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The Council's open letter to the Government and the debate that followed.


22 November 2010

On 18 November the Fiscal Policy Council sent an open letter to the Government pointing to the discrepancy between the Council's remit and the international trend towards independent fiscal policy evaluation and the Council's resources and work situation.

The Council's independence vis-à-vis the Government was also raised. The Council is now formally an agency under the Government with no parliamentary oversight. The Council argues that its independence might be better guaranteed if it were to become an agency under the Parliament instead.

The Minister of Finance, Anders Borg, reacted negatively to the letter and suggested that the Council's budget should be cut in response to it.

The discussion between the Council and the Minister for Finance has been widely reported in the media. Several editorials have argued that the Council must be protected from political pressures.

Some excerpts from editorials:

Dagens Nyheter, the largest Swedish morning newspaper, commented that the Council overall has been positive to the Government´s fiscal policy, and that the opposition has to some extent ignored the complete picture when using arguments from the Council´s reports against the government. The editorial argues that the Council's criticism of some government policies should be listened to and that it deepens the economic-policy in line with the Government's intention when it established the council.

Expressen, one of two national tabloid newspapers, remarked that it is worth a few million kronor to have qualified economists analyse the fiscal policy in order to save billions.

Svenska Dagbladet, which has the third largest circulation of Swedish morning newspapers, noted that the Council and the Minister for Finance will not always agree. To avoid future discussion of whether the Council is exposed to political pressures from the Government, it would be better to make it an agency under the Parliament.

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