EU agrees plan to overhaul spending rules for more flexibility

The European Parliament and member states reached an agreement early Saturday on reforms to EU budgetary rules aimed at boosting investment while keeping spending under control.

The text modernises the current rules, known as the Stability and Growth Pact, created in the late 1990s, which limit countries' debt to 60 percent of gross domestic product and public deficits to three percent.

"Deal!," the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU said on social media platform X after 16 hours of talks.

The European Union spent two years making an intensive effort to develop reforms supported by the more frugal member states like Germany and other countries, such as France and Italy, which seek more flexibility.

After much wrangling between Berlin and Paris, the 27 member states struck a deal in December, then began talks with negotiators from the European Parliament.

The text was criticised for its great complexity and derided by left-wing officials as a tool for imposing austerity on Europe.

The negotiators finally reached an agreement early Saturday, in time for the text to be voted on in Strasbourg this spring before the parliamentary break ahead of European elections.

The reforms will be formally adopted after agreement between lawmakers and states.


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