Friday, 21 May 2010

EMU: Publishing decisions on excessive deficits

Due to the eurozone crisis, we have checked how little of the decisions and positions have been reflected centrally on Eur-Lex, the legal portal: in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) or under preparatory acts (COM and SEC documents). There are considerable gaps.

Transparency is more than eventual publication for historians.

The publication today, 21 May 2010, of a number of Council Decisions within the larger context of budgetary discipline is naturally a positive addition, but timely publication would be even better.

The ten decisions were all made on 19 January 2010, so they put into question the usefulness of the OJEU as a source for up-to-date legal information.

See OJEU 21.5.2010 L 125.



Excessive deficits

According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU):

Article 126(6) TFEU

6. The Council shall, on a proposal from the Commission, and having considered any observations which the Member State concerned may wish to make, decide after an overall assessment whether an excessive deficit exists.


On 19 January 2010 the Council concluded that excessive deficits existed in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia.





COUNCIL DECISION 2010/282/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Austria





COUNCIL DECISION 2010/283/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Belgium






COUNCIL DECISION 2010/284/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in the Czech Republic





COUNCIL DECISION 2010/285/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Germany





COUNCIL DECISION 2010/288/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Portugal





COUNCIL DECISION 2010/289/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Slovenia





COUNCIL DECISION 2010/290/EU of 19 January 2010 on the existence of an excessive deficit in Slovakia



Excessive deficit procedure (EDP) Greece

According to the treaty, the next steps in the excessive deficit procedure are:


Article 126(7)-(9) TFEU

7. Where the Council decides, in accordance with paragraph 6, that an excessive deficit exists, it shall adopt, without undue delay, on a recommendation from the Commission, recommendations addressed to the Member State concerned with a view to bringing that situation to an end within a given period. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 8, these recommendations shall not be made public.

8. Where it establishes that there has been no effective action in response to its recommendations within the period laid down, the Council may make its recommendations public.

9. If a Member State persists in failing to put into practice the recommendations of the Council, the Council may decide to give notice to the Member State to take, within a specified time limit, measures for the deficit reduction which is judged necessary by the Council in order to remedy the situation.

In such a case, the Council may request the Member State concerned to submit reports in accordance with a specific timetable in order to examine the adjustment efforts of that Member State.


In the case of Greece, the Council concluded that it has not taken effective action in response to the Council Recommendation of 27 April 2009 within the period laid down in that Recommendation.




COUNCIL DECISION 2010/291/EU of 19 January 2010 establishing whether effective action has been taken by Greece in response to the Council Recommendation of 27 April 2009



Comment

The financial, economic and sovereign debt crises have left questions with regard to the publishing parameters and the timeliness of publication of official information on Eur-Lex.




Ralf Grahn