Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Inspired by big business: the EU Austerity Treaty

On the 2nd of March 2012, 25 EU member states signed what they called the ‘Stability Treaty’. It is the big business lobby’s dream come true, but social rights campaigners across Europe are calling it an ‘Austerity Treaty’ and warn that it will put enormous pressure on ordinary people’s welfare and living standards.

  • Dansk
  • Nederlands
  • English
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Ελληνικά
  • Italiano
  • Bokmål
  • Polski
  • Portuguese
  • Română
  • Slovenščina
  • Español
  • Svenska

For years, EU-wide big business lobbies like BusinessEurope and the European Roundtable of Industrialists have been advocating a strengthening of EU economic governance; the new Treaty is fully in line with such corporate demands.

At a meeting organised by BusinessEurope on 2nd December 2011, ahead of an EU summit on 9th December, the chairs of the national employers’ federations issued a ‘Declaration on Economic Governance’, also referred to as the ‘Businesses’ Plan to Save the Euro’, containing two very important demands:

  • “Voting rules should be strengthened to make it tougher for the Council to overrule the Commission’s recommendations regarding deficits”
  • “greater ambition and commitment from Member States in their National Reform Programmes, accompanied by robust country-specific recommendations”1

The first draft of the new Treaty was adopted during the EU Summit on 9th December. It included these two very concrete demands2 and these remained in the final version signed by EU leaders on 1 March 20123:

  • “the Contracting Parties whose currency is the euro commit to supporting the proposals or recommendations submitted by the European Commission (…)in the framework of an excessive deficit procedure. This obligation shall not apply where it is established among the Contracting Parties whose currency is the euro that a qualified majority of them, (…), is opposed to the decision proposed or recommended.”
  • “A Contracting Party that is subject to an excessive deficit procedure under the Treaties on which the European Union is founded shall put in place a budgetary and economic partnership programme including a detailed description of thestructural reforms which must be put in place and implemented to ensure an effective and durable correction of its excessive deficit. The content and format of such programmes shall be defined in European Union law.”

On 2nd December 2011, BusinessEurope also asked that European Stability Mechanism lending should be “conditional on a credible adjustment plan”. In some of the introductory text to the new Treaty it is mentioned that “the granting of financial assistance in the framework of new programmes under the European Stability Mechanism will be conditional, as of 1 March 2013, on the ratification of this Treaty by the Contracting Party concerned”. This means that countries should adhere to the two provisions above in order to access ESM funding.

Instead of the 3% deficit brake to be introduced in national constitutions up to the end of 2012 as asked by BusinessEurope, a new 0.5% ‘structural’ deficit brake was provided by the Treaty to be introduced up to the end of 2013.

BusinessEurope immediately welcomed the first draft of the Treaty by saying it is “in line with the statement we published this week, ‘Businesses’ Plan to Safeguard the Euro’”4

On 23rd December, BusinessEurope wrote to the incoming Danish EU presidency that “European leaders need to put in place the new governance structure, or ‘fiscal compact’, agreed at the 9 December Council”, adding that “it is imperative that we5 make swift progress on finalising the details of the new agreement and ensuring its legal implementation”.6

This self-confident ‘we’ in the last quote indicates that just as with the Europact+7 and the Six Pack on economic governance8, BusinessEurope probably exerted substantial influence on the Treaty, urging a more authoritarian form of neoliberal governance of member state economies by Brussels, leaving less scope for manoeuver and effective democratic control of fiscal policy.

If the provisions were put in place today, then the 23 EU member states that are currently subject to the excessive deficit procedure9 would have to accept the Commission’s recommendations even if a majority of member states disagreed, and would have to agree to a detailed programme of economic reforms which would then be legally binding under ‘EU law’.

Vous pouvez trouver une traduction de cet article en français ici: ''Le traité d'austérité de l'UE : le rêve des lobbies du grand capital devient réalité''

For years, EU-wide big business lobbies like BusinessEurope and the European Roundtable of Industrialists have been advocating a strengthening of EU economic governance; the new Treaty is fully in line with such corporate demands.At a meeting organised by BusinessEurope on 2nd December 2011, ahead of an EU summit on 9th December, the chairs of the national employers’ federations issued a ‘Declaration on Economic Governance’, also referred to as the ‘Businesses’ Plan to Save the Euro’, containing two very important demands: “Voting rules should be strengthened to make it tougher for the Council to overrule the Commission’s recommendations regarding deficits”“greater ambition and commitment from Member States in their National Reform Programmes, accompanied by robust country-specific recommendations”1The first draft of the new Treaty was adopted during the EU Summit on 9th December. It included these two very concrete demands2 and these remained in the final version signed by EU leaders on 1 March 20123:“the Contracting Parties whose currency is the euro commit to supporting the proposals or recommendations submitted by the European Commission (…)in the framework of an excessive deficit procedure. This obligation shall not apply where it is established among the Contracting Parties whose currency is the euro that a qualified majority of them, (…), is opposed to the decision proposed or recommended.”“A Contracting Party that is subject to an excessive deficit procedure under the Treaties on which the European Union is founded shall put in place a budgetary and economic partnership programme including a detailed description of thestructural reforms which must be put in place and implemented to ensure an effective and durable correction of its excessive deficit. The content and format of such programmes shall be defined in European Union law.”On 2nd December 2011, BusinessEurope also asked that European Stability Mechanism lending should be “conditional on a credible adjustment plan”. In some of the introductory text to the new Treaty it is mentioned that “the granting of financial assistance in the framework of new programmes under the European Stability Mechanism will be conditional, as of 1 March 2013, on the ratification of this Treaty by the Contracting Party concerned”. This means that countries should adhere to the two provisions above in order to access ESM funding.Instead of the 3% deficit brake to be introduced in national constitutions up to the end of 2012 as asked by BusinessEurope, a new 0.5% ‘structural’ deficit brake was provided by the Treaty to be introduced up to the end of 2013.BusinessEurope immediately welcomed the first draft of the Treaty by saying it is “in line with the statement we published this week, ‘Businesses’ Plan to Safeguard the Euro’”4On 23rd December, BusinessEurope wrote to the incoming Danish EU presidency that “European leaders need to put in place the new governance structure, or ‘fiscal compact’, agreed at the 9 December Council”, adding that “it is imperative that we5 make swift progress on finalising the details of the new agreement and ensuring its legal implementation”.6This self-confident ‘we’ in the last quote indicates that just as with the Europact+7 and the Six Pack on economic governance8, BusinessEurope probably exerted substantial influence on the Treaty, urging a more authoritarian form of neoliberal governance of member state economies by Brussels, leaving less scope for manoeuver and effective democratic control of fiscal policy.If the provisions were put in place today, then the 23 EU member states that are currently subject to the excessive deficit procedure9 would have to accept the Commission’s recommendations even if a majority of member states disagreed, and would have to agree to a detailed programme of economic reforms which would then be legally binding under ‘EU law’.Vous pouvez trouver une traduction de cet article en français ici: ''Le traité d'austérité de l'UE : le rêve des lobbies du grand capital devient réalité'' 1. BusinessEurope Council of Presidents, Declaration on Economic Governance, Warsaw, December 2 http://vbo-feb.be/media/uploads/public/_custom/press/Declaration_Economic_Governance_final_-_05_12_2011.pdf 2. STATEMENT BY THE EURO AREA HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT, Brussels, 9 December 2011http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/126658.pdf 3. TREATY ON STABILITY, COORDINATION AND GOVERNANCE IN THE ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION http://european-council.europa.eu/media/639235/st00tscg26_en12.pdf 4. EURO AREA AGREEMENT SUPPORTED BY EUROPEAN BUSINESS, 9 December 2011, http://www.businesseurope.eu/Content/Default.asp?PageID=568&DocID=29589 5. Our emphasis. 6. BusinessEurope Letter to the Danish Prime Minister http://www.cebre.cz/dokums_raw/2011_12_23_letter_to_danish_prime_minister.pdf 7. ‘Business Against Europe’, Corporate Europe Observatory, March 2011, http://www.corporateeurope.org/news/business-against-europe 8. “An undemocratic economic governance?’, CEO April 2011 http://www.corporateeurope.org/blog/undemocratic-economic-governance 9. Excessive deficit procedure http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/sgp/deficit/index_en.htm
 

Comments

Submitted by Ene Marin (not verified) on

Este un act rusinos de supunere neconditionata a tarilor componente UE.Noi romanii nu am fost intrebati niciodata ,nimic ,nici daca dorim sa intram in UE .Asa ne pierdem suveranitatea.Noi nu mai reprezentam nimic.UE este o cacealma ,o nereusita.M-as bucura sa se dezmembreze si sant sigur ca se va ajunge acolo.Felicit cetatenii tarilor care se opune acestui proces.Au capul pe umeri. Bravo lor !

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

A crusade for big business-friendly deregulation, waged during José Manuel Barroso's Presidency of the European Commission, shows no signs of stopping. This neoliberal push to weaken or block new legislation and scrap existing rules, especially environmental and social protection laws, under the misleading banner of tackling “red tape”, promoting “better regulation” or safeguarding “competitiveness” appears likely to expand with Jean-Claude Juncker's new Commission team.
Answer the call from the D19-20 Alliance in Belgium to take to the streets against TTIP and austerity on Friday 19th December 2014, as the second day of the European Council Summit unfolds
The ESM, the euro area’s permanent bailout fund set up in 2012, is an international organization that operates behind closed doors, far from public scrutiny. The institution at the heart of EU loans to debt-ridden member states is doing its best to stave off any national influence over the conditions attached to its loans. In addition it is working closely with private consultancies, which appear to have conflicts of interest. However, the ESM is immune to democracy; we have no right to know what it is up to.
On the 15-16th of May, a People's Tribunal Hearing took place in Brussels. Representatives from organisations across Europe gave testimony to an era of financial, economic and social crisis which began in 2008. Since the beginning of the crisis, a transformation has occurred that takes Europe on a track to social regression, violations of social rights and a roll-back of democratic achievements. This verdict outlines the main conclusions of the Tribunal based on the reports and analysis from all speakers.
Our correspondence with Pr. Anne Glover, the current Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission (CSA), on her role in the European Commission's review of endocrine disrupting chemicals shows how the very existence of her position was used by business-friendly interests to convey key messages to the top of the European Commission's hierarchy, playing a determining role in the massive delay now inflicted to the European Commission's handling of this important public health regulation. We ask that the CSA position is not renewed in the new Juncker Commission.
Will EFSA become more transparent, and to lobbyists or scientists? After its public consultation on its draft transparency policy, the Authority must now choose.
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) today criticised the plenary vote of MEPs to approve the Jean-Claude Juncker Commission.
A crusade for big business-friendly deregulation, waged during José Manuel Barroso's Presidency of the European Commission, shows no signs of stopping. This neoliberal push to weaken or block new legislation and scrap existing rules, especially environmental and social protection laws, under the misleading banner of tackling “red tape”, promoting “better regulation” or safeguarding “competitiveness” appears likely to expand with Jean-Claude Juncker's new Commission team.

Corporate Europe Forum