Public Finance Sustainability in European Union Countries
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Publish date: 2011-10-31
Gospodarka Narodowa 2011;251(10):21–38
The article aims to estimate the current level of public finance sustainability in the European Union, taking into account the starting fiscal position, the possibility of withdrawing fiscal impulses, the future costs of population aging, and possible financial market responses. The author achieves this objective by using an indicator method similar to that used by the European Commission. However, this method has been modified by diversifying projected GDP growth rates and public debt interest rates, Gajewski says. The assumption is that the interest rate may vary depending on the response of financial markets to the debt-to-GDP ratio. The author demonstrates that almost all EU countries have lost their medium- and long-term fiscal sustainability. Greece and Ireland appear to be the worst off among the analyzed countries, Gajewski says. Both these economies suffer from a high structural budget deficit and potentially high costs of population aging. Most other countries will also be forced to make strong fiscal adjustments to achieve primary surpluses far exceeding those in the period before the financial crisis. The calculations also show that Sweden, Estonia and Bulgaria boast the highest levels of public finance sustainability in the European Union, the author concludes.