Table of Contents
PART III: THE POLICIES AND FUNCTIONING OF THE UNION
TITLE III - INTERNAL POLICIES AND ACTION
CHAPTER II - ECONOMIC AND MONETARY POLICY
SECTION 5 - TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
1. Member States in respect of which the Council has not decided that they fulfil the necessary conditions for the adoption of the euro shall hereinafter be referred to as "Member States with a derogation".
2. The following provisions of the Constitution shall not apply to Member States with a derogation:
(a) adoption of the parts of the broad economic policy guidelines which concern the euro area generally (Article III-179(2));
(b) coercive means of remedying excessive deficits (Article III-184(9) and (10));
(c) the objectives and tasks of the European System of Central Banks (Article III-185(1), (2), (3) and (5));
(d) issue of the euro (Article III-186);
(e) acts of the European Central Bank (Article III-190);
(f) measures governing the use of the euro (Article III-191);
(g) monetary agreements and other measures relating to exchange-rate policy (Article III-326);
(h) appointment of members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (Article III-382(2));
(i) European decisions establishing common positions on issues of particular relevance for economic and monetary union within the competent international financial institutions and conferences (Article III-196(1));
(j) measures to ensure unified representation within the international financial institutions and conferences (Article III-196(2)).
In the Articles referred to in points (a) to (j), "Member States" shall therefore mean Member States whose currency is the euro.
3. Under Chapter IX of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, Member States with a derogation and their national central banks are excluded from rights and obligations within the European System of Central Banks.
4. The voting rights of members of the Council representing Member States with a derogation shall be suspended for the adoption by the Council of the measures referred to in the Articles listed in paragraph 2, and in the following instances:
(a) recommendations made to those Member States whose currency is the euro in the framework of multilateral surveillance, including on stability programmes and warnings (Article III-179(4));
(b) measures relating to excessive deficits concerning those Member States whose currency is the euro (Article III-184(6), (7), (8) and (11)).
A qualified majority shall be defined as at least 55% of the other members of the Council, representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of the participating Member States.
A blocking minority must include at least the minimum number of these other Council members representing more than 35% of the population of the participating Member States, plus one member, failing which the qualified majority shall be deemed attained.
1. At least once every two years, or at the request of a Member State with a derogation, the Commission and the European Central Bank shall report to the Council on the progress made by the Member States with a derogation in fulfilling their obligations regarding the achievement of economic and monetary union. These reports shall include an examination of the compatibility between the national legislation of each of these Member States, including the statutes of its national central bank, and Articles III-188 and III-189 and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank. The reports shall also examine whether a high degree of sustainable convergence has been achieved, by analysing how far each of these Member States has fulfilled the following criteria:
(a) the achievement of a high degree of price stability; this is apparent from a rate of inflation which is close to that of, at most, the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability;
(b) the sustainability of the government financial position; this is apparent from having achieved a government budgetary position without a deficit that is excessive as determined in accordance with Article III-184(6);
(c) the observance of the normal fluctuation margins provided for by the exchange-rate mechanism of the European monetary system, for at least two years, without devaluing against the euro;
(d) the durability of convergence achieved by the Member State with a derogation and of its participation in the exchange-rate mechanism, being reflected in the long-term interest-rate levels.
The four criteria laid down in this paragraph and the relevant periods over which they are to be respected are developed further in the Protocol on the convergence criteria. The reports from the Commission and the European Central Bank shall also take account of the results of the integration of markets, the situation and development of the balances of payments on current account and an examination of the development of unit labour costs and other price indices.
2. After consulting the European Parliament and after discussion in the European Council, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt a European decision establishing which Member States with a derogation fulfil the necessary conditions on the basis of the criteria laid down in paragraph 1, and shall abrogate the derogations of the Member States concerned.
The Council shall act having received a recommendation of a qualified majority of those among its members representing Member States whose currency is the euro. These members shall act within six months of the Council receiving the Commission's proposal.
The qualified majority referred to in the second subparagraph shall be defined as at least 55% of these members of the Council, representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of the participating Member States. A blocking minority must include at least the minimum number of these Council members representing more than 35% of the population of the participating Member States, plus one member, failing which the qualified majority shall be deemed
3. If it is decided, in accordance with the procedure set out in paragraph 2, to abrogate a derogation, the Council shall, on a proposal from the Commission, adopt the European regulations or decisions irrevocably fixing the rate at which the euro is to be substituted for the currency of the Member State concerned, and laying down the other measures necessary for the introduction of the euro as the single currency in that Member State. The Council shall act with the unanimous agreement of the members representing Member States whose currency is the euro and the Member State concerned, after consulting the European Central Bank.
1. If and as long as there are Member States with a derogation, and without prejudice to Article III-187(1), the General Council of the European Central Bank referred to in Article 45 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank shall be constituted as a third decision-making body of the European Central Bank.
2. If and as long as there are Member States with a derogation, the European Central Bank shall, as regards those Member States:
(a) strengthen cooperation between the national central banks;
(b) strengthen the coordination of the monetary policies of the Member States, with the aim of ensuring price stability;
(c) monitor the functioning of the exchange-rate mechanism;
(d) hold consultations concerning issues falling within the competence of the national central banks and affecting the stability of financial institutions and markets;
(e) carry out the former tasks of the European Monetary Cooperation Fund which had subsequently been taken over by the European Monetary Institute.
Each Member State with a derogation shall treat its exchange-rate policy as a matter of common interest. In so doing, it shall take account of the experience acquired in cooperation within the framework of the exchange-rate mechanism.
1. Where a Member State with a derogation is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with difficulties as regards its balance of payments either as a result of an overall disequilibrium in its balance of payments, or as a result of the type of currency at its disposal, and where such difficulties are liable in particular to jeopardise the functioning of the internal market or the implementation of the common commercial policy, the Commission shall immediately investigate the position of the State in question and the action which, making use of all the means at its disposal, that State has taken or may take in accordance with the Constitution. The Commission shall state what measures it recommends the Member State concerned to adopt.
If the action taken by a Member State with a derogation and the measures suggested by the Commission do not prove sufficient to overcome the difficulties which have arisen or which threaten, the Commission shall, after consulting the Economic and Financial Committee, recommend to the Council the granting of mutual assistance and appropriate methods.
The Commission shall keep the Council regularly informed of the situation and of how it evolves.
2. The Council shall adopt European regulations or decisions granting such mutual assistance and laying down the conditions and details of such assistance, which may take such forms as:
(a) a concerted approach to or within any other international organisations to which Member States with a derogation may have recourse;
(b) measures needed to avoid deflection of trade where the Member State with a derogation, which is in difficulties, maintains or reintroduces quantitative restrictions against third countries;
(c) the granting of limited credits by other Member States, subject to their agreement.
3. If the mutual assistance recommended by the Commission is not granted by the Council or if the mutual assistance granted and the measures taken are insufficient, the Commission shall authorise the Member State with a derogation, which is in difficulties, to take protective measures, the conditions and details of which the Commission shall determine.
Such authorisation may be revoked and such conditions and details may be changed by the Council.
1. Where a sudden crisis in the balance of payments occurs and a European decision as referred to in Article III-201(2) is not immediately adopted, a Member State with a derogation may, as a precaution, take the necessary protective measures. Such measures must cause the least possible disturbance in the functioning of the internal market and must not be wider in scope than is strictly necessary to remedy the sudden difficulties which have arisen.
2. The Commission and the other Member States shall be informed of the protective measures referred to in paragraph 1 not later than when they enter into force. The Commission may recommend to the Council the granting of mutual assistance under Article III-201.
3. The Council, acting on a recommendation from the Commission and after consulting the Economic and Financial Committee may adopt a European decision stipulating that the Member State concerned shall amend, suspend or abolish the protective measures referred to in paragraph 1.