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Kamila Sławińska

2 February 2021
Economic Bulletin Issue 1, 2021
Last updated on 10 February 2021
Euro area countries have relied extensively on fiscal policy to counter the harmful impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on their economies. They have implemented a broad range of measures, some with an immediate budgetary impact and others, such as liquidity measures, which, in principle, are not expected to cause an immediate deterioration in the fiscal outlook. Since all euro area countries were hit by the economic shock largely through the same channels, their fiscal responses in the early stages of the crisis were similar in terms of the instruments used. Fiscal emergency packages were mostly aimed at limiting the economic fallout from containment measures through direct measures to protect firms and workers in the affected industries. Simultaneously, extensive liquidity support measures in the form of tax deferrals and State guarantees were announced to help firms particularly impacted by the containment policies to avoid liquidity shortages. In order to support the recovery, fiscal policy needs to provide targeted and mostly temporary stimulus, tailored to the specific characteristics of the crisis and countries’ fiscal positions. Government investments, complemented by the Next Generation EU package, and accompanied by appropriate structural policies, should play a major role in this respect.
JEL Code
H6 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
H1 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government
H5 : Public Economics→National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
23 September 2020
Economic Bulletin Issue 6, 2020
Fiscal policy is playing a key role in stemming the economic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition to the discretionary fiscal policy measures employed by governments, automatic fiscal stabilisers play an important role in cushioning the economic downturn. This article shows that automatic fiscal stabilisers are generally sizeable in the euro area, but vary significantly across Member States. However, their effectiveness may be more limited at the current juncture, given the nature of the COVID-19 crisis and the high uncertainty surrounding its effects. This provides a rationale for a stronger role of discretionary fiscal policy at national and European level. Over the medium term, fiscal policies could increasingly make use of quasi-automatic fiscal instruments that provide additional timely, targeted and temporary macroeconomic stabilisation for the euro area. Careful consideration should be given to the design of such instruments over the business cycle, their economic efficiency, and to the need for building fiscal buffers in good times.
JEL Code
H12 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government→Crisis Management
H20 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→General
E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy