EU defends France breaking budget rules
European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici has defended the French government going over the EU deficit to GDP limit after attacking the Italian budget for approaching the same limit. As Breitbar writes in an article "EU Defends France Breaking Budget Rules After Attacking Italy For Same", Mr Moscovici made his remarks following news that the new measures introduced by French President Emmanuel Macron to quell the Yellow Vest protests could take France beyond the three per cent limit.
“Exceeding the three percent deficit to GDP ratio for France in 2019, if we refer to the rules, can be conceivably limited, temporary, and extraordinary,” he told Le Parisien in an interview this week. “Every word counts: any exceeding of three per cent should not extend for two consecutive years, nor exceed 3.5 per cent in one year,” he added.
When asked if the Commission was giving France preferential treatment, Moscovici said, “There is no indulgence, these are our rules and nothing but our rules.” The Commissioner has been one of the main critics of the Italian populist government’s recent budget, which has a deficit to GDP ratio of 2.4 per cent.
Moscovici has previously claimed that the Italian populist coalition of the League and the Five Star Movement is a “problem” for the Eurozone and it should come up with a “credible budget.” He has also attacked the broader European populist movement saying the continent was beginning to resemble the 1930s. “Clearly there is no Hitler, perhaps some small Mussolini. History, as Raymond Aron used to say, is tragic. We must prevent it from sinking into its darkest hours,” he said.
To solve the perceived problem with populism, Moscovici has advocated even further EU federalisation and the creation of a common “eurozone budget” saying, “Having a eurozone budget is absolutely decisive if we want to address the populist challenge, the burning question of inequalities.”
Moscovici and other members of the European Commission have been repeatedly rebuked by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who said, “EU Commissioner Moscovici, instead of censuring his France that rejects immigrants in Ventimiglia, has bombed Libya, and has broken European parameters, attacks Italy and talks about many little Mussolinis around Europe.”
After rejecting the Italian budget, the Commission made it clear that Italy could face sanctions — but when asked about France, Moscovici said a comparison between the two was “tempting but wrong because the situations are totally different.”