PRESS RELEASE

Statement of the Governing Council on the ECOFIN Council’s report on Improving the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

21 March 2005

The Governing Council of the ECB is seriously concerned about the proposed changes to the Stability and Growth Pact. It must be avoided that changes in the corrective arm undermine confidence in the fiscal framework of the European Union and the sustainability of public finances in the euro area Member States. As regards the preventive arm of the Pact, the Governing Council also takes note of some proposed changes which are in line with its possible strengthening.

Sound fiscal policies and a monetary policy geared to price stability are fundamental for the success of Economic and Monetary Union. They are prerequisites for macroeconomic stability, growth and cohesion in the euro area. It is imperative that Member States, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union implement the revised framework in a rigorous and consistent manner conducive to prudent fiscal policies.

More than ever, in the present circumstances, it is essential that all parties concerned fulfil their respective responsibilities. The public and the markets can trust that the Governing Council remains firmly committed to deliver on its mandate of maintaining price stability.

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