Tuesday 30 September 2008

EU: Overdraft facilities prohibited VI

When the OECD countries seem to be gliding into recession or at least slower growth, strained public finances are going to take further hits. Desperate times will surely bring forth calls for desperate measures, such as monetary financing.

The previous posting showed the dearth of UK references to Article 123 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), but are the legislative materials from Sweden and Finland more illuminating, when we deal with a provision essentially unchanged?

Perhaps legislative documents could be more generous in reminding their readers of the ‘acquis communautaire’ (community patrimony), in addition to highlighting the amendments at hand. All of a sudden the existing rules have to be remembered…



The consultation paper ’Lissabonfördraget’ was the first official Swedish description of the Lisbon Treaty amendments, and it is available at:


It was followed by the Swedish government’s draft ratification bill ‘Lagrådsremiss – Lissabonfördraget’, published 29 May 2008:


The draft bill was given a green light by the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet):


The latest official government view, and now my standard reference for Sweden, is the ratification bill (Regeringens proposition 2007/08:168 Lissabonfördraget; 3 July 2008):


The Swedish parliament (Riksdagen) is expected to decide on approval in late autumn, probably November.

Economic and monetary policy (23.2 Ekonomisk och monetär politik) is discussed on pages 180 to 185. The Swedish government explains the basic rules in Article 101 TFEU (ToL), on page 184:

”I artiklarna 101–103 i EG-fördraget finns bestämmelser om förbud för Europeiska centralbanken (ECB) och nationella centralbanker att ge de gemensamma institutionerna eller de nationella offentliga organen, inklusive statsägda företag, rätt att övertrassera sina konton eller ge dem andra former av krediter. ECB eller centralbankerna får inte heller direkt från dem förvärva skuldförbindelser. En positiv särbehandling av gemenskapsorgan eller nationella offentliga institutioner eller företag är likaså förbjuden. ”



The Finnish ratification bill, ‘Hallituksen esitys Eduskunnalle Euroopan unionista tehdyn sopimuksen ja Euroopan yhteisön perustamissopimuksen muuttamisesta tehdyn Lissabonin sopimuksen hyväksymisestä ja laiksi sen lainsäädännön alaan kuuluvien määräysten voimaansaattamisesta’ (HE 23/2008 vp), discusses economic and monetary policy (Talous- ja rahapolitiikka) on pages 209 to 214.

The ratification bill briefly remarks on the unchanged nature of Article 101 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 123 TFEU (page 210):

”101 artiklaa (uusi 123 artikla), joka koskee Euroopan keskuspankin ja jäsenvaltioiden keskuspankkien tilinylitysoikeuksia ja muita luottojärjestelyjä, ei muuteta.”

The Finnish ratification bill is available at:


The Swedish language version of the ratification bill ‘Regeringens proposition till Riksdagen med förslag om godkännande av Lissabonfördraget om ändring av fördraget om Europeiska unionen och fördraget om upprättandet av Europeiska gemenskapen och till lag om sättande i kraft av de bestämmelser i fördraget som hör till området för lagstiftningen’ (RP 23/2008 rd), makes the same remarks under ’Ekonomisk och monetär politik’ about Article 100 TFEU (ToL), the future Article 122 TFEU, on page 213:

” Artikel 101 (blivande artikel 123), som gäller Europeiska centralbankens och medlemsstaternas centralbankers rätt att övertrassera sina konton och andra kreditarrangemang, ändras inte.”

The ratification bill in Swedish can be accessed at:




Étienne de Poncins offers a few general comments on EU economic governance and budget matters, ‘La gouvernance économique et les questions budgétaires’ in his ‘Le traité de Lisbonne en 27 clés’ (Éditions Lignes de Repères, 2008), page 245─251.


‚Der Vertrag von Lissabon‘, by Klemens H. Fischer (Nomos, Stämpfli & Verlag Österreich, 2008), traces the amendments Article by Article; here on page 264. The horizontal amendments are described as „mandatsbedingt redaktionell geändert“.


François-Xavier Priollaud and David Siritzky offer a short introductory explanation on economic and monetary policy (pages 246 and 247) and on economic policy coordination, including the treaty amendments (pages 248 to 250) in their book ‘Le traité de Lisbonne – Commentaire, article par article, des nouveaux traités européens (TUE et TFUE)’ (La Documentation française, Paris, 2008), but I found no comment on monetary financing.


Europa web site

The Europa web site offers links to various topics concerning EU ‘Economic and Monetary Affairs’:




The prohibition on overdraft facilities is far from new, but there are still adjustments to make in some of the newer member states.

Here is an excerpt from the European Central Bank’s press release ‘Publication of the ECB Convergence Report 2008’ (7 May 2008):

“Legislation in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden does not comply with all the requirements for central bank independence or legal integration into the Eurosystem. In addition, legislation in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Poland and Romania does not fully comply with the monetary financing prohibition.”

The ECB press release is available at:

The European Central Bank’s ‘Convergence Report May 2008’ is available in 22 EU languages. The English version can be accessed at:


Section 2.2.4 ‘Prohibition on monetary financing and privileged access’, from page 22, offers an illuminating view of Article 101 TEC (and Article 123 TFEU).

Ralf Grahn

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