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25 years of Maastricht: Löger praises success story, but urges adherence to rules Maastricht criteria form strong basis for monetary union, but have to be taken seriously too

Vienna (OTS) - Upon entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty 25 years ago, the European Union was established as a community, and the foundation stone was laid for monetary union and the euro. Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger is today convinced that the Maastricht criteria laid down at the time form a strong basis for Europe's common currency. Löger: "The euro as a common currency has not only made an important contribution to the unification of Europe, but has also contributed to strengthening the economic and financial system of the individual Member States."

At the same time, Löger makes clear that the rules must also be observed. "Once a country becomes dependent on lenders, the imposition of rigorous reform requirements is unavoidable. In Italy too, populist measures have already led to uncertainty on the markets. The consequence of this is increasing refinancing costs. For this reason, today, on the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Maastricht, adherence to jointly-agreed criteria can on no account be stressed strongly enough," continued Löger. Italy's government debt ratio, at just under 130% of economic output, is already today the second highest in the EU, and scarcely sustainable. The target level of new borrowing, at least 2.4% of economic output in 2019, would place the country further under pressure.

Austria has already made a clear commitment to ending the policy of deficit spending, and for 2019, has been able for the first time to report a budget surplus to Brussels. Thus, Löger also expects his EU counterparts to comply with the rules, so that for many more years to come, the Treaty of Maastricht can be considered a success story.

1 November 2018