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Fiscal Policy in New EU Member States: Go East, Prudent Man!

  • Ondrej Schneider
  • Jan Zapal

The European Union accepted 10 new member states (NMS) in 2004, eight of which were former socialist countries. New members have had to adjust their economic policies to EU standards. Perhaps most difficult has been fiscal policy, where NMS must comply with the Stability and Growth Pact rules. Indeed, four of the eight post-communist NMS breached the SGP limits and were put in the Excessive Deficit Procedure. While the SGP is being modified, fiscal policy is set to remain on the agenda for all NMS. This article analyses fiscal policy in the eight NMS, focusing primarily on the period immediately preceding their EU accession. The structure and scale of these countries' fiscal policy are analysed and the main trends in the revenue and expenditure of their public budgets identified. Then the dynamics of fiscal policies in the NMS are explored and the main factors in them isolated. The authors show how much of the consolidation was due to the fiscal authorities' effort and how much was caused by external factors. They also show that most NMS governments have run rather inconsistent fiscal policies and have not consolidated their budgets appropriately, postponing politically difficult consolidation measures. However, they also identify a group of countries characterised by strong reform efforts and responsible fiscal policy making, supported usually by strong economic growth. In this context, room is given to economic as well as political economy factors.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Post-Communist Economies.

Volume (Year): 18 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 139-166

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Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:18:y:2006:i:2:p:139-166
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