Saturday 26 March 2011

Spring European Council summary

Following the two days of the European Council meeting, we look at the materials on offer to those who want to know more.

First day summary

After the first day, 24 March 2011, the European Council communicated 'A collective guarantee of eurozone stability', which announced agreement on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which will replace the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), as well as the conclusion of the Euro Plus Pact, which will be joined by Poland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia.

EUCO summary page

The official summary of the spring European Council 24 to 25 March 2011 is on offer on the web page 'Deal on reinforced economic governance'.

With regard to the economic policy issues, the web page presents the following brief overview, with a few seemingly helpful links to more detailed sources:


As part of the governance package, the summit finalised the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a permanent fund which in 2013 will replace the temporary one to support eurozone countries in the event of major economic difficulties. It also adopted the Euro Plus Pact, which will step up economic coordination with the aim of improving competitiveness. In addition to the eurozone countries, Bulgaria, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania have decided to participate in the Pact, which remains open for other EU member states to join.

Within the new framework of the European Semester, a six-month period during which member states' economic and budgetary policies are monitored in parallel, the European Council endorsed the priorities for fiscal consolidation and structural reform. All member states will translate these priorities into concrete measures to be included in their Stability or Convergence Programmes and National Reform Programmes.

European Council conclusions

The web page links to the conclusions of the spring European Council in English:

European Council: Conclusions 24/25 March 2011; Brussels, 25 March 2011 (EUCO 10/11; 34 pages)

However, the European Council conclusions are available in all 23 official EU languages.

Page 1 offers a brief introduction to the economic (and other) issues:

Over the last months, Europe has gone through a serious financial crisis. Although economic recovery in Europe is now on track, risks remain and we must continue our determined action. We adopted today a comprehensive package of measures which should allow us to turn the corner of the financial crisis and continue our path towards sustainable growth. This package will strengthen the economic governance of the European Union and ensure the lasting stability of the euro area as a whole. We also agreed robust action at the EU level to stimulate growth by strengthening the Single Market, reducing the overall burden of regulation and promoting trade with third countries.

European Stability Mechanism (ESM) etc.

If we return to the summary page, the link concerning the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) takes us back to the general conclusions of the European Council.

So does the link for the Euro Plus Pact.

Likewise for the link about the European Semester.

In other words, after the end of the second day these links offer us nothing beyond the official conclusions of the European Council. They have become redundant.

The same goes for some other links on the home page of the European Council.

Ralf Grahn

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