The purpose of a european minister of economy and finance and its impact on romanian public finance law

Author:Prof. Dr. Emil Balan - Dr. Marilena Ene
Pages:175-186
SUMMARY

The evolution of the EU fiscal policy over the last 10 years since the financial crisis caused many public debates and it is not over yet. Currently the Member States have the possibility and the obligation to coordinate their economic policies and to address the economic challenges under the European Semester procedure. The last speech “State of the Union Address” of the Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, on 13 September 2017 generated a new discussion related to the role and position of a new to be created post of a European Monetary Fund and Economy and Finance Minister. The European Commission presented on 6 December 2017 a set of proposals regarding the next steps for further deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The paper will present the current obligations of the EU countries as resulted from the existing legal provisions during the year in order to ensure sound public finance and to prevent excessive macroeconomic imbalances. Also, it is interesting to analyse the current roles of the European Commission and the Council in the fiscal policy of the member states and to identify the possible impact of the new proposal on the current obligations of a member state and on the Romanian public finance law.

 
CONTENT
The purpose of a European minister of economy and finance... 175
THE PURPOSE OF A EUROPEAN MINISTER OF ECONOMY
AND FINANCE AND ITS IMPACT ON ROMANIAN PUBLIC
FINANCE LAW
Prof. Dr. Emil BLAN1
Dr. Marilena ENE2
ABSTRACT
The evolution of the EU fiscal policy over the last 10 years since the financial crisis caused
many public debates and it is not over yet. Currently the Member States have the possibility and the
obligation to coordinate their economic policies and to address the economic challenges under the
European Semester procedure.
The last speech “State of the Union Address” of the Jean-Claude Juncker, the European
Commission President, on 13 September 2017 generated a new discussion related to the role and
position of a new to be created post of a European Monetary Fund and Economy and Finance
Minister. The European Commission presented on 6 December 2017 a set of proposals regarding the
next steps for further deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
The paper will present the current obligations of the EU countries as resulted from the existing legal
provisions during the year in order to ensure sound public finance and to prevent excessive
macroeconomic imbalances. Also, it is interesting to analyse the current roles of the European Commission
and the Council in the fiscal policy of the member states and to identify the possible impact of the new
proposal on the current obligations of a member state and on the Romanian public finance law.
Keywords: EU fiscal policy, EU budget, European Monetary Fund, fiscal and financial rules,
budgetary instruments, fiscal-budgetary measures.
JEL Classification: K34, K33
1. Preliminary remarks
The last speech „State of the Union Address” of the Jean-Claude Juncker, the
European Commission President, on 13 September 2017 generated a new discussion
related to the role and position of a new to be created European Monetary Fund and
1 National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Public Administration
Bucharest, Romania
2 National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Public Administration
Bucharest, Romania
Law Review vol. III, Special issue 2017, pp. 175-186
176 EMIL BĂLAN, MARILENA ENE
Economy and Finance Minister. President Junker mentioned in his speech that it is
necessary to establish a European Minister that promotes and supports structural
reforms in the Member States to continue the work the Commission has been doing
since 2015 with the Structural Reform Support Service3. Also, according to the
President Junker the new Minister should coordinate all EU financial instruments
that can be deployed if a Member State is in a recession or hit by a fundamental crisis.
The role of Economy and Finance Minister should be assumed by the Commissioner
for economic and financial affairs how should be also a Vice-President of the EC and
the president of Eurogroup.
Further to the proposal made on 13 September, the European Commission
published on 6 December 2017 a set of documents regarding the next steps for
further deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
The package of 6 December 2017 contains the following documents as presented
in the press release published by the Commission4:
a) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the
European Council, the Council and the European Central Bank COM(2017) 821 final,
Further steps towards completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union: a roadmap
b) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the
European Council, the Council and the European Central Bank COM(2017) 822
final, New budgetary instruments for a stable euro area within the union framework
c) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the
European Council, the Council and the European Central Bank COM(2017) 823
final, A European Minister of Economy and Finance
d) Proposal for a Council Directive laying down provisions for strengthening
fiscal responsibility and the medium-term budgetary orientation in the Member
States, COM (2017) 824 final, aiming to integrate the substance of the Treaty on
Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSGC) into the Union legal framework,
taking into account the appropriate flexibility built into the Stability and Growth
Pact and identified by the Commission since January 2015,
e) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
amending Regulation (EU) 2017/825 to increase the financial envelope of the
Structural Reform Support Programme and adapt its general objective, COM(2017)
825 final,
f) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
amending Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European
Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the
3 Structural Reform Support Service was set up by the European Commission as a department to
help EU countries carry out reforms to support job creation and sustainable growth. This support is
available to all EU countries, upon request: https://ec.europa.eu/info/mission-statement-structural-
reform-support-service_en.
4 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-5006_en.htm.
The purpose of a European minister of economy and finance... 177
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and
Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional
Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European
Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 as
regards support to structural reforms in Member States, COM (2017) 826 final,
g) Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European
Monetary Fund, COM (2017) 827 final.
One of the aims of this article is to analyse the proposal published by the EC in
the Communication COM (2017) 823 final regarding the creation of a new position
in the Commission, a European Minister of Economy and Finance but also to
provide some background information regarding the current role of the EC and the
obligations of the Member States.
The proposal made by President Junker in this speech and then included in an
EC communication is not a new idea but it is the first time presented as an official
position of the European Commission. The idea was expressed in 2012 by
Wolfgang Schäuble5 in an interview for Spiegel6 when he mentioned that this
minister should have the power to „monitor national debt levels and veto member
states’ budgets”. The same proposal was also made by other to important EU
officials at that time Jean-Claude Trichet7 and Klaus Regling8. It is very clear that
the functioning of this type of EU institution is possible only if Member States
increase their „sovereignty-sharing”. It is clear that one of the most important
aspects to study is related to the sovereignty of the EU Member States in fiscal and
tax policy that it is under examination in the last years following the economic
crisis by the scholars.
2. Evolution of eu fiscal policy
The analysis of EU fiscal policy evolution has to include a short history review.
The current provisions of Article 126 TFUE were initially adopted by twelve
Member States in 1992 in the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union). The
founding treaties were modified and a new Article 104c was included in the Treaty
establishing the European Economic Community. Further to this modification, on
17 June 1997, the European Council adopted the Resolution on the Stability and
Growth Pact9, having as objectives prevention and limitation of excessive deficit.
Initially, the Stability and Growth Pact contained the Resolution of the European
5 Starting 2009 Minister of Finance in the Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel for almost eight
years and since 2017 he is the President of the Bundestag.
6 Henrik Enderlein, Jörg Haas, What would a European Finance Minister Do? A proposal, Policy
Paper, 145, Jacques Delors Institut, Berlin, October 2015, p. 3.
7 President of the European Central Bank from 2003 till 2011.
8 He is Chief Executive Officer of the European Financial Stability Facility and Managing Director of
the European Stability Mechanism.
9 Published in the Official Journal of the European Communities C 236/ 1 dated 2 August 1997.
178 EMIL BĂLAN, MARILENA ENE
Council and two Council Regulations, i.e. Council Regulation 1466/97 on the
strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and
coordination of economic policies, called „the preventive arm of the Stability and
Growth Pact” and Council Regulation 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying the
implementation of the Excessive Deficit Procedure, considered to be „the corrective
arm of the Stability and Growth Pact”.
Currently, Articles 121, 122, 126, 136 and 143 of the Treaty on the Functioning
of the European Union (TFEU) and Protocol 12 on Excessive Deficit Procedure are
the basis of any secondary legislation regarding the Stability and Growth Pact.
The economic crisis of 2008 showed that these procedures were not enough to
ensure the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination
of economic policies of the Member States. In order to increase the surveillance made
by the European Commission additional legislation was adopted in 2011, the so-
called „six pack”10.
Furthermore, the Fiscal Compact (TSCG)11 was adopted in 2012 and the
Council approved the „two-pack12” to provide enhanced monitoring and
surveillance of the deficit and public debts for the euro area Member States in 2013.
In order to understand the importance and relevance of this short historical
presentation, it is worth mentioning Article 119 (1) TFUE:
„For the purposes set out in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, the activities
of the Member States and the Union shall include, as provided in the Treaties, the adoption
of an economic policy which is based on the close coordination of Member States' economic
policies, on the internal market and on the definition of common objectives, and conducted
in accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition”.
It is clear that the Member States agreed to transfer to the Union their sovereignty
in the field of economic policy, including fiscal policy, in order to ensure „an open
market economy with free competition”. In addition, the Member States have to
comply with the principles mentioned in Article 119 (3) TFUE „stable prices, sound
public finances and monetary conditions and a sustainable balance of payments”.
10 The six-pack comprises of: 1. Regulation 1175/2011 amending Regulation 1466/97 on the
strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of
economic policies, 2. Regulation 1177/2011 amending Regulation 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying
the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, 3. Regulation 1173/2011 on the effective
enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area, 4. Council Directive 2011/85/EU on requirements
for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, 5. Regulation 1176/2011 on the prevention and
correction of macroeconomic imbalances and 6. Regulation 1174/2011 on enforcement action to correct
excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area.
11 The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union
(TSCG) formally concluded on 2 March 2012, and entered into force on 1 January 2013.
12 Two-Pack comprises two Regulations designed to further enhance economic integration and
convergence amongst euro area Member States: Regulation 472/2013 on the strengthening of
economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States in the euro area experiencing or threatened
with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability and Regulation 473/2013 on common
provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive
deficit of the Member States in the euro area.
The purpose of a European minister of economy and finance... 179
Any and all economic objectives of Member States must ensure the „achievement
of the objectives of the Union”, provided for in Article 3 TUE13.
In Article 126 (1) TFUE is mentioned clearly that the „Member States shall
avoid excessive government deficits” and the Commission shall monitor „the
development of the budgetary situation and of the stock of government debt in the
Member States”.
Based on these provisions, as initially included in the Maastricht Treaty, the
Stability and Growth Pact was approved in 1997 and additionally modified in 2011
and 2013.
An important aspect that the doctrine analyses with regards to the EU Member
States is the tax sovereignty, which is regarded as one of the fundamental EU
principles, because it is unanimously accepted that the Member States did not
transfer the tax competency to the European Union. By way of consequence,
Member States hold full sovereignty with regards to the establishment of the tax
system, the collection of tax and duties, the enforcement of tax laws and the
operation of the tax administration, as well as the prevention of tax evasion.
This principle of tax sovereignty is not explicitly mentioned in the TEU or
TFEU, but it is the result of the interpretation of article 5 of the TEU, according to
which the Union only holds the competencies explicitly established through the
treaties and all other competencies belong to the member states, corroborated to
the provisions in article 113 of the TFEU, which stipulates that the Union holds
limited competencies in the field taxation, including the regulation of indirect tax,
„if such harmonization is required to ensure the establishment and operation of the
internal market and in order to avoid the distortion of competition”.
With regards to direct tax, the doctrine states that the Union does not hold the
explicit competency to issue legislative harmonization regulations, but it does have
this possibility, in so far as the operation of the internal market is affected, requiring
the unanimous consent of the Council (of the member states). In time, however,
due to the decisions of the Court of Justice, the concept of fiscal sovereignty in the
field of taxation was amended in that member states hold the sovereign right of
establishing the fiscal system and the tax and duties administration system, but the
national regulations must observe and comply with the EU treaties, where they do
not hold „carte blanche”14.
13 Article 3 TUE: „1. The Union shall have exclusive competence in the following areas: (a)
customs union; (b) the establishing of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the
internal market; (c) monetary policy for the Member States whose currency is the euro;
(d) the conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy; (e) common
commercial policy. 2. The Union shall also have exclusive competence for the conclusion of an
international agreement when its conclusion is provided for in a legislative act of the Union or is necessary
to enable the Union to exercise its internal competence, or in so far as its conclusion may affect common
rules or alter their scope”.
14 Federico Fabbrini, Economic governance in Europe. Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional
Challenges, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016, p. 24.
180 EMIL BĂLAN, MARILENA ENE
Moreover, the Member States gradually waives fiscal sovereignty, which was
affected by the duties transferred to the European Union in the fiscal field, through
various European regulations, but especially through the ones established with
regards to the member states’ budgetary policy.
The „six-pack”, the Fiscal Compact and the „two-pack” (applicable only to the
member states that adopted the Euro currency) led to a „centralization of the
budgetary policy” within the Union, which will continue, measures being proposed
to enhance the Union’s supervision of the budgetary policies.
Member States are bound to take into account the principles in the Stability
and Growth Pact when drafting their fiscal and budgetary policy.
In the current context, the European fiscal policy supposes, apart from the
observance of the provisions in TFEU and the enforcement of the principles
regarding the harmonization of the tax laws, „in order to ensure the establishment
and operation of the internal market and avoid competition distortion”, with regards
to the indirect tax, as well as in the field of direct tax, the adoption of measures
meant to eradicate negative fiscal competition, fraud and tax evasion, as well as the
aggressive tax planning and to promote administrative cooperation between the
fiscal and customs member states’ authorities.
In the development of the national economic policies, Member States, including
Romania, must take into account these principles and adapt their national objectives so
as to integrate them.
The EU norms adopted in order to coordinate the economic policies within the
Union affects the fiscal sovereignty of the Member States. Among these, it is
important to mention Regulation (EU) no. 1176/2011 of the European Parliament
and of the Council of 16 November 2011 on the prevention and correction of
macroeconomic imbalances, providing for the enhanced surveillance of the economic
policies of the Member States going further than budgetary surveillance. The new
procedure includes a more detailed and formal framework to prevent excessive
macroeconomic imbalances. This Regulation defines two new concepts, i.e.
„imbalances” and „excessive imbalances”, which are analysed and assessed by the
European Commission. In the case of an imbalance, the Commission should take
into account „any trend giving rise to macroeconomic developments which are
adversely affecting, or have the potential adversely to affect, the proper functioning of
the economy of a Member State or of the economic and monetary union, or of the
Union as a whole”. A Member State may be in a situation of an excessive imbalance if
there is a case of „severe imbalance, including imbalance that jeopardise or risks
jeopardising the proper functioning of the economic and monetary union”. Two
additional tools, „alert mechanism” and „scoreboard” are used by the EC for early
identification and monitoring of imbalances of the Member States. EC can decide
whether a member state faces imbalance or excessive imbalance. In case the
Commission considers that a Member State is experiencing imbalances, it shall
inform the European Parliament, the Council and the Eurogroup accordingly. The
The purpose of a European minister of economy and finance... 181
Council may address the necessary recommendations to the Member State
concerned, in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 121 (2) TFEU. If a
Member State is affected by excessive imbalances the Commission shall inform the
European Parliament, the Council and the Eurogroup accordingly and also the
relevant European Supervisory Authorities and the European Systemic Risk Board
(ESRB). In this case, the Council may adopt a recommendation establishing the
existence of an excessive imbalance and recommending that the Member State
concerned take corrective action, in accordance with Article 121 (4) TFEU. In the
recommendation are include details about the nature and implications of the
imbalances, a set of policy recommendations to be followed by the Member State
and also a deadline within which the Member State concerned is to submit a
corrective action plan.
The entire activity of the European Commission as mentioned above related to
the identification and monitoring of imbalances of the Member States and not only
shall be transferred to the European Ministry of Economy and Finance proposed to
be created at the Union level.
3. Creation of a European Minister of Economy and Finance
The principles of good governance as described by the European Commission in
2001 in the White Paper on European Governance15 continue to be used as arguments
to implement modifications to the current structure and functions of the UE based
on the provisions of the founding treaties. In drafting any policy, the central or local
government must make sure that the basic good governance principles are observed,
i.e. „transparency”, „involvement”, „accountability”, „effectiveness” and „coherence”,
and the application of these principles in the fiscal-budgetary policy is of essence.
The implementation of the principle of transparency as part of the fiscal policy
is regarded by OECD as a key element to good governance, because the public
budget reflects the main directions of a country’s economic, social and environ-
mental policies. In order to state that a country complies with what is generally
referred to as „good governance” it should also be analyzed whether the public
authorities in the respective country implement public policies falling under the
scope of economy, effectiveness and efficiency. The White Paper on European
Governance mentions with regards to this principle that public policies must be
effectively and timely developed, so that the parties who need the respective
services have access to them, on the basis of clear objectives and that studies are
performed with regards to the future impact, as well as an analysis of the effects of
measures already taken. The observance of the principle of coherence supposes the
existence of a correlation between the various public sectoral policies of the state,
so as to ensure the clarity of such policies at a national level.
15 European Governance — A White Paper, COM(2001) 428 final, published in the Official
Journal of the European Communities C 287 of 12.10.2001.
182 EMIL BĂLAN, MARILENA ENE
The analysis of the proposal made by EC to create a new post has to have as
starting point the above mentioned principles of good governance as it is mentioned
in the Communication COM (2017) 823 that the creation of the European Minister of
Economy and Finance would „strengthening the effective governance, would
improve coherence, effectiveness and transparency of EU economic policy-making”.
The current structure of the Economic and Monetary Union is presented by the
EC as „complex” and the design published is very suggestive and important
argument for this proposal:
Source: European Commission
Basically the European Commission emphasis the deficiencies identified in the
decisions-making process related as regards to the economic policy of the Union
and Member States in order to have arguments in front of the Member States’
representatives to approve the new structure of the Commission.
Starting 2010 it is important to mention that EC increased their duties in the
field of economic policy resulted from different pieces of legislation approved over
the years by the Council and Parliament.
In the Communication COM(2017) 823 final, the EC propose a list of possible
responsibilities16 of the European Minister of Economy and Finance to be imple-
mented in steps:
(a) to pursue the general interest of the EU and euro area economy and to
represent it at global level in relation with international organisations but also at
the EU level as regards to the economic, fiscal and financial policies,
16 COM(2017) 823 final, p. 2.
The purpose of a European minister of economy and finance... 183
(b) to strenghten policy coordination and overseeing economic, fiscal and
financial rules as part of the economic policy coordination implemented at the EU
level further to the financial crisis of 2008,
(c) to state on the adequate fiscal policy for the euro area in support of the
monetary policy of the ECB, coordinating the surveillance of the fiscal policies and
ensuring the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact,
(d) to oversease the use of EU and euro area budgetary instruments including
instruments in support of reforms, macroeconomic stabilisation and convergence
in order to ensure that these budgetary instruments are used coherently and
effectively by all Member States.
The doctrine17 already proposed a list of responsibilities for the new minister
but in relation only with euro area and included the surveillance and coordination
of the fiscal and economic policies and also the implementation of all the current
instruments regarding the Stability and Growth Pact, covering also the European
Semester, excessive deficit procedure, the detection of imbalances and the excessive
imbalance procedure. Even if in 2012 it was mentioned that these instruments were
not successfully used the situation is currently the same mainly due to the fact that
there are many actors involved, Member States, EU institutions and intergovernmental
bodies. The Commission considers that the minister could ensure coordination and
coherence of the EU economic policy. As proposed by the EC now and by the doctrine
in 2012, the EU Commissioner post should merge with the Eurogroup President,
will be accountable to the European Parliament and will have more political power
on the euro area Member States.
The Minister will have the necessary powers to represent the EU and the euro area
in negotiations with other international financial institutions at global level but also at
EU level with Member States in the field of economic, fiscal and financial policies.
One interesting idea was mentioned in the doctrine18 regarding the negotiations
with Member States, in the Greece situation when the EU was basically represented
by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, instead of an unique European voice that
was „representing the interest of the euro area as a whole” and not Germany as the
main creditor. It is clear that the interest of the European Union is not identical with
the interests of Member States and it is better for the future of the Union to have a
unique strong voice of the Union on matters related to economic policy.
One other role for the Minister of Economy and Finance will be to coordinate EU
economic policy but also to ensure consistency across policy areas using the newly
implemented instrument, Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) developed by the
Commission. SRSS provides technical support to Member States to promote economic
reforms and to implement it. Regarding this aspect of reforms, it is important to
mention one idea proposed by the doctrine19 in the sense that the Minister should
17 Enderlein, Haas, What would a European Finance Minister Do?, p. 4.
18 Enderlein, Haas, What would a European Finance Minister Do?, p. 6.
19 Enderlein, Haas, What would a European Finance Minister Do?, p. 6, one responsibility of the EU
Minister shall be „to help buffer regional shocks”.
184 EMIL BĂLAN, MARILENA ENE
have the possibility to support public investments of Member States from EU funds
in times of fiscal consolidation instead of using structural adjustments as currently
imposed at EU level20.
In addition to coordination function in different areas, one important role of the
Minister is to supervise the use of EU budget and other EU and euro area budgetary
instruments. According to the proposal of the Commission, this function will ensure
that these financial instruments “are used coherently and effectively”.
From institutional perspective, the Commission selected the easiest version in
the sense that is not creating an additional EU body or agency. Basically, the
current Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs
will become the Minister of Economy and Finance, will be Vice-President of EC
and the Chair of Eurogroup and also will chair the European Monetary Fund, new
proposal mentioned in the Communication COM (2017) 827 of 6 December.
As mentioned by the European Commission in the proposal, the first step will be
to introduce this position as Vice-President of the Commission in the appointment of
the next Commission in November 2019. It is clear that the proposed changes are not
easily to be implemented but the Commission intends to draft necessary legislation
to make this proposal possible.
4. Impact on the Romanian Public Finance law
Until Romania adopt euro as national currency, the impact of the creation of
the new position, Minister of Economy and Finance, is linked to the budgetary
surveillance procedures performed by the European Commission currently. In
addition, as mentioned by the Commission, one of the functions to be performed
by the Minister is to coordinate the surveillance of Member States’ fiscal policies,
involving European Fiscal Board and the national fiscal councils which could
create an important role for the Fiscal Council.
The relevant provisions for this analysis are included in Law no 500/2002 on
public finance21 and Law no 69/2010 on fiscal-budgetary responsibilities22. In 2013,
both laws were modified in order to implement the TSCG (Fiscal Compact) and
Council Directive 2011/85/EU on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the
20 As example, in the Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the 2017
National Reform Programme of Romania and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence
Programme of Romania adopted on 12 June 2017 and published on 11 July 2017: „Romania has to take
the necessary measures to ensure that the nominal growth rate of net primary government
expenditure does not exceed 3,3% in 2017, corresponding to an annual structural adjustment of 0,5 %
of GDP. Based on the Commission 2017 spring forecast, there is a risk of a significant deviation from
the recommended adjustment in 2017”.
21 Law no 500/2002 on public finance was published in the Official Gazette no 597 of 13 August
2002, subsequently modified.
22 Law no 69/2010 on fiscal-budgetary responsibilities was initially published in the Official Gazette
no 252 of 20 April 2010, modified further to the ratification of the Fiscal Compact and republished in the
Official Gazette no 330 of 14 May 2015.
The purpose of a European minister of economy and finance... 185
Member States23. The transposition into Romanian legislation had little or no
impact in the governmental activity as already a fiscal-budgetary strategy was
drafted yearly but not necessary at the exact dates provided in the legislation in
force. The term „budgetary framework” was adopted and divided into two
definitions, „budgetary framework” and “medium-term budgetary frameworks”
even if the Directive 2011/85 is not mentioning two separate notions.
If these new position of Minister of Economy and Finance will be created it is
possible to witness a review and update of the current legislation on public finance
as it is clear that for the time being the Romanian Government is acting in breach
of Romanian public finance laws every year.
According to the current legislation, the Romanian Government has the legal
duty to elaborate and to present to the Parliament the medium-term fiscal-budgetary
strategy until 15 August each year. From the analysis of the public records of the
Ministry of Public Finance it never happened. Also, the Romanian Government has
never followed the deadlines established in the law regarding elaboration of the
public budget.
Under the European Semester the Member States have the obligation to present
to the European Commission their budget plans and in case there are deviations from
the EC macroeconomic forecasts, the Member States have to explain the deviations.
Regarding Romania, as mentioned in the last Council Recommendation of 11
July 2017 on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Romania24, „Romania’s fiscal
framework is sound, but is not fully enforced”. This sentence can be translated that
Romanian laws transposes the EU laws but the implementation is not yet in
accordance with the EU rules. One of the main issues is related to tax collection, as
tax evasion was and still is predominant. Even if one of the country-specific
recommendations included in the 2016 and 2017 Country Reports published by the
European Commission was to strengthen tax compliance and collection, limited
progress was made by Romania.
One effect on the Romanian public finance laws of an EU Economy and Finance
Minister maybe will be noticed in the performance of the governmental duties in
the elaboration and implementation of the public budget.
5. Conclusions
Creation of a new position, Economy and Finance Minister, in the European
Commission could have a positive impact on the implementation of the economic
policy by the Member States. On one on side, at the EU level, the existence of an EU
Minister could offer to the EU citizens „a high degree of accountability”, as the
Minister is liable in front of the European Parliament and also more coherent and
23 Published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 306 of 23.11.2011.
24 Published in the Official Journal of the European Union C 261 of 9 August 2017.
186 EMIL BĂLAN, MARILENA ENE
effective economic governance. On the other side, at the level of each Member State,
it is possible to have an increase of accountability of the Government as the executive
should follow the national and EU regulations on fiscal-budgetary policy. As it is
mentioned the founding treaties, the guiding principles of the Member States as
regard economic policy are „stable prices, sound public finances and monetary
conditions and a sustainable balance of payments”. These principles have to be
applied also in fiscal policy, in order to obtain „unity, efficiency and democratic
accountability” as president Junker mentioned in the State of the Union address.