27 SEP 2010
By Andrew Willis
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Europe is set to enter a crucial stage in its efforts to overhaul government spending rules this week, with talks in Brussels likely to produce several clashes between member states amid growing unrest from EU citizens over recent austerity measures.
Political negotiations on ways to prevent a repeat of this spring's fiscal crisis will take place on Monday (27 September) when EU finance ministers meet as part of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy's 'taskforce' on economic governance.
On Wednesday the European Commission is set to come forward with concrete legislative proposals which will suggest a significant overall of the bloc's current spending rules, known as the Stability and Growth Pact.
In a recent letter to his EU homologues, German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said he strongly supported the forthcoming commission plans to clampdown on states that repeatedly break the pact's rules, with a southern bloc considerably more hesitant.
In particular, France and Italy are less keen on commission plans for greater 'automaticity' of financial sanctions, fearing their hands could be tied to more unpopular spending cuts back home if they are to avoid a penalty fine from the commission.
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