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Strasbourg, 29 October 2014
Statement by Vice-President Katainen on the Draft Budgetary Plans
I thought it would be useful for me to talk to you briefly about the state of play of the Commission's assessment of the draft budgetary plans.
As I recalled in my statement of yesterday evening, this is only the second time we are assessing draft budgetary plans of euro area Member States, in line with the strengthened budgetary coordination rules introduced last year.
Member States are required to submit their plans by 15 October and the Commission must adopt an opinion on these by 30 November.
However, if we identify "particularly serious non-compliance with the budgetary policy obligations laid down in the Stability and Growth Pact", we must adopt our opinion within two weeks of the plans' submission.
That deadline is today.
Over the past two weeks, we have carried out consultations with certain Member States in this context.
In some cases the aim of these consultations was to highlight some initial concerns related to the draft budgetary plans they had submitted.
In others, it was simply to request further information. Some member States have changed their budgetary plans at the last minute. In all cases, Member States have responded constructively to our concerns. That is very important and welcome.
I informed the College this morning that, after taking into account all of the further information and improvements communicated to us in recent days, I cannot immediately identify cases of "particularly serious non-compliance".
This is good news and it shows that our economic governance is working and having an impact.
But I want to underline that this does not mean that all draft budgetary plans will necessarily be found to be in full compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact. We are not prejudging the outcome.
We will only know this once we have completed our detailed assessment in the coming weeks.
This assessment will be based on the Autumn Economic Forecast and will take into account:
- the Commission's view of the macroeconomic outlook,
- our assessment of measures taken, and
- risks to budgetary implementation.
The opinions will highlight whether any additional or replacement measures will be needed to ensure full compliance with the Pact.
These opinions will be adopted by the new Commission, and will then be discussed by the Eurogroup.
Based on our assessment of the draft budgetary plans and on our autumn forecast, it cannot be excluded that the Commission may need to adopt steps under the Excessive Deficit Procedure for some Member States.
I am now happy to take two or three questions.