We started a new season of workshops and seminars at the CEF. We kicked off with a highly relevant learning event on “Budget Supervision by the European Union”. The workshop brought together six lecturers and 15 participants from seven countries to discuss and assess national laws, regulations, and standards that are needed in the light of European legislation and to participate in European supervisory procedures.
The learning event was initiated and designed in close cooperation with Dr. Dirk Jan Kraan. Dr. Kraan is the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Public Financial Management Advisor for South East Europe and he is based at the CEF. Through his discussions with the authorities in the CEF’s EU member, candidate, and potential candidate countries, Dr. Kraan identified strong demand for a course to assist officials from countries in South East Europe to better understand the EU requirements for national budgets and national budget procedures.
Dr. Kraan explains that the recent economic crisis led the EU authorities to increase the level of supervision of member states’ national budgets to ensure that they are consistent with the existing and new EC directives. Whereas the Treaty of Maastricht included some fairly broad principles of fiscal prudence, subsequent packages of EU legislation sought to strengthen the requirements and specify sanctions in case of non-compliance. The crisis has led to the adoption of the series of legislative packages that supplement previous packages, rather than substituting previous treaties and directives with new ones. Consequently the legislative framework surrounding national budgets of EU member states and the accompanying procedures for supervision and sanctions for non-compliance with the legislation have become fairly complicated.
The discussions during the learning event therefore touched upon the Treaty of Maastricht, the so-called “six pack” of enhanced economic governance of 2011, the “two pack” of enhanced economic governance of 2012, the annual supervision cycle, including the “European semester”, and the “Fiscal Compact” of 2012. Excellent faculty to the course included:
- Ms. Stéphanie Riso, Head of Fiscal Policy and Surveillance Unit at the European Commission’s Economic and Financial Affairs
- Dr. Christian Kastrop, Deputy-Director General and Director of Public Finance, Macroeconomics and Research Department, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
- Dr. Jan Donders, Policy Advisor, Ministry of Finance, the Netherlands
- Ms. Valentina Kostyleva, Consultant in Public Governance, former OECD
- Mr. Jonathan van der Heijden, Coordinating Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Finance, the Netherlands
The last day of the seminar finished with a simulation exercise of the Economic Policy Committee of the European Union. The session was devoted to a peer-review, and we specifically focused on the fiscal framework of Slovenia. Ms. Irena Roštan
from the Slovenian Ministry of Finance presented the Slovenian case and through the simulation engaged in discussions with colleagues from the European Commission, IMF, European Central Bank, and other EU member countries.