Extracts from the press conference by Olli Rehn on the annual assessment of the stability and convergence programmes of ten EU Member States
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 24/03/2010 First transmission: 24/03/2010
On 24/03/2010, the European Commission examined the updated stability and convergence programmes of the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovenia, against the background of the economic and financial crisis which has led to a sharp deterioration of public finances since 2009 and triggered the Council decisions to open Excess Deficit Procedures (EDP) for a large majority of Member States. Regarding the budgetary targets set out in the programmes, the growth assumptions underlying these projections were in several cases optimistic especially in outer years, while the budgetary consolidation strategy is often not sufficiently backed up by concrete measures from 2011 onwards, Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs, told journalists at his press conference.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General views of the press conference (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs: The very profound Financial and Economic crisis that the EU suffered in the last two years has certainly left very deep scars on public finances. The point of departure is much worst than foreseen in the last round of programmes. In 2009 the deficit reached more than 6% in the euro area and 7% in the EU as a whole.
||Cutaway of press
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Olli Rehn: First, all Member States, except the UK I must say, seem to be willing to respect the deadlines of the excessive deficit procedure but concrete measures on how this will be achieved are still not yet there. Secondly, most Member States build their planning on a more optimistic macro-economic assumption than the Commission's autumn economic forecast would justify. And thirdly, one striking element is that there is a clear back loading of the strategies of fiscal consolidation to the later years of the period towards 2012 and 2013.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Olli Rehn, on UK: In fact the fiscal strategy outlined in the UK's convergence programme does not foresee the correction of the excessive deficit by the fiscal year 2014-2015 as recommended by the Council on December 2nd last year.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Olli Rehn: Most Member States hope to reach pre-crisis levels of GDP in the near term, already in the next couple of years, which unfortunately does not seem to be realistic on the basis of the Commission's assumptions and forecasts. We think that again unfortunately potential growth has been rather durably affected in the course of the severe economic recession and that is a further reason why we need to mobilize our growth drivers around the lines of the strategy Europe 2020 for sustainable growth and job creation.
||Cutaways (2 shots)