European Court annuls suspension of euro pact rules for France, Germany

13th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, July 13 (AFP) - The European Court of Justice annulled Tuesday a decision by the EU council of ministers that had suspended excessive deficit measures launched against France and Germany, the court said.

BRUSSELS, July 13 (AFP) - The European Court of Justice annulled Tuesday a decision by the EU council of ministers that had suspended excessive deficit measures launched against France and Germany, the court said.

A November 2003 decision by the council, ignoring a European Commission recommendation to pursue the two countries for surging public deficits, had driven a wedge into the EU's Stability and Growth Pact.

"The council cannot depart from the rules laid down by the treaty or those which it set for itself in Regulation No 1467/97", the court said in a statement.

"The court accordingly annulled the council's conclusions of 25 November 2003."

European commissioners had advised that more stringent budgetary measures be brought against France and Germany after their public deficits repeatedly breached the stability pact's ceiling of three percent of gross domestic product.

But a council of EU finance ministers decided not to press for a strict application of rules, ironically designed at Germany's insistence to underpin the EU's single currency.

A clutch of member states that have worked hard to remedy their own finances - Austria, the Netherlands, Finland and Spain - had voted against the council's decision.

Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm, one the fiercest advocates of budgetary discipline, said at the time: "The pact is not dead but it's in the refrigerator."

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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