Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance: impact on the eurozone and the rule of law - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

4  Article 136 TFEU and the European Stability Mechanism—the evidence

61.  In October 2010 the European Council agreed on the need for a permanent crisis mechanism, which became the ESM. In preparation for an agreement to establish the ESM, on 25 March 2011 the European Council adopted a Decision amending Article 136 TFEU.[111] Recitals 2 and 3 of the Decision strongly suggest that the Treaty amendment is a necessary precursor of the Treaty establishing the ESM. This suggestion is reinforced by the European Council Conclusions of October 2010 (paragraph 2), December 2010 (paragraph 1) and March 2011 (paragraph 16). And it is further reinforced by the Prime Minister's statements to the House following the October and December 2010 European Council[112] and comments by the Minister for Europe in the House's debate on the proposed amendment to Article 136 TFEU.[113]

62.  So we were extremely surprised by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury's comment, in his letter to us of 13 March, responding to our enquiry as to whether, as the ESM was now to come into force in July, ratification of the Treaty amendment would be brought forward, that:

    It is not legally necessary for the Article 136 Treaty change to have been made before the ESM can come into force.[114]

When we questioned the Minister about this he reiterated that:

    It [the Treaty amendment] is desirable, but I do not think that it is necessary.[115]

111  See Back

112   HC Deb, 1 November 2010, especially cols. 615, 621 and 624, and 20 December 2010, especially cols 1187 and 1195. Back

113   HC Deb, 16 March 2011, especially cols 421, 427 and 431. Back

114   Ev 74 Back

115   Q 196 Back

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