Stability and growth pact

The stability and growth pact, or SGP, played a key role in the establishment of the euro. The initial worry – especially from Germany and France – was that some eurozone countries might get around the European Central Bank’s monetary policy by increasing public spending and running large deficits. Hence the SGP, which limits each country’s budget deficits to no more than 3% of their total economy.

Ironically, France and Germany have broken those rules in the past, cutting taxes to stave off recession, which infuriated smaller countries that kept their budgets in line.