REPORT on the proposal for a Council decision in accordance with Article 122(2) of the Treaty on the adoption by Malta of the single currency on 1 January 2008

18.6.2007 - (COM(2007)0259 – C6‑0150/2007 – 2007/0092(CNS)) - *

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
Rapporteur: Werner Langen

Procedure : 2007/0092(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on the proposal for a Council decision in accordance with Article 122(2) of the Treaty on the adoption by Malta of the single currency on 1 January 2008

(COM(2007)0259 – C6‑0150/2007 – 2007/0092(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2007)0259),

–   having regard to the Commission convergence report 2007 on Malta (COM(2007)0258) and the European Central Bank convergence report of May 2007,

–   having regard to the Commission staff Working document Accompanying document to the Report from the Commission Convergence Report 2007 on Malta (SEC(2007)0622),

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on the enlargement of the euro zone[1],

–   having regard to Article 122(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6‑0150/2007),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A6‑0243/2007),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal;

2.  Favours the adoption of the euro by Malta on 1 January 2008;

3.  Calls on the Member States to allow the Commission to assess compliance with the Maastricht criteria on the basis of definite, current, reliable, and high-quality data;

4.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

5.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

6.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

  • [1]  OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 249.


On 27 February 2007 Malta requested a Convergence Report pursuant to Article 122(2) of the EC Treaty. The substance of the reports to be drawn up by the Commission and the ECB is governed by Article 121(1) of the EC Treaty. Malta is currently a “Member State with a derogation” which is not a member of the euro zone. The aim of Malta’s application of 27 February 2007 was to enable it to join the euro zone with effect from the beginning of 2008.

Article 122(2) of the EC Treaty states that the Ecofin Council, on the basis of the reports from the Commission and the ECB, after consulting the European Parliament and after discussion in the Council, meeting in the composition of the Heads of State or Government, shall, acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, decide which Member States with a derogation fulfil the necessary conditions on the basis of the criteria set out in Article 121(1), and abrogate the derogations of the Member States concerned.

On 16 May 2007 the Commission proposed that the derogation for Malta expire on 1 January 2008 that Malta be admitted to the euro zone from that date.

The European Parliament has to examine the Convergence Report submitted, and the technical annex on Malta, and issue an opinion. In spite of considerable reservations on individual issues, your rapporteur recommends that the derogation be lifted with effect from 1 January 2008.

On the Convergence Criteria under Article 121(1) of the EC Treaty and detailed compliance with those criteria, particularly whether a high level of durable convergence has been reached:

1. Compatibility of national legislation with Articles 108 and 109 and with the Statutes of the ECB

On 28 February 2007, one day after making its request, the Maltese Parliament amended its Central Bank law, only then eliminating the former incompatibilities.

2. Achievement of a high level of price stability

With an inflation rate of 2.2% in the last 12 months, Malta is clearly below the reference value of 3.0%. This value is forecast to fall to 1.4% by December 2007. The criterion is fully met.

3. Sustainability of the government financial position:

A Council decision is currently in force to the effect that an excessive deficit exists in Malta. Under Article 2 of the Protocol on the Convergence Criteria, it is necessary that “at the time of the examination” the Member State concerned should not be the subject of a European decision of the Council under Article 104(6) of the Treaty that an excessive deficit exists.

In spite of the recent positive trend in the state deficit (2006: 2.6%; 2007 forecast: 2.1%) and the government debt-to-GDP ratio (2006: 66.5%; 2007 forecast: 65.9%), the criterion should also be assessed according to whether the debt-to-GDP ratio is falling at a satisfactory rate. The Council noted on 27 February 2007 that this was the case. However, it is hard to understand why the Council decision on the existence of an excessive deficit has not yet been reversed. Without a reversal of this decision under Article 104(6), the criterion is not met.

4. Compliance with the normal fluctuation margins of the EMS’s Exchange Rate Mechanism II for at least the past 2 years.

Malta has participated in the ERM II since 2 May 2005. The Maltese lira has since been stable and has not been subject to any major fluctuations.

5. Durability of convergence, as reflected in long-term interest-rate levels.

The average long-term interest rate in the past 12 months stood at 4.3%, clearly below the reference value of 6.4%.

6. Economic integration and convergence (Art. 121(1), last section)

The Maltese economy is largely integrated into the EU, but is subject, owing to its small size and limited number of sectors, to severe fluctuations.

The balance of payments deficit fell from 8.2% in 2005 to 6.3% in 2006, with net inflow of direct foreign investments almost compensating for the balance of payments deficit. Furthermore, in 2005 Malta achieved a per-capita GDP in terms of purchasing power of 69% of the average for the EU-25.

7. Provision of data by Malta

The Republic of Malta has repeatedly infringed the provisions of Regulation (EC) 501/2004 of 10 March 2004 on quarterly financial accounts for general government. As is clear from the Commission report of 3 May 2007 (COM(2007)230), Malta has as yet 'provided Eurostat with no data'. The Commission concludes that “an immediate effort is necessary to comply with the EU Regulation”.

This begs the question why the Commission, given its past experience, has made a positive recommendation on Malta’s membership of the euro when there has still been no perceptible progress in data provision. These objections must be comprehensively and fully overcome by the end of 2007 at the latest.

8. Consultation of the European Parliament

Once again the Commission, by taking so long to submit the report and involve the European Parliament, has made it hard to carry out an unreserved, objective examination of the Convergence Criteria in line with the conditions set out in Articles 121 and 122 of the EC Treaty. Since objections were already raised on this issue – clearly without success – in the case of Slovenia, the question arises of whether this was done deliberately. In that case the European Parliament would have to insist in future on an appropriate consultation period and the unrestricted exercise of its right of consultation pursuant to the EC Treaty

Furthermore, no documents and assessments have yet been submitted to Parliament and the Council relating to technical preparations for membership of the euro zone, so it is not possible to assess whether accession to the euro zone will actually be able to take place smoothly on 1 January 2008, taking into account adjustment arrangements and consumer rights. These complaints to the Commission also apply to Cyprus.

This is particularly clear in the case of Malta, because the Commission has issued only a conditional recommendation.



Adoption by Malta of the single currency on 1 January 2008


COM(2007)0259 - C6-0150/2007 - 2007/0092(CNS)

Date of consulting Parliament


Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary




       Date appointed

Werner Langen




Discussed in committee





Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Mariela Velichkova Baeva, Pervenche Berès, Sharon Bowles, David Casa, Christian Ehler, José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Gunnar Hökmark, Karsten Friedrich Hoppenstedt, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Othmar Karas, Piia-Noora Kauppi, Wolf Klinz, Christoph Konrad, Kurt Joachim Lauk, Andrea Losco, Astrid Lulling, Cristobal Montoro Romero, Joseph Muscat, Lapo Pistelli, Joop Post, John Purvis, Alexander Radwan, Bernhard Rapkay, Heide Rühle, Eoin Ryan, Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Margarita Starkevičiūtė, Ivo Strejček, Ieke van den Burg, Sahra Wagenknecht

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Katerina Batzeli, Werner Langen, Vladimír Maňka, Donato Tommaso Veraldi

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Wolfgang Bulfon, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Margrietus van den Berg, Panayiotis Demetriou