Policy brief

In sickness and in health: protecting and supporting public investment in Europe

The long-term decline in gross public investment in European Union countries mirrors the trend in other advanced economies, but recent developments ha

Publishing date
07 February 2014
Zsolt Darvas

The provisions in the EU fiscal framework to support public investment are very weak.The recently inserted ‘investment clause’ is almost no help. In the short term, exclusion of national co-funding of EU-supported investments from the fiscal indicators considered in the Stability and Growth Pact would be sensible.

In the medium term, the EU fiscal framework should be extended with an asymmetric ‘golden rule’ to further protect public investment in bad times, while limiting adverse incentives in good times. During a downturn, a European investment programme is needed and the European Semester should encourage greater investment by member states with healthy public finances and low public investment rates. Reform and harmonisation of budgeting, accounting, transparency and project assessment is also needed to improve the quality of public investment.

About the authors

  • Zsolt Darvas

    Zsolt Darvas, a Hungarian citizen, joined Bruegel as a Visiting Fellow in September 2008 and continued his work at Bruegel as a Research Fellow from January 2009, before being appointed Senior Fellow from September 2013. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Corvinus University of Budapest.

    From 2005 to 2008, he was the Research Advisor of the Argenta Financial Research Group in Budapest. Before that, he worked at the research unit of the Central Bank of Hungary (1994-2005) where he served as Deputy Head.

    Zsolt holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Corvinus University of Budapest where he teaches courses in Econometrics but also at other institutions since 1994. His research interests include macroeconomics, international economics, central banking and time series analysis.

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