Under the Fiscal Compact's rules, the structural balance has become a crucial variable in the EU budgetary framework. This should facilitate the operativeness of the automatic
stabilizers and avoid pro-cyclical scal policies . However, in the past years peripheral member countries have witnessed a widespread budget restriction in front of a deep down-
turn of the economic cycle. We show that this occurred due to the distorted information provided by the model used by the European Commission to calculate the structural bud-
get balance. Starting from the direct relationship between this latter and the NAWRU, we shed some light on the estimation methodology and its implication on member states' fiscal policy. We focus our attention on the poor economic significance of the NAWRU and its large volatility over time. Finally, by the means of panel data estimations, we find out that the NAWRU is correlated with the economic cycle, which implies pro-cyclical effects on structural balances. Peripheral European countries seem to be more aaffected by these pro-cyclical effects than core countries.