency on their budgetary decisions, stronger coordination in the euro area starting with the 2014 budgetary cycle, and the recognition of the special needs of euro area member states under severe financial pressure.
The enforcement of the Two-Pack also paves the way for further steps to be taken to reinforce the Economic and Monetary Union, as set out by the Commission in its ‘Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine EMU’ published last November.
The Finland government on August 7 prepared a draft of the budget for the year 2014 with a deficit of EUR 6.6 billion.
The Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen, after the preparation of the draft, said that the budget has been drafted without bringing any major change to the budget planning placed in the parliament in March.
The draft proposal of total EUR 53.9 billion would take the debt of the government to EUR 98 billion.
Terming the budget as painful, the minister said that such kind of budget was essential considering the overall economic situation of the country.
“It is important for every Finnish to understand that the time passed will never come back,” Urpilainen said, adding that the country is going through a difficult and painful structural reform.
The coalition government on March 21 announced the budget planning in the parliament for the next fiscal aiming to adjust an amount of EUR 600 million.
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