In response to the deterioration in public finances, Switzerland has introduced an institutional innovation – a constitutionally established public debt brake. Germany’s new fiscal rule passed by the parliament in 2009 is based on the Swiss model. Both solutions are aimed at reduction of governmental deficits and focused on bringing public finances back into balance. At the same time, built-in mechanisms should help to avoid the main disadvantage of such restrictions – the loss of flexibility of fiscal policy. In this sense the new fiscal institutions may turn out to be the golden mean.