European Fiscal Compact
|Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union|
|Drafted||30 January 2012(treaty finalised)|
|Signed||2 March 2012|
|Effective||1 January 2013|
|Condition||Ratified by twelve eurozone countries|
|Signatories||25 EU member states (All except: Croatia, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom)|
|Depositary||General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union|
|Languages||22 (All EU languages except Croatian & Czech)|
|Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union at Wikisource|
The Fiscal Compact (formally, the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union; also referred to as TSCG or more plainly the Fiscal Stability Treaty), is an intergovernmental treaty introduced as a new stricter version of the previous Stability and Growth Pact, signed on 2 March 2012 by all member states of the European Union (EU), except the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. (Croatia subsequently acceded to the EU in July 2013.)
The treaty entered into force on 1 January 2013 for the 16 states which completed ratification prior of this date. For subsequent ratifiers, it will enter into force on the first day of the month following the deposit of ratification instruments. While the entire treaty applies to ratifying Eurozone states, only Title V, covering euro summit participation, automatically applies for ratifying non-Eurozone member states. Non-Eurozone member states can attach a declaration to their instruments of ratification stating their desire to also be bound by the treaty's fiscal provisions (Title III) and/or enhanced economic co-ordination provisions (Title IV). Both Denmark and Romania have declared themselves to be bound by all treaty titles.
Member states bound by the fiscal provisions of the treaty are required to have enacted, within one year of the Fiscal Compact entering into force for them, a domestic "implementation law" establishing a self-correcting mechanism, guided by the monthly surveillance of a governmentally independent fiscal advisory council, which shall guarantee their national budget be in balance or surplus under the treaty's definition. The treaty defines a balanced budget as a general budget deficit less than 3.0% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and a structural deficit of less than 1.0% of GDP if the debt-to-GDP ratio is significantly below 60% -or else it shall be below 0.5% of GDP. The treaty also contains a direct copy of the "debt brake" criteria outlined in the Stability and Growth Pact, which defines the rate at which debt levels above the limit of 60% of GDP shall decrease.
If the budget or estimated fiscal account for any ratifying state is found to be noncompliant with the deficit or debt criteria, the state is obliged to rectify the issue. If a state is in breach at the time of the treaty's entry into force, the correction will be deemed to be sufficient if it delivers sufficiently large annual improvements to remain on a country specific predefined "adjustment path" towards the limits at a midterm horizon. Should a state suffer a significant recession, it will be exempted from the requirement to deliver a fiscal correction for as long as it lasts.
Despite being an International treaty outside the EU legal framework, all treaty provisions function as an extension to existing EU regulations, utilising the same reporting instruments and organisational structures already created within EU in the three areas: Budget discipline enforced by Stability and Growth Pact (extended by Title III), Coordination of economic policies (extended by Title IV), and Governance within the EMU (extended by Title V). If a ratifying state bound by the fiscal provisions of the Fiscal Compact fails to enact the required "implementation law" within one year of the treaty's entry into force, it can ultimately be fined up to 0.1% of its GDP by the Court of Justice of the EU.
The treaty states that the signatories shall attempt to incorporate the Fiscal Compact into the EU's legal framework, on the basis of an assessment of the experience with its implementation, by 1 January 2018 at the latest.
- 1 History
- 2 Content
- 3 Ratification
- 4 Fiscal compliance
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Monetary policy in the Eurozone (the EU countries which have adopted the Euro) is determined by the European Central Bank (ECB). Thus the setting of central bank interest rates and monetary easing is in the sole domain of the ECB, while taxation and government expenditure remain mostly under the control of national governments, within the balanced budget limits imposed by the Stability and Growth Pact. The EU has a monetary union but not a fiscal union.
In October 2007, then ECB president, Jean-Claude Trichet, emphasised the need for the European Union (EU) to pursue further economic and financial integration within certain areas (amongst others labour mobility and flexibility and reaching retail banking convergence). If these fiscal policies were adhered to by all member states, the ECB believed that this would increase their competitiveness. In June 2009, recommendations were published by The Economist magazine and the International Monetary Fund which suggested that Europe establish a fiscal union comprising a: Bailout fund, banking union, mechanism to ensure the same prudent fiscal and economic policies were pursued equally by all states, and common issuance of eurobonds. Angel Ubide from the Peterson Institute for International Economics joined this view, suggesting that long term stability in the eurozone required a common fiscal policy rather than controls on portfolio investment.
Response to the sovereign debt crisis
Starting from early 2010, the proposal to create a much greater fiscal union, at least in the eurozone, was considered by many[vague] to be either the natural next step in European integration, or a necessary solution to the 2010 European sovereign debt crisis. Combined with the EMU, a fiscal union would, according to the authors of the Blueprint report, lead to much greater economic integration. However, the process of building a fiscal union is envisaged by them to be a long-term project. The presidents of the ECB, Commission, Council and Eurogroup published a blueprint for a deep and genuine EMU in November 2012, outlining the elements of a fiscal union which could be achieved in the short, medium and long-term. For the short term (0–18 months), only proposals within the existing competences of the EU treaties were considered, while more wide-reaching proposals requiring treaty amendments were only considered for longer time frames.
The blueprint report mentioned that the potential introduction of a common issuance of eurobills with 1-year maturity could be implemented in the medium term (18 months – 5 years ahead), while eurobonds with 10-year maturity could be implemented as the final step in the long-term (more than 5 years ahead). According to the authors of the Blueprint report, each step the EU take towards the sharing of common debt, the first of which is envisaged to include joint guarantees for debt repayment in conjunction with either a "debt redemption fund for excessive debt" or "issuance of some short-term eurobills", will need to be accompanied by increased coordination and harmonization of fiscal and economic policies in the eurozone. As such, the two reforms of the Stability and Growth Pact known as the sixpack (which entered into force December 2011) and twopack (planned entry into force in summer 2013), and the European Fiscal Compact (a treaty which largely mirrors these two EU reforms), represents, according to the authors of the Blueprint report, the first step towards the increased sharing and adherence to the same fiscal rules and economic policies, which they argue potentially paves the way for ratification in the medium term of a new EU treaty allowing for the common issuance of eurobills.
Proposal development: Sixpack, Twopack and Fiscal Compact
In March 2010, Germany presented a series of proposals to address the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis. They emphasised that the intention was not to establish a fiscal union in the short term, but to make the monetary union more resilient to crisis. They argued that the previous Stability and Growth Pact needed to be reformed to become more strict and efficient, and in return a European emergency bailout fund should be founded to assist states in financial difficulties, with bailout payments available under strict corrective fiscal action agreements – subject to approval by the ECB and Eurogroup. In case a non-collaborating state with an Excessive Deficit Procedure breached the called for adjustment path towards compliance, it should risk being fined or lose its payment of EU cohesion funds and/or lose its political voting rights in the Eurogroup. A call was also made to enforce the Coordination of economic policies between eurozone members, so that all states take an active part in each other’s policymaking. Throughout the following three years, these German proposals materialised into new European agreements or regulations after negotiations with the other EU member states.
The envisaged emergency bailout fund European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) was the first proposal to become agreed to by the EU member states on 9 May 2010, with the facility being fully operational on 4 August 2010.
As a part of the proposed reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, Germany also presented a proposal in May 2010 that all Eurozone states should be obliged to adopt a balanced budget framework law into its national legislation, preferably at the constitutional level, with the purpose of guaranteeing future compliance with the pacts promise of having a clear cap on new debt, strict budgetary discipline and balanced budgets. Implementation of the proposed debt brake was by-itself envisaged to imply much tighter fiscal discipline compared to the existing EU rules requiring deficits of less than 3% of GDP. This proposal was later adopted as part of both the Fiscal Compact and Twopack regulations.
|This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (May 2013)|
In late 2010, proposals were made to reform some rules of the Stability and Growth Pact to strengthen fiscal policy co-ordination. In February 2011, France and Germany had proposed the 'Competitiveness Pact' to strengthen economic co-ordination in the eurozone. Spain also endorsed the proposed pact. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also verbally championed the idea of a fiscal union, as have various incumbent European finance ministers and the head of the European Central Bank.
In March 2011, a new reform of the Stability and Growth Pact was initiated, aiming at strengthening the rules by adopting an automatic procedure for imposing penalties in case of breaches of either the deficit or the debt rules.
By the end of 2011, Germany, France and some other smaller EU countries went a step further and vowed to create a fiscal union across the eurozone with strict and enforceable fiscal rules and automatic penalties embedded in the EU treaties. German chancellor Angela Merkel also insisted that the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union must play an "important role" in ensuring that countries meet their obligations.
In that perspective, strong European Commission "oversight in the fields of taxation and budgetary policy and the enforcement mechanisms that go with it could further infringe upon the sovereignty of eurozone member states". Think-tanks such as the World Pensions Council (WPC) have argued that a profound revision of the Lisbon Treaty would be unavoidable if Germany were to succeed in imposing its economic views, as stringent orthodoxy across the budgetary, fiscal and regulatory fronts would necessarily go beyond the treaty in its current form, thus further reducing the individual prerogatives of national governments.
|This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (May 2013)|
On 9 December 2011 at the European Council meeting, all 17 members of the eurozone agreed on the basic outlines of a new intergovernmental treaty to put strict caps on government spending and borrowing, with penalties for those countries who violate the limits. All other non-eurozone countries except the United Kingdom said they were also prepared to join in, subject to parliamentary vote. Originally EU leaders planned to change existing EU treaties but this was blocked by British prime minister David Cameron, who demanded that the City of London be excluded from future financial regulations, including the proposed EU financial transaction tax, thus a separate treaty was then envisaged, outside the formal EU institutions, as it had been with the first Schengen treaty in 1985.
On 30 January 2012 after several weeks of negotiations, all EU leaders except those from United Kingdom and Czech Republic endorsed the final version of the fiscal pact at the European summit in Brussels, though the treaty was left open to accession by any EU member state and Czech prime minister Petr Nečas said his country may join in the future. The treaty only becomes binding on the non-eurozone signatory states after they adopt the euro as their currency, unless they declare their intention to be bound by part, or all, of the treaty at an earlier date. The new treaty was signed on 2 March and will come into force on 1 January 2013, if it has been ratified (which requires the approval of national parliaments) by at least 12 countries that use the euro. Ireland held a referendum on the treaty on 31 May 2012, which was approved by 60.3%.
EU countries that signed the agreement will have to ratify it by 1 January 2013. Once a country has ratified the Treaty it has another year, until 1 January 2014, to implement a balanced budget rule in their binding legislation. Only countries with such rule in their legal code by 1 March 2013 will be eligible to apply for bailout money from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
Although the European Fiscal Compact was negotiated between 25 of the then 27 member states of the EU, it is not formally part of European Union law. It does, however, contain a provision to attempt to incorporate the pact into the Treaties establishing the European Union within five years of its entering into force.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
The treaty is divided into 6 titles, which are numbered with Roman numbers. The first title states that the aim of the treaty is to "strengthen the economic pillar of the economic and monetary union" and that the treaty should be fully binding on Eurozone countries. Title II defines the relation with EU laws and the Treaties of the European Union, applying the Fiscal Compact only "insofar as it is compatible". Title VI contains the final clauses regarding ratification and entry into force.
Three Titles (Titles III+IV+V) contain rules regarding organization of the Eurozone and fiscal compliance
Fiscal Compact (Title III)
- Balanced budget rule: General government budgets shall be "balanced" or in surplus. The treaty defines a balanced budget as a general budget deficit less than 3.0% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and a structural deficit of less than 1.0% of GDP if the debt-to-GDP ratio is significantly below 60% – or else it shall be below 0.5% of GDP.
This rule is based upon the existing country-specific Medium-Term budgetary Objective's (MTO)'s, which were introduced by the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) in 2005, with an upper limit for structural deficits at 1.0% of GDP applying to all Eurozone and ERM-II member states. The Fiscal Compact introduced a varying upper limit which depends on the debt-level of the state. When comparing the new MTO rule with existing SGP MTOs in 2012 for all EU member states, only Hungary and the UK would have been subject to the stricter MTO at 0.5% of GDP had they been bound by the fiscal provision of the treaty.
- Debt brake rule: Member States whose government debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds the 60% reference level, shall reduce it at an average rate of at least one twentieth (5%) per year of the exceeded percentage points, where the calculated average period shall be either the 3-year period covering the last fiscal year and forecasts for the current and next year' or the last three fiscal years. For example, if the debt-to-GDP ratio is 80% in the year preceding the last year, then it should for the period covering the last year and the subsequent two years decline with at least: 1/20 * 20% = 1.0 percentage point per year, resulting in a ratio below 77.0% three years later. This debt rule has already been formulated as law under EU Regulation 1467/97, which was amended by the EU six pack of reforms. As it is also an essential part of the Treaty on Stability, the signatories are encouraged to refer to EU Regulation 1467/97 when they implement the rule into domestic law. The new strict debt brake rule entered into force at the EU level on 13 December 2011. However, all 23 out of 27 EU Member States with an ongoing EDP in November 2011 are granted a 3-year exemption to comply with the debt brake rule, which will start in the year where the member state manages to get their current EDP abrogated. For example, this means that Ireland will only be obliged to comply with the debt brake rule in 2019, if they -as currently expected- manage to correct their EDP in 2015 (with a subsequent abrogation of the EDP in 2016). During the years where the 23 out of 27 EU member states are exempted to comply with the new debt brake rule, they will still be obliged to comply with the "old debt brake rule" that requires debt-to-GDP ratios in excess of 60% to be "sufficiently diminished" – meaning it must approach the 60% reference value at a satisfactory pace in the three-year period covering the most recent fiscal year and the forecasts for the current and subsequent year. Only when debt levels stay below 60% of GDP, they are allowed to increase on a yearly basis.
- Automatic correction mechanism: If it becomes clear that the fiscal reality does not comply with the "balanced budget rule" or "debt brake rule", an automatic correction mechanism should be triggered. The exact implementation of this mechanism will be defined individually by each Member State, but it has to comply with the basic principles outlined by the European Commission's directive published in June 2012. This directive also contains common principles for the role and independence of institutions (such as a Fiscal Advisory Council) responsible at national level for monitoring the observance of the rules, which is one of the key elements to ensure that the "automatic correction mechanism" will actually work.
- Correction of deficit/debt deviations: If a deviation is discovered, the automatic correction mechanism shall immediately correct the situation, unless the deviation has been caused by "extraordinary events outside control of the Member State" or the arrival of a severe economic downturn. Member States which were already subject to an "Excessive Deficit Procedure" (EDP) in November 2011 do not immediately have to start correcting the figures down to the treaty limits, but have to comply with the "adjustment path" towards reaching their country-specific Medium-Term budgetary Objective (MTO), as outlined in its latest Stability/Convergence report, which each year by the end of May is subject to approval by the European Commission. The adjustment path towards reaching a MTO shall at minimum entail annual structural deficit improvements of 0.5% of GDP. The MTO depicts the maximum average structural deficit per year the country can afford, when targeting that the debt-to-GDP ratios shall be below 60% by the latest in 2030, while also including the need each year for [clarify]
- Economic Partnership Programmes: Member States under an Excessive Deficit Procedure shall submit to the Commission and the Council an economic partnership programme for endorsement, detailing the necessary structural reforms to ensure an effective and durable correction of the excessive deficits. This shall be done each year in April, as part of the National Reform Programme report submitted to the Commission. The implementation of the programme, and the yearly budgetary plans consistent with it, are monitored not only by the state's Fiscal Advicery Council established by the treaty, but also by the Commission and the Council.
- Debt issuance co-ordination: Parties to the treaty need to report their plans for borrowing on the capital market to the European Council and the European Commission for "better coordination and planning".
- Embedding the Fiscal Compact rules into domestic law: All rules mentioned above shall be embedded in the national legal system of each state at the statutory level or higher, no later than 12 months after the treaty entered into force for the state. The European Commission is responsible for monitoring this, and shall submit an evaluation report. If any state legally bound by the fiscal provisions (Title III of the treaty) is reported to have a non-compliant implementation law, or if any ratifying state believes another states implementation law is non-compliant after the deadline for compliance, then the Court of Justice can be asked to judge the case, and in the event of finding support for the claim it will submit an enforcement ruling on the matter with a new deadline for compliance. If compliance issues continue to exist after several notifications by the Court of Justice to the State, then the court will impose a penalty payment of up to 0.1% of its GDP. The fine goes either to the ESM (if a Eurozone state is fined) or to the general EU budget (in case of fines imposed on non-eurozone state).
Economic policy co-ordination and convergence (Title IV)
- Implementation and co-ordination of policies improving competitiveness, employment, public fiscal sustainability and financial stability: Member States are required to "take the necessary actions and measures in all the areas which are essential to the proper functioning of the euro area in pursuit of the objectives of fostering competitiveness, promoting employment, contributing further to the sustainability of public finances and reinforcing financial stability". All major economic policy reforms that a member state plans to undertake shall be discussed ex-ante and – where appropriate – coordinated among the Eurozone members (including those non-Eurozone states bound by Title IV) and with the institutions of the European Union. As such, this rule can be argued to be similar to the commitments in the Euro Plus Pact.
- Enhanced fiscal co-ordination and enhanced co-operation: Contracting parties are committed, "to make active use whenever appropriate and necessary" of two additional instruments: 1) "Measures specific to those Member States whose currency is the euro, as provided for in article 136 of the TFEU" (which relates to the already existing enhanced and more strict Stability and Growth Pact regulations applying only for Eurozone member states), and 2) "Enhanced co-operation, as provided for by the existing article 20 in the Treaty on European Union...on matters that are essential for the proper functioning of the euro area without undermining the internal market".
Governance of the Eurozone (Title V)
- Meetings for ongoing policy governance: Title V of the treaty provides for Euro summits to take place at least twice a year, chaired by the President of the Euro summit, to be appointed by Eurozone countries for a term that runs concurrent to the term of the President of the European Council. The meeting members include all heads of state from the Eurozone and the President of the European Commission, while the President of the European Central Bank is also invited. Agendas for the summits are limited to: "questions relating to the specific responsibilities which the Contracting Parties whose currency is the euro share with regard to the single currency, other issues concerning the governance of the euro area and the rules that apply to it, and strategic orientations for the conduct of economic policies to increase convergence in the euro area." All heads of state from non-eurozone states which have ratified the treaty are also invited to take part in the meetings for agenda items related to: "competitiveness for the Contracting Parties, the modification of the global architecture of the euro area and the fundamental rules that will apply to it in the future, as well as, when appropriate and at least once a year, in discussions on specific issues of implementation of this Treaty". The Eurogroup has been tasked with preparing and conducting the follow up work between Euro summit meetings, and for that purpose the President of the Eurogroup may also be invited to attend the summits.
The above points will in practice function as a supplement/extension to the pre-existing EU regulations for the Stability and Growth Pact (extended by Title III), Coordination of economic policies (extended by Title IV), and Governance within the EMU – where Title V of the treaty specifically formalises a regulation for the existing Euro summit meetings of Eurozone members. Finally a tie also exist to the ESM treaty, which requires its Member States to have ratified and implemented the "Treaty on Stability" into national law as a pre-condition for receiving financial support from the European Stability Mechanism.
Stability and Growth Pact regulation
The fiscal provisions introduced by the Fiscal Compact treaty (for those states legally bound by these measures) function as an extension to the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) regulation. The SGP regulation applies to all EU member states, and has been designed to ensure that each states yearly budgetary plans are compliant with the SGP's limits for deficit and debt (or reduction of debt). Compliance is monitored by the European Commission and by the Council. As soon as a Member State is considered to breach the 3% budget deficit ceiling or does not comply with the debt-level rules, the Commission initiates an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) and submits a proposal for counter-measures for the member state to correct the situation. The counter measures will only be outlined in general, identifying the size and the time-frame of the needed corrective action to be undertaken, while taking into consideration country-specific risks for fiscal sustainability. Progress towards and respect of each specific state's Medium-Term budgetary Objective (MTO) shall be evaluated on the basis of an overall assessment with the structural balance as a reference, including an analysis of expenditure net of discretionary revenue measures. If a Eurozone member state repeatedly breaches its "adjustment path" towards respecting the state's MTO and the fiscal limits outlined by the SGP, then the Commission may grant this state a fine equal to a percentage of its GDP. Such fines can only be rejected if the Council subsequently votes against the fine with a qualified 2/3 majority. EU member states outside the eurozone can not be fined for potential breaches of the fiscal rules.
As of October 8, 2013, the Fiscal Compact had been ratified by 16 of 17 eurozone states, and by 7 of the 8 other signatories. In December 2012, Finland became the twelfth eurozone state to ratify the treaty, thus triggering its entry into force on 1 January 2013. For subsequent ratifiers, entry into force is on the first day of the month following their deposit of the instrument of ratification. Slovakia became a party to the treaty on 1 February 2013, as did Hungary, Luxembourg and Sweden on 1 June 2013, Malta on 1 July 2013, Poland on 1 September 2013 and the Netherlands on 1 November 2013. However, the provisions regarding governance are already applicable for all signatories.
The treaty applies in full to all Eurozone members, pursuant to article 3. For other countries Title V of the treaty applies, while they may make a declaration to the Depositary to be bound by (part of) the provisions of Titles III and IV. As of May 2013, the non-Eurozone countries Denmark and Romania declared themselves to be bound in full.
The ratification processes is summarised in the table below. 23 countries submitted laws for ratification of the treaty according to a standard parliamentary ratification procedure. In Cyprus, ratification was performed by a governmental decree without involving the parliament. In Ireland, a referendum was held to approve a constitutional amendment that empowered the government to ratify the treaty. The last column of the table below reflects the status of compliant implementation laws, and denotes if the law has been enacted through an ordinary law or -also- with a constitutional amendment.
|Austria[a]||4 Jul 2012||Federal Council||50%||103||60||0||30 Jul 2012||||Ordinary law
|6 Jul 2012||National Council||50%||42||13||0|||
|17 Jul 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Belgium[a]||23 May 2013||Senate||50%||49||9||2||||No
(must enact a law)
|20 Jun 2013||Chamber of Representatives||50%||111||23||0|||
|18 Jul 2013||Royal Assent||–||Granted|||
|14 Oct 2013||German-speaking Community||50%||19||5||0|||
|Brussels Regional Parliament||50%|||
|Brussels United Assembly||50%[b]|
|19 Dec 2012||
|Bulgaria||28 Nov 2013||National Assembly||50%||109||0||5||||No (not required
until euro adoption)
|3 Dec 2013||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Cyprus[a]||20 Apr 2012||Council of Ministers||–||Approved||26 Jul 2012||||No
(must enact a law)
|29 Jun 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Denmark[c]||31 May 2012||Folketing||50%||80||27||0||19 Jul 2012||||Ordinary law
|18 Jun 2012||Royal Assent||–||Granted|||
|Estonia[a]||17 Oct 2012||Riigikogu||50%||63||0||0||5 Dec 2012||||No
(must enact a law)
|5 Nov 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Finland[a]||18 Dec 2012||Parliament||50%||139||38||1||21 Dec 2012||||Ordinary law
|21 Dec 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|France[a]||11 Oct 2012||Senate||50%[d]||307 (91%)||32 (9%)||8||26 Nov 2012||||Ordinary law
|9 Oct 2012||National Assembly||50%[d]||477 (87%)||70 (13%)||21|||
|22 Oct 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Germany[a]||29 Jun 2012||Bundesrat||66.7%||65||0||4||27 Sep 2012||||Constitutional
|29 Jun 2012||Bundestag||66.7%||491||111||6|||
|13 Sep 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Greece[a]||28 Mar 2012||Parliament||50%||194||59||0||10 May 2012||||No
(must enact a law)
|Hungary||25 Mar 2013||National Assembly||66.7%||307||32||13||15 May 2013||||Constitutional
|29 Mar 2013||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Ireland[a]||20 Apr 2012||Dáil||50%||93||21||N/A||14 Dec 2012||||Ordinary law
|24 Apr 2012||Senate||50%||Approved|||
|31 May 2012||Referendum||50%||60.3%||39.7%||N/A|||
|27 Jun 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Italy[a]||12 Jul 2012||Senate||50%||216||24||21||14 Sep 2012||||Constitutional
|19 Jul 2012||Chamber of Deputies||50%||368||65||65|||
|23 Jul 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Latvia||31 May 2012||Parliament||66.7%[e]||67 (69%)||29 (30%)||1 (1%)||22 Jun 2012||||Ordinary law
|13 Jun 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Lithuania||28 Jun 2012||Seimas||50% and
min. 57 yes votes
|80||11||21||6 Sep 2012||||Ordinary law
|4 Jul 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Luxembourg[a]||27 Feb 2013||Chamber of Deputies||66.7%[f]||46||10||0||8 May 2013||||No
(must enact a law)
|29 Mar 2013||Grand Ducal Assent||–||Granted|||
|Malta[a]||11 Jun 2013||House of Representatives||||Unanimously||28 Jun 2013||||No
(must enact a law)
|Netherlands[a]||25 Jun 2013||Senate||50%||Approved without vote[g]||8 Oct 2013||||No
(must enact a law)
|26 Mar 2013||House of Representatives||50%||112||33||0|||
|26 Jun 2013||Royal Assent||–||Granted|||
|Poland||21 Feb 2013||Senate||50%[h]||57||26||0||8 Aug 2013||||No (not required
until euro adoption)
|20 Feb 2013||Sejm||50%[h]||282||155||1|||
|24 Jul 2013||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Portugal[a]||13 Apr 2012||Assembly||50%||204||24||2||5 Jul 2012||||Ordinary law
|27 Jun 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Romania[c]||21 May 2012||Senate||50%[i]||89||1||0||6 Nov 2012||||No
(must enact a law)
|8 May 2012||House of Representatives||50%[i]||237||0||2|||
|13 Jun 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Slovakia[a]||18 Dec 2012||National Council||50%
min.76 yes votes
|138||0||2||17 Jan 2013||||Constitutional
|11 Jan 2013||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Slovenia[a]||19 Apr 2012||National Assembly||50%||74||0||2||30 May 2012||||Constitutional
|30 Apr 2012||Presidential Assent||–||Granted|||
|Spain[a]||18 Jul 2012||Senate||50%||240||4||1||27 Sep 2012||||Constitutional
|21 Jun 2012||Congress of Deputies||50%||309||19||1|||
|25 Jul 2012||Royal Assent||–||Granted|||
|Sweden||7 Mar 2013||Riksdagen||50%||251||23||37||3 May 2013||||No (not required
until euro adoption)
- Eurozone member state.
- Approval of the Brussels United Assembly is subject to an absolute majority of both language groups of the parliament (French and Dutch) voting in favour. Failing that, a second vote can be held where only one third of each language group, and a majority of the full house, is required for adoption.
- Non-eurozone state which has declared itself to be fully bound by the treaty prior to its adoption of the euro.
- The French constitutional court ruled that a constitutional amendment was not required to ratify the treaty, meaning that the French parliament could approve it with a simple majority.
- A vote with 2/3 constitutional majority of present MPs was needed, as the treaty delegated a part of the national competencies to International institutions.
- The Council of State of Luxembourg advised the parliament that even though the treaty's ratification did not require any changes to the constitution, it should still be approved by a 2/3 majority in parliament, as new powers – related to the validity check of enacted "implementation laws" – were transferred from the national level to the Commission and Court of Justice of the European Union. The responsible parliamentary Committee for Finances and the Budget decided in line with the Council of State's advice for a 2/3 majority for reasons of legal certainty of the law.
- It was formally noted (Dutch: Aantekening verleend) that the SP (8 of the 75 seats) would have voted against the proposal, had there been a vote.
- As none of the Fiscal Compact provisions result in transfer of state authority competence to international organisations (EU) or international institutions (EU institutions), while the implementation into national law is possible without changing the Polish constitution, the ratification will only requirer a passing by simple majority in both chambers of the parliament.
- The constitution requires all EU treaties to be passed with a two-thirds absolute majority in a joint session by the Senate and House of Representatives. As the Fiscal Compact was an intergovernmental treaty without provisions requirering a change of the constitution, it was however sufficient to ratify the treaty by votes with simple majority, in both chambers.
Ratification in progress
After a country has completed its domestic ratification, it must deposit an instrument of ratification with the depositary (the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union) to complete the process. If a legal complaint is filed with a constitutional court, this can delay the deposit and ratification, or even stop it, if the court upholds the complaint. The list below summarises the status and development of the ratification process. Yellow marked and blue marked have respectively started and completed the parliamentary ratification. Finally the green marked have completed all political stages of the ratification (including royal/presidential assent), and only awaits deposit of the ratification instruments to complete the process:
- Belgium: Ratification of the treaty, will need a pass by all nine parliaments with simple majority. The Prime Minister in spring 2012 was "committed to" ratification by the end of 2012. A work group to that effect had been established. On 14 March, a motion was submitted to the Chamber of Representatives by members of the opposition calling for a referendum to be scheduled. A similar referendum motion was submitted to the Senate on 9 May. These two motions could, if approved by a majority in both chambers, block the start of the ratification process in the parliaments.
The central government presented a draft law for parliamentary ratification of the Fiscal Compact on 13 July, and submitted it for legal evaluation by the Council of State. Once the advice arrives, it will be submitted to the Chamber of Representatives, Senate and five other parliaments for their ratification process to start. In July 2012, the President of the Chamber of Representatives expected it would be submitted for the parliament in the autumn session, which was scheduled to begin on 9 October – after the summer recess. On both 18 December 2012 and 8 January 2013, the Senate's referendum proposal was put on the agenda for a meeting of the External Relations and National Defense committee, but was not addressed either time. It was however addressed on 22 January 2013. As of 14 May 2013, none of the referendum proposals had been returned by the responsible committees for the parliamentary readings to begin. However, the Fiscal Compact was submitted to the Senate on 22 January 2013 and adopted without an amendment by the relevant External Relations and National Defense committee on 14 May 2013. On 23 May it was passed by the Senate.
- Bulgaria: The Bulgarian government resigned early on 20 February 2013 in response to protests, leading to elections on 12 May which produced a new government. In November 2013, after months of political turmoil, the government gave their consent for the ratification of the Fiscal Compact and submitted the treaty for Parliament's approval on 11 November. It was approved by Parliament on 28 November and given Presidential assent on 3 December.
|Ratifier||Application of treaty||Effective from|
|Austria||full (Eurozone country)||1 January 2013|
|Cyprus||full (Eurozone country)|
|Estonia||full (Eurozone country)|
|France||full (Eurozone country)|
|Finland||full (Eurozone country)|
|Germany||full (Eurozone country)|
|Greece||full (Eurozone country)|
|Ireland||full (Eurozone country)|
|Italy||full (Eurozone country)|
|Latvia||only Title V [b]|
|Lithuania||only Title V|
|Portugal||full (Eurozone country)|
|Slovenia||full (Eurozone country)|
|Spain||full (Eurozone country)|
|Slovakia||full (Eurozone country)||1 February 2013|
|Hungary||only Title V||1 June 2013|
|Luxembourg||full (Eurozone country)|
|Sweden||only Title V|
|Malta||full (Eurozone country)||1 July 2013|
|Poland||only Title V||1 September 2013|
|Netherlands||full (Eurozone country)||1 November 2013|
- A non-Eurozone member state which has declared itself bound by all treaty titles.
- The Latvian government aims to adopt the euro on 1 January 2014.
- France: A presidential election on 22 April-6 May, shortly after the treaty was signed, delayed France's ratification. Newly elected president François Hollande promised during the campaign that he would only ratify the Fiscal Compact if the European Council agreed to a supplemental "Growth Pact". After the Compact for Growth and Jobs was adopted on 29 June 2012, the combined Fiscal Compact and Growth Pact bill, having received the support of the French government and president, was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly.
- Germany: Ratification was stalled pending a decision by its constitutional court on the consistency of the Fiscal Compact with the German constitution. On 12 September 2012, the court rejected all applications for injunctions against ratification of the treaty. The German Constitutional Court was scheduled to begin hearing oral arguments on the merits of the case on 11 June 2013, with a final decision originally expected in the fall of 2013 but later pushed back to 2014.
- Ireland: A constitutional amendment, which authorised the government to ratify the Fiscal Compact, was approved by a referendum. However, the government opted to wait until the Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012, which implemented the provisions required by the treaty into national law, was passed before formally completing their ratification of the treaty. The Oireachtas passed the Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012 on 27 November, and the ratification process was completed with a deposit of the ratification instrument on 14 December 2012.
- Malta: On 10 December 2012, after debate on the treaty in Malta's parliament had begun, the government lost a confidence vote in parliament on their 2013 budget, which resulted in parliament being dissolved and the president calling an early legislative election on 9 March 2013. Until then, a caretaker government ruled the country without the power to enact any new laws. After the Labour Party defeated the incumbent government in the election, the treaty was re-introduced in the parliament and passed unanimously on 11 June.
- Netherlands: The approval act was submitted to parliament in July 2012, but Parliamentary approval was delayed by a general election on 12 September 2012. After the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Labour Party (PvdA) reached a coalition agreement to form a new two-party government on 29 October both houses approved the Compact.
- Poland: 20 members of parliament submitted a proposal on 31 January 2012 calling on the parliament to schedule a referendum on the ratification of the Fiscal Compact, but the proposal was never voted on. On 5 December, the bill to ratify the Fiscal Compact was submitted to the parliament with an attached legal evaluation stating that ratification only required a simple majority for approval in both chambers, rather than the constitutional 2/3 majority. In March, Sejm parliamentarians from the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party challenged the ratification of the Fiscal Compact with the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland, listing 14 violations of the Polish Constitution. They argued that ratification of the Compact required a two-thirds majority and that the text of the treaty is incompatible with the constitution. A separate challenge was filed by PiS Senators in early April claiming that they were not given sufficient time to consider ratification of the Compact, though it was subsequently combined with the original case by the court. On 21 May 2013, the Tribunal rejected both challenges on procedural grounds, arguing that the treaty had not been fully ratified by Poland, and thus its constitutionality could not yet be challenged and judged.
Non-signatory EU members
Any non-signatory EU member state may accede to the Fiscal Compact without prior negotiations.
- Croatia: With their accession to the EU on 1 July 2013, Croatia became eligible to accede to the Fiscal Compact.
- Czech Republic: Although they did not originally sign the treaty, then Prime Minister Petr Nečas stated that his country may join in the future. The government stayed out of the pact in part due to objections to the increased liabilities, and that non-eurozone states were not granted observer status at all Eurogroup and Euro-summit meetings. Nečas also argued that there was no moral obligation for net-paying, fiscally sound countries outside the Eurozone, like the Czech Republic, to ratify the fiscal responsibility treaty. There was also uncertainty over the domestic ratification process, with then eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus stating that he would not give his assent to the treaty. During treaty negotiations, the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), which Nečas led, suggested that a referendum should decide whether the country should ratify the treaty, while their junior coalition partner, TOP 09, opposed the idea and instead wanted only parliamentary approval for the treaty.
- In January 2013, Top 09 stated that they would only sign a revised coalition agreement for the rest of the government's term if its coalition partners, ODS and LIDEM, agreed to join the fiscal compact no later than the end of 2013. ODS rejected the ultimatum, and stated that a constitutional amendment implementing the Fiscal Compact's debt and deficit provisions should be approve before signing the Fiscal Compact. Negotiations between the government and opposition to pass this proposed constitutional amendment, which will require a 3/5 majority, started in February 2013. The opposition ČSSD announced that they would support the Financial Constitution on 5 conditions, one of which was that the Czech Republic sign and ratify the Fiscal Compact, and a bipartisan working group, with representation from all parliamentary parties, was established on 13 March 2013 to draft a revised proposal. After Jiří Rusnok took over as caretaker Prime Minister following a government corruption scandal, he stated that a decision on the Czech Republic ratifying the Fiscal Compact would not be made until after parliamentary elections scheduled for October.
- Bohuslav Sobotka, the leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) which are leading in the polls, has stated that his government would consider joining the Fiscal Compact, and his party has opposed holding a referendum on the treaty. Top 09's election campaign calls for ratification of the Fiscal Compact. President Miloš Zeman, who took over on 7 March 2013 after winning the January presidential election, is considered to be "pro-EU" and supports the Czech Republic's accession to the Fiscal Compact, although not before they join the Eurozone, which he believes shouldn't occur before 2017.
The compliance of the governments financial budget with the strict criteria defined by the Fiscal Compact, has been summarised in the table below for each of the EU member states. The table figures all originate from the economic forecast published by the European Commission in May 2013, with the forecast being based on the government's most recently passed fiscal budget law for 2014. All EU member states are obliged to correct any Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) issues as regulated and defined by the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), where the European Commission shall set a deadline for the latest year to fix the issue and approve the state's recovery/reform plan. All current EDP deadlines are listed for each state by the last column of the table.
The table also list each member states specific Medium-Term budgetary Objective (MTO) for its structural deficit, and its current target year for achieving this MTO. Until the MTO has been reached, all states are obliged to adhere to an adjustment path towards reaching this country-specific target, where the structural deficit as minimum shall improve 0.5% points per year. The MTO depict the maximum structural deficit per year the country can afford, when targeting that debt-to-GDP ratios first decline to below 60% and subsequently remain stable below this level for the next 50 years. The MTOs are recalculated once every third year (last time in December 2012), with the attached target year being updated each year in May according to macroeconomic developments. Green lines in the table reflect a full compliance to the Fiscal Compact criteria already in 2013, yellow lines a compliance only to the Stability and Growth Pact, while the red lines do not yet fully comply.
|Fiscal budget 2014
(forecast: Nov. 2013)
|Structural deficit MTO
and its current
(approved by EC)
(as of 14 February 2013)
|Austria||74.5% (declining)||1.9%||1.5%||0.5% in 2018||No||2013|
|BelgiumS||101.3% (increasing)||2.6%||1.8%||-0.75% (surplus) in 2016||No||2012|
|BulgariaS||22.6%||2.0%||1.5%||0.5% in 2017||No||No EDP (since 2012)|
|Croatia1||64.7% (increasing)||6.5%||6.0%||N/A||No||Not evaluated1|
|Cyprus||124.4% (increasing)||8.4%||5.5%||0.0% in 2032||Yes (applied)3||2012|
|Czech Republic1||50.6%||3.0%||2.2%||1.0% in 202X||No||20131|
|Denmark||43.7%||1.7%||0.1%||0.5% since 2011||No||2013|
|Estonia||9.7%||0.1%||0.0%||0.0% in 2015||No||Never had an EDP|
|Finland||61.0% (increasing)||2.3%||1.0%||0.5% in 2014||No||No EDP (since 2011)|
|France||95.3% (increasing)||3.8%||2.0%||0.0% in 2019||No||2013|
|Germany||77.1% (declining)||−0.1% (surplus)||−0.5% (surplus)||0.5% since 2012||No||No EDP (since 2012)|
|Greece||175.9% (declining)||2.0%||−1.0% (surplus)||N/A||Yes (expires 2016)3||2016|
|HungaryR||79.9% (declining)||3.0%||2.3%||1.7% since 2012||Yes (expired 2010)2||2012|
|Ireland||120.8% (declining)||5.0%||5.2%||0.0% in 2019||Yes (expires 2013)3||2015|
|Italy||134.0% (increasing)||2.7%||0.7%||0.0% in 2016||No||2012|
|LatviaR||39.3%||1.0%||1.5%||0.5% in 2019||Yes (expired 2011)2||2012|
|LithuaniaR||40.2%||2.5%||2.6%||1.0% in 2015||No||2012|
|Luxembourg||25.7%||1.0%||0.4%||-0.5% (surplus) in 2013||No||Never had an EDP|
|Malta||73.3% (increasing)||3.4%||3.6%||0.0% in 2017||No||No EDP (since 2012)|
|Netherlands||76.4% (increasing)||3.3%||1.7%||0.5% in 2018||No||2013|
|PolandR||51.0%||−4.6% (surplus)||3.2%||1.0% in 2016||No||2012|
|Portugal||126.7% (declining)||4.0%||2.6%||0.5% in 2015||Yes (expires 2014)3||2014|
|Romania||39.1%||2.0%||1.5%||1.0% in 2014||Yes (expires 2013)2||2012|
|Slovakia||57.2%||3.2%||3.1%||0.5% in 2022||No||2013|
|Slovenia||70.1% (increasing)||7.1%||2.1%||0.5% in 2017||No||2013|
|Spain||99.9% (increasing)||5.9%||4.2%||0.0% in 2026||No||2014|
|SwedenR||41.9%||1.2%||0.2%||1.0% since 2011||No||Never had an EDP|
|United Kingdom1||96.9% (increasing)||5.3%||4.8%||0.0% in 2016–17||No||2014–151|
1 Did not sign the Fiscal Compact. 2 EU 'balance of payments' programme. 3 ESM/EFSM/EFSF programme.
S Signed, but did not ratify yet. R Ratified, but only applies Title V (governance).
The deadline for an EDP adjustment is only considered as being met (with the EDP to be abrogated), if the country succeeds -at the latest when reporting its fiscal account for the specified year- to deliver a national account for the last full calendar fiscal year and some forecasted budget figures for the following two years, all being in full compliance with the SGP's deficit criteria (meaning the ordinary budget deficit shall be maximum 3.0% of GDP) and the so-called "transitional criteria" for the debt-to-GDP ratio, which require it should only be observed to have a "declining trend". During the first 3 years following an abrogated EDP, the country will continue to be dispensated from the requirement of delivering a yearly debt-to-GDP ratio decline at minimum 5% of the benchmark value in excess of the 60% limit, and will instead only be required to have a "sufficient progress towards compliance with the debt reduction benchmark" – which as a minimum will be equal to a "declining trend". This 3-year moratorium from the new debt reduction rule will apply for all EU member states with an EDP registered at November 2011, and being a Fiscal Compact ratifier does not change anything in that regard. As part of the increased surveillance effort introduced by the Sixpack, all EDP's will be evaluated three times per year, which is scheduled to happen shortly after the publication of the economic outlook reports in February, May and November. Member states involved in bailout programs will be evaluated even more frequently and more in depth, through the so-called "Programme Reviews". In example, the Commission recommended in November 2012 for the Maltese EDP to be abrogated and the Greek EDP to be extended from 2014 until 2016, and ultimately this was approved per 4 December 2012 by the ECOFIN Council. The next re-evaluation of all ongoing EDPs by the Commission will be shortly after its publication of the next economic forecast report scheduled for 22 February 2013.
||This section possibly contains original research. (May 2013)|
When combining all info above, it can already now be concluded that Malta and Germany will be the first two countries being obliged to comply with the new special "debt-brake rule", which dictates that any EU member state with a debt-to-GDP ratio exceeding the 60% limit shall (after three years elapsed from the date their "old EDP" was officially abrogated): Achieve a "three-year average debt reduction" equal to minimum 5% per year of the excess value above the 60% limit. The Commission's economic forecast report scheduled for publication in November 2015, will be the first material used to check if Malta and Germany indeed comply with the rule, where the "debt reduction" in this first compliance check will be calculated as the yearly average of the forecasted Debt-to-GDP ratio reduction, by comparing the figure as it stands by the end of 2017 towards its recorded value by the end of 2014. According to the latest forecast for the expected country specific debt levels by the end of 2014, the average Debt-to-GDP ratio reduction required for those three years will be: minimum 0.92 benchmark points pr year for Germany and minimum 0.68 benchmark points pr year for Malta.
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