Brussels, 15 February 2011
European Commission agrees to limited treaty change
The European Commission has today agreed that the Treaty should be amended before 2013 to allow for the establishment of a European stability mechanism to preserve the stability of the euro area. The Commission believes that the proposed amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union would not alter the competences of the European Union in any way The Commission believes that as the proposed amendment affects the policies and internal actions of the Union, the conditions are met for this to be done through the simplified treaty amendment procedure.
President Barroso said: " This decision is crucial for us to prove our determination to defend our common currency and guarantee financial stability in face of some of the economic imbalances we've seen in some member states – imbalances we need to remedy. This mechanism is essential in order to complete the Treaty framework.".
The European Council proposes to amend Article 136 TFEU by introducing a new paragraph 3:
"3. The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality."
The Commission opinion makes clear that the proposed amendment to the treaty does not increase or dilute the competences of the Union. The treaty amendment should also be seen in the context of the Commission's legislative proposals to reinforce the economic governance and budgetary surveillance of member states within the euro area. The Commission will work actively with the euro area finance ministers to further elaborate the details of the European stability Mechanism.
On 16 December 2010 the Belgian Government submitted to the European Council a proposal for a European Council Decision amending Article 136 TFEU with regard to a permanent stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro.
On 20 December 2010, the European Council consulted the European Commission on that proposal, in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 48(6) TEU.
Given the need for national approval procedures to start as soon as possible in order for the stability mechanism to be in place in advance of the elapsing of the current temporary mechanism, the European Council asks the Commission to give its opinion by March 2011 so that the European Council could adopt its Decision at its 24-25 March 2011 meeting.
The Commission opinion adopted today responds to this request.
A copy of the Commission's opinion can be found at: COMM(2011)70