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    Soft law and sanctions: economic policy co-ordination and reform of the stability and growth pact

    Hodson, Dermot and Maher, I. (2004) Soft law and sanctions: economic policy co-ordination and reform of the stability and growth pact. Journal of European Public Policy 11 (5), pp. 798-813. ISSN 1350-1763.

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    The highly formalized Stability and Growth Pact gives ECOFIN power to impose sanctions on states that breach the Pact's budgetary targets. As the ECOFIN meeting in November 2003 showed, it has considerable but not unlimited discretion. The Commission has called for a more flexible interpretation of the Pact, the strengthening of sanctions against non-compliant member states and successfully litigated the legality of the ECOFIN decision. We argue that the predominance of soft law in EMU's fiscal framework is functionally suited to the uncertainty that surrounds economic co-ordination over the medium term. This suggests an inherent tension in the Commission's proposals: although a more flexible interpretation of the Pact gives more room for fiscal manoeuvre to states that start from healthy budgetary positions, it also makes it more difficult for ECOFIN to measure compliance. This uncertainty re-emphasizes the soft law elements of the Pact, rather than bolstering the efficacy of its sanction mechanisms.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): economic co-ordination, EMU, soft law, stability pact
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2017 16:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:36


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