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Brussels calls for tougher EU fiscal rulebook

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(BRUSSELS) - EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Wednesday that he would push to see tougher fiscal rules introduced for the bloc, to target overall debt levels, in line with French and German calls.

"I fully agree that we need to reinforce the Stability and Growth pact" Rehn told reporters as he presented the commission's latest economic forecasts.

The pact requires nations to work to keep their public deficits below three percent of GDP and public debts below 60 percent of output, a task which proved beyond them during the global recession.

"We need a more rigorous, preventative surveillance of fiscal policy and we also need to put much more focus on debt rather than only deficit," he added.

Commission services were preparing propositions to that effect, the Finnish commissioner declared.

His comments came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the parliament in Berlin that the stability and growth pact had to be changed as a "lesson" of the Greek fiscal crisis.

"The task of my government, and all members of this house today, is to make sure that this stability pact is adhered to, to defend it and to further develop it, as a lesson of this crisis," Merkel insisted.

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