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Thursday, 12 May 2011 - StrasbourgOJ edition
ANNEX (Written answers) - QUESTIONS TO THE COUNCIL(The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union bears sole responsibility for these answers)

Question no 4 by Zigmantas Balčytis (H-000163/11 )  
 Subject: Establishment of a permanent financial stability fund

The finance ministers of the Eurogroup countries have agreed to set up a permanent eurozone financial stability fund worth EUR 700 billion and a European stability mechanism for economic governance of the eurozone. This would contribute to strengthening cohesion, increasing competitiveness and stabilising the financial system, but only in the countries of the eurozone.

All Member States opened their internal markets when they joined the EU and many undertook to join the eurozone when the necessary criteria were objectively met (without any sleight of hand). The least economically developed Member States have been the worst hit by the crisis, but these decisions will deprive them of financial aid and the prospect of a quicker recovery.

Does the Council not believe that these decisions will create an exclusive club of countries, with the Member States outside the eurozone being excluded from the financial and economic recovery? Does it not think that the EU needs to see coordination between the economies of all Member States, the stabilisation of financial systems and the necessary financial measures to benefit the Member States outside the eurozone?


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 2011 part-session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

(EN) Primary responsibility for economic policy lies with the Member States themselves. The EU monitors and coordinates them, in particular in the context of the Stability and Growth Pact and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines.

The new economic governance package, on which the Council hopes to be able to reach agreement with the European Parliament by June, will establish a framework for a more effective surveillance and coordination of budgetary and macroeconomic policies of all Member States. The European Semester introduced this year will align the calendar for the presentation of the Stability and Convergence Programmes and of National Reform Programs in order to ensure consistency at all levels (budgetary discipline, macro-economic stability and growth) while keeping the individual procedures formally separated. Through this process, the coordination of budgetary policies will be conducted through an ex-ante mechanism, instead of the ex-post mechanism currently in place.

All these elements should help safeguard stability in the euro area and the EU as a whole. Should they prove not sufficient to achieve this objective, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will be able following a request by a euro area Member State experiencing severe imbalances and a decision by the ESM Board of Governors, to provide financial assistance to the Member State concerned.

For the cases when individual non euro area Member States experience particular difficulties that necessitate outside assistance, the Council established a framework with the Council Regulation (EC) No 332/2002 of 18 February 2002 establishing a facility providing medium-term financial assistance for Member States' balances of payments(1) .

On the basis of that Regulation, the Council can adopt a Decision to provide financial assistance to the countries outside the euro area if they face difficulties or are seriously threatened with difficulties as regards their balance of payments, as foreseen by Article 143(1) of the Treaty of the functioning of the European Union. Since the outbreak of the global economic and financial crisis, three Member States - Hungary, Latvia and Romania have been granted this kind of assistance.


(1)OJ L 53, 23.2.2002, p. 1

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