When on 22 February 2001 the Council of the EC urged Ireland to change the course of its fiscal policy in order to curb – rather than stimulate – its high rate of inflation, it did so in accordance with Articles 98 and 99 of the EC Treaty. The Articles, ratified by Ireland, stipulate that the member countries conduct – and coordinate – their economic policies in such a way as to further the objectives of the Community laid down in Article 2, among them steady growth, high employment and price stability. In order to safeguard the sustained economic convergence of member countries and the consistency of economic policy with these objectives the Council monitors the performance of each country at regular intervals. Only where it is found that national policy is not consistent with the policy guidelines may the Council issue a formal recommendation. Ireland is the first country where the Council has made use of this competence. Does the country really deserve the criticism?
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