Tuesday, 23 September 2008

EU: Broad economic policy guidelines I

EU economic policy coordination tries to bridge the gap between the single currency, the euro, and national economic policies.

The Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) treats the economic policies of the member states as a common concern. The Council coordinates the economic policies by adopting broad economic policy guidelines (BEPG). The Commission reports on and the Council monitors the economic developments.

If the economic policies of an EU member state are inconsistent with the guidelines or risk the economic and monetary union (EMU), the Council can adopt recommendations, which may be made public.

***

Article 99 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is found in the latest consolidated version of the current treaties, published in the Official Journal of the European Union 29.12.2006 C 321 E/82-83:

Part Three – Community policies

Title VII – Economic and monetary policy

Chapter 1 – Economic policy

Article 99

1. Member States shall regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern and shall coordinate them within the Council, in accordance with the provisions of Article 98.

2. The Council shall, acting by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the Commission, formulate a draft for the broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and of the Community, and shall report its findings to the European Council.

The European Council shall, acting on the basis of the report from the Council, discuss a conclusion on the broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and of the Community.

On the basis of this conclusion, the Council shall, acting by a qualified majority, adopt a recommendation setting out these broad guidelines. The Council shall inform the European Parliament of its recommendation.

3. In order to ensure closer coordination of economic policies and sustained convergence of the economic performances of the Member States, the Council shall, on the basis of reports submitted by the Commission, monitor economic developments in each of the Member States and in the Community as well as the consistency of economic policies with the broad guidelines referred to in paragraph 2, and regularly carry out an overall assessment.

For the purpose of this multilateral surveillance, Member States shall forward information to the Commission about important measures taken by them in the field of their economic policy and such other information as they deem necessary.

4. Where it is established, under the procedure referred to in paragraph 3, that the economic policies of a Member State are not consistent with the broad guidelines referred to in paragraph 2 or that they risk jeopardising the proper functioning of economic and monetary union, the Council may, acting by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the Commission, make the necessary recommendations to the Member State concerned. The Council may, acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, decide to make its recommendations public.

The President of the Council and the Commission shall report to the European Parliament on the results of multilateral surveillance. The President of the Council may be invited to appear before the competent committee of the European Parliament if the Council has made its recommendations public.

5. The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 252, may adopt detailed rules for the multilateral surveillance procedure referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Article.

***

We notice that the Council acts on a recommendation by the Commission, when the economic policies of a member state are not consistent with the broad guidelines.

Next, we look at the corresponding proposal of the European Convention.


Ralf Grahn