Thursday, 9 October 2008

EU: Excessive government deficits V

What, if anything, has been said about the amendments in Article 126 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) with regard to excessive government deficits? Let us look at some legal materials.



Professor Steve Peers covered the Treaty of Lisbon in a number of Statewatch Analyses. ‘EU Reform Treaty Analysis no. 3.4: Revised text of Part Three, Titles VII to XVII of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Other internal EC policies’ (Version 2, 24 October 2007) includes the current Title VII Economic and monetary policy.

Peers presented the text of Article 104 TFEU (ToL), to be renumbered Article 126 TFEU in the consolidated version, and highlighted the changes. He offered the following comment (page 10):

“The Commission has enhanced power to give warnings and to make a proposal instead of a recommendation in one case (this makes it harder for the Council to change the Commission’s proposal).”

The analysis 3.4 and other useful Statewatch analyses are available through:



The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers a convenient source of brief annotations on Lisbon Treaty amendments in ‘A comparative table of the current EC and EU treaties as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon’ (Command Paper 7311, published 21 January 2008). It offers the following comment on Article 126 TFEU, Article 104 TFEU (ToL) in the original Lisbon Treaty (page 12):

“Draws on Article 104 TEC. Main new elements in the excessive deficit procedure are
─ the Commission opinion is to be issued to the Member State concerned and the Council is to be informed
─ paragraph 13 change to majority required for decision-making.”

The FCO comparative table is available at:


House of Commons Library

The UK House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/86 ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Community’ (published 6 December 2007) discussed ‘H. Economic and Monetary Policy’ on pages 61 to 64. Article 104 TFEU (ToL) is described on page 62:

“Article 104 (Constitution Article III-184) covers excessive deficits. As in the Constitution, Article 104(5) (III-184(5)) has been changed to the effect that, if the Commission considers that an excessive deficit has occurred or may occur, it can address an opinion directly to the Member State concerned and inform the Council. Previously, the Commission would address this opinion to the Council. Article 104(7) (Constitution Article III-184(6)) adds that when an excessive deficit is established by the Council, recommendations to correct this will be brought forward without “undue delay”. Council decisions relating to Member States will be made without the vote of the Member State concerned (sub-paragraph 13) by a qualified majority.”

The Research Paper added the following useful comment on page 64:

“While the IGC did not agree on a new Stability and Growth Pact, a Conference Declaration regarding the Pact was annexed to the Treaty (“Declaration on Article 104 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union”), in which the Conference confirms that the Pact is an “important tool” in the Union’s economic and fiscal policy and “reaffirms its commitment to the provisions concerning the Stability and Growth Pact as the framework for the coordination of budgetary policies in the Member States”.”

The Library Research Paper 07/86 is available at:


House of Lords

I found nothing on Article 104 TFEU (ToL) or 126 TFEU in the House of Lords European Union Committee report ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: an impact assessment, Volume I: Report’ (HL Paper 62-I, published 13 March 2008).

The report is available at:


The following post is going to present additional legislative materials on Article 126 TFEU.

Ralf Grahn