The Stability and Growth Pact from the perspective of the new member states
The purpose of this paper is to examine the fiscal characteristics of the new members in the light of the requirements of the SGP and the criticisms levelled against the Pact and to see in what ways their initial conditions differ from those faced by the current euro zone countries in the run-up to the adoption of the euro. Overall, because of the lower debt levels and greater yield convergence already achieved, the new members will be able to rely less on gains from yield convergence than the current euro zone members were able to do. EU accession will also have a negative net impact on the budgets of the new members in the early years of membership. We also look at the cyclical sensitivities of the budgets and find that in the new members the smoothing capacity of the automatic stabilizers might be weaker than in the current euro zone members. Beyond these general characteristics, we also emphasize that there are large differences in the starting fiscal positions of the new members. Some of the policy implications of our findings are discussed.
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