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24 Jul 2007
Moody's Issues Annual Report on the European Union
New York, July 24, 2007 -- In its annual report on the European Union, Moody's Investors
Service says the European Communities' Aaa ratings and stable outlook
reflect the EU's prudent financial policies, sound loan portfolio,
and the firm support of member states.
Moody's Aaa rating for the European Union applies to the EU's three borrowing
entities, the European Community (EC), European Atomic Energy
Community (Euratom), and European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
"The ratings incorporate the EU's conservative budget management
in light of the financial pressures emerging from enlargement,"
said Moody's Vice President Alexander Kockerbeck, author of
the repot. "With the EU Treaty's requirement of a balanced
budget, the EU continues to issue debt to provide financial support
for member states and non-member countries."
A new financial framework for the period 2007-2013, which
took effect at the start of this year, followed a tumultuous negotiation
in which heads of state and government finally reached a consensus on
the EU's financial framework. A maximum total expenditure of 864.4
billion was agreed to with an annual average ceiling of 1.03%
of EU GNI for commitment appropriations and 0.98% of EU
GNI for payment appropriations.
The 2007-2013 financial framework also includes a new Instrument
for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). "This brings all
pre-accession support into one single, focused instrument
to facilitate coherence and improve consistency of the EU's financial
aid policy, to achieve better, more effective results with
available resources," said Kockerbeck.
Although Moody's does not foresee any pressure in the short to medium
term, "the evolution of the institutional architecture will
need to be monitored on an ongoing basis as it impacts the efficiency
of the whole project and reflects the degree of support it enjoys from
member states," said the analyst.
After a Europe-wide "period of reflection" designed to overcome
the constitutional crisis that followed the rejection of the new constitution
by France and the Netherlands in 2005, heads of state and government
finally agreed on a "reform treaty" at the EU summit in mid-2007.
It is planned to take effect by 2009 following ratification by all 27-member
"However, as a result of intense pressure from Poland,
which would have lost votes under the qualified majority voting procedure,
the majority voting is to be implemented only as of 2014, with a
transition period until 2017," said Kockerbeck. "Implementation
of the reform treaty will remove uncertainty over the EU's ability to
act, which, in itself, does not pose any threat to the
EU's credit standing."
The European Coal and Steel Community's treaty expired in 2002 but
the ECSC's liquidation does not affect the security of its outstanding
debt, which continues to be rated Aaa. All debt maturing
after 2002 not guaranteed by member states is fully covered by a fund
established with the ECSC's remaining assets.
The Commission is empowered to borrow on behalf of the EC and Euratom,
and all borrowings are ultimately guaranteed by the EC. The debt
service of non-member countries is covered by a specifically designated
Guarantee Fund for external actions once a loan default exceeds three
* * * * * * *
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For a copy of this report, please
contact New York Press Information +1-212-553-0376;
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Henry MacNevin in Milan +39-02-58-215-580;
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Scholz in Frankfurt +49-69-707-30-700;
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+4202 2422 2929; Tokyo Press Information +813-5408-4110;
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+5511-3043-7300; Alberto Jones Tamayo in Mexico
City +5255-1253-5700; Daniel Rúas in Buenos
Aires +54 11-4816-2332 ext. 105; or Reynold
Leegerstee in Johannesburg +27-11-217-5471 or
visit our web site at www.moodys.com
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Vincent J. Truglia
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
No Related Data.
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