ECB sounds the alarm

ECB - The prospect of fudging the EU stability pact, which stipulates a 3% budget deficit ceiling for national governments, drew criticism from ECB officials on Thursday.

Nout Wellink, a member of the ECB's interest rate-setting governing council, said on Thursday that ministers should avoid loosening the agreed spending constraints at a time when the economic downturn is subjecting them to their first real test.

"I think (proposals to relax the stability pact) are a very unfortunate develop

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