The debate on European economic governance is witnessing a conflict between the hardliners of austerity and the advocates of flexibility. The Italian request for a postponement of the balanced budget allows us to reflect on how much room for flexibility is effectively provided by current European economic governance and to identify issues that remain. This report aims to highlight the fact that, though it is not necessary to reform the current juridical framework, the problems are due to the way that regulations are put into practice. Such rules suffer from the method in which investment for growth, structural reforms and the choice for a definitive way to calculate the budgetary deficit are identified. These are aspects that require a solution based on a common view about parameters and criteria, currently absent or still under construction in Italy and France. The examination of the Italian case highlighted not only technical issues, but also political ones: there is a mutual distrust that is shaping the debate on the flexibility of current economic governance, and it reflects two diametrically opposed views between North-European countries and South-European countries.
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