German Council on Foreign Relations

Germany’s Debt Brake and Europe’s Fiscal Stance after COVID-19

Germany’s plan to return to its debt brake creates a serious risk of premature fiscal tightening. Given that the fiscal divide between Europe and the US will widen sharply in 2021, a hasty return to European and German fiscal rules would stifle recovery and undermine efforts to rebuild transatlantic ties in trade and macroeconomic cooperation. This paper proposes several practical options to attenuate the fiscal drag associated with a return to the debt brake and calls for a broad debate on its reform.