Rethinking the European Fiscal Framework

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Meeting Code: 

Organising Committee:


Roel Beetsma (EFB, ACES, University of Amsterdam and CEPR), Massimo Bordignon (EFB and Catholic University of Milan), Jean Pisani-Ferry (Bruegel, Sciences-Po, and Hertie School), Jeromin Zettelmeyer (Peterson Institute for International Economics and CEPR)

The workshop will explore four main themes:


  • The role and design of common European fiscal instruments;
  • The relative roles of market discipline and fiscal rules in incentivizing good fiscal policy;
  • The aims and design of European fiscal rules.
  • The role of national independent fiscal institutions.

The programme committee is seeking theoretical and empirical contributions with an emphasis on policy (design) that help (but need not be limited to) answering the following questions:

1. What, if any, are the welfare and/or stabilization gains of fiscal risk sharing, over and above the benefits of functioning national fiscal stabilizers?

2. How can euro-area fiscal stabilization instruments be designed in a way that does not lead to free riding or moral hazard at the national level?

3. Is there an empirically or theoretically plausible case that euro-area fiscal incentives can be used to overcome reform obstacles at the national level?

4. What, if any, should the functions of a euro-area budget be: stabilization, risk sharing, provision of euro-area public goods (and if so, which?), provision of euro area debt that can be used as safe asset? What size and governance structure would such a budget require?

5. Is there any evidence that markets successfully discipline fiscal policies (e.g. via changes in borrowing costs, or by cutting off reckless governments?)

6. Are there institutional or legal frameworks that might allow successful market discipline while shielding sovereigns from potentially destructive swings in market sentiment?

7. How does the political economy of rules-based and market discipline differ, particularly at a time in the context of rising populism and grievances against "Brussels"?

8. What should be the purpose of euro-area fiscal rules? How does it differ from the purpose of national-level fiscal rules? How, if at all, should the currency union's context affect the aims and design of euro area fiscal rules (for example, positive fiscal spillovers, negative externalities of national fiscal crises, impact on external adjustment and rebalancing between member)? What if any should be the division of labor between euro area and national level fiscal rules, and how can possible inconsistencies be avoided?

9. Should euro area fiscal rules contain an explicit debt anchor; and if so, what is the right anchor? Should it be defined as a fixed share of debt to GDP, or in other ways?

10. Should fiscal rules be amended to make room for public investment - for example, related to climate change mitigation and adaptation? How can the transition to low carbon economies be financed within the fiscal rules?

11. How should euro area fiscal rules be enforced? Should adherence to fiscal rules be a precondition for access to risk-sharing mechanisms?

12. What are the implications of persistently lower real rates for the European fiscal rules? What are the implications of negative real rates for debt targets and the fiscal rules?

13. Should fiscal rules take into account constraints in the exercise of monetary policy (such as the effective lower bounds on policy rates) - and if so, how?

14. Should fiscal rules be replaced with discretionary, but binding fiscal surveillance? If so, what institutional framework/governance structure does this require? What is the role of the national independent fiscal institutions and EU-level surveillance?

Preliminary papers or extended abstracts (about two pages describing aims, methodology, and anticipated results) are requested by Monday 30 September 2019. Successful authors will be notified, with final drafts expected on 31 January 2020. The sponsoring institutions can cover accommodation and travel according to the CEPR Guidelines for presenters and discussants.

Authors who are CEPR members can upload their submission on the following registration link . Please also indicate in your submission whether you would be interested in being a discussant as well. The organisers will select the papers based on originality, analytical rigor, and policy relevance. If you are not a CEPR member, please create a CEPR profile at and then click on the registration link above to make a submission.

If you have any difficulties registering for this meeting, please contact Mandy Chan, Senior Events Officer at or +44 20 7183 8804.

Meeting Date: 
Friday, February 28, 2020

Meeting Venue: