While Article 103 of the Treaty on European Union says that neither the Community nor the Member States shall be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project, Article 100 states that where a Member State is seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused by exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, acting by a qualified majority, may grant, under certain conditions, Community financial assistance to the Member State concerned.
Has the Council considered what these exceptional occurrences may be and does it have a definition of this? Does the Council foresee in the current economic situation that these circumstances will occur for any of the Member States?
(EN) The present answer, which has been drawn up by the Presidency and is not binding on either the Council or its members as such, was not presented orally at Question Time to the Council during the May 2009 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The second paragraph of Article 100 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which appears to be the paragraph to which the Honourable Member is referring in her question, has never been the legal basis for any proposal examined by the Council. Similarly, the Council never examined any proposal based on the second paragraph of Article 103a of the EC Treaty as inserted by the Maastricht Treaty, which was the corresponding provision prior to the paragraph in question.
No definition of "exceptional occurrences beyond the control of a Member State" exists and the Council has never discussed it. Similarly, the Council has never discussed the possibility of invoking "exceptional occurrences" in the context of the current economic situation.
The Council stands ready to examine any proposal from the Commission based on Article 100(2) of the EC Treaty, should the Commission present such a proposal. In accordance with Article 114(2) of the EC Treaty, the Economic and Financial Committee would be involved in the preparation of the Council's examination of any Commission proposal based on Article 100(2).
The Council recalls the terms of the Declaration on Article 100 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which is attached to the Nice Treaty. According to this declaration, "decisions regarding financial assistance, such as are provided for in Article 100 and are compatible with the 'no bail-out' rule laid down in Article 103, must comply" with the provisions of the inter-institutional agreement on budgetary discipline and financial perspectives.